Has anyone ever taken a sit and discovered major issues after arriving at the sit that weren’t previously disclosed? Situations we’ve encountered include:
Finding out after arrival that a dog on a sit was not at all housebroken, to the point that the dog peed and pooped in the house multiple times per day despite being walked 5-6 times per day.
Having to confine the dog to a pen in the house to prevent “accidents.” While the dog was confined, it barked and whined incessantly, to the point that we were not able to sleep or enjoy eating a meal peacefully.
We take our commitment to sit very seriously. We are relatively new sitters, and have 100% 5 star reviews. We have been lucky except for the above, and have left excellent reviews for other sits as well.
We’ve read a lot about retaliatory reviews, and haven’t yet reviewed the sit described above. We contacted the pet parents about these issues when they occurred during the sit. They acknowledged the issues, but had no ideas for solutions, so we just stayed and dealt with it as best we could.
Have you ever encountered serious issues such as these? Would you stay and deal with it as we did, or try to make alternative arrangements with the pet parents? What kind of review would you leave in situations such as described?
Wow!! No we haven’t @petlover and yes we would leave a review with clear information about the dog’s toilet habits and issues. That’s gross. Otherwise future sitters will suffer. Make it factual not emotional. I think it would be good to talk to THS support about their views too as you have spoken to the PP and they’ve done nothing. Sorry you’ve had this experience guys!
@petlover I find that really misleading from the home owners’ side. That is definitely not on and should have been indicated in the listing. They were afraid no one would apply, and rightly so.
Was it a puppy? Then maybe there is some leeway, as one might expect it from a puppy, but not a grown dog. Did it happen with the owners too and how did they handle it? Otherwise it might be due to separation anxiety.
So sorry you had to go through this, it must have been very disruptive and kudos for staying and dealing with it.
I would have understood a puppy, but this dog was 8 years old and extremely spoiled. The pet parents just keep her on their laps all the time or carry her around the house with them. And apparently even so, they cleaned up a lot of messes because once we asked them about it, they directed us to the cleaning supplies they used for this purpose.
I’ve had a few situations like a dog who was elderly and quite sick and required pads around the house because he was incontinent or the cat who was used to the owner getting up in the middle of the night to have a snack and play so expected me to do the same. Most sits go off splendidly but sometimes I can’t wait for the sit to be over. I think sometimes the owner is so accustomed to the high maintenance or unusual behaviors they don’t even think about it.
Definitely do not leave any kind of feedback untill after you get your (hopefully 5*!) Review (otherwise it could backfire). Then- please- for the benefit of all future sitters write a truthful feedback. And if it was me I would also send the HO a personal note (after getting your review!) that this was absolutely not OK and that you felt very mislead and stressed by the situation.
I am so sorry you experienced this. I would have been so angry, especially when you say the dog is 8 years old!!! I’d even have been tempted to imform the hosts that they have to make alternative arrangements so I could leave early What a horror trip!
We did consider contacting the hosts about alternative arrangements, but decided to suck it up and do the best we could to manage the situation. It was not a pleasant sit, and if we had not already had a number of wonderful sirs, it would have been pretty discouraging.
THS has offered to get involved, but we are hesitant until we get our review.
My one unpleasant surprise was that the owners were not nice people. Could not care less about me.
Never had any big issues with the pets. A few dogs had accidents, but just once or twice during a whole sit.
Not a big deal for me.
@petlover well done for coping so well with the situation and I understand your reluctance to let THS get involved at this stage. Retailiation is a real risk! But after you get your review (and I truly hope its a 5* one!) Then THS should have a serious chat with those hosts. Its absolutely not on to thrust such a situation on an unsuspecting ‘trusted’ (& unpaid) housesitter. I feel particularly incensed because we too once had a horror sit. Completely different to yours but a really exhausting & stressful situation that should not have been allowed to happen. In our case we DID have to get THS involved- to mediate- because communication broke down completely. It took a while to feel heard & supported but in the end we agreed no reviews either way (for our benefit that they could not ruin our reputation) and we managed to extract ourselves early from the 10 week commitment (we even gave 2 weeks notice) but it was a very looooong 6 weeks!
The sweet animals kept us going and we did our best to make the best of our time in that region till we could escape!
In retrospect there were a few red flags we missed- in our enthusiasm to take this sit in a very (to us) desirable location. Perhaps you missed signs too.
In the end its all a learning curve! With each sit experience we learn and refine our choices and our expectations! Onwards and upwards!
@Silversitters unfortunately not. They are still active. I check their listing every now and then and there have been three more sitters SINCE us, all long stay, none of whom gave feedback. Only one of the three got a review from the hosts which was only 4* & not kind. That sitter has since become inactive & the review is no longer visible. One of the red flags I missed is that 3 of the 5 sitters BEFORE us (who gave feedback) only left 4👍. And some others gave no feedback. In retrospect there was a lot to be read between the lines (of what was not said)
It pains me that because of the fear of a retaliatory review we, and others, have not been able to leave truthful feedback to warn future sitters. I’m pretty sure all the other sitters had a challenging time too but have
no way of knowing if any complained to THS. With the current open review system its a risk to tell the truth. Some sitters do anyway and suffer the consequences but I am not so altruistic! It may seem selfish but my hubby and I have worked too hard to build our reputation to let one bad apple ruin it!
The sooner THS changes the review system the better. Until then we have to protect ourselves.
@Lokstar There’s no guarantee THS’s improvements to the review system would address this specific situation. I am hoping that maybe ?? one of the admins can check with THS and directly ask if they are working on a way to mitigate retaliatory reviews for this kind of situation and if so, what THS’s proposed solution would be.
@petlover Depending on the length of the nightmare sit you describe, I doubt we would have stayed. Especially if the listing and all written correspondence did not share the pet’s true problems. If it had been a short sit (a few days but no more than a week), yes, we probably would have stayed but only WITH THS involvement after they talk to the homeowners. Longer than that – no way. We are homeowners and sitters and we just can’t imagine not divulging that information.
The only thing we can think of that we could have paid more attention to on the listing is that there were 4 previous sitters, and only the first one provided a review of the sit (5 stars). The others said nothing. We will definitely pay more attention to this in the future.
Other ideas that could have prevented our situation if the pet parents chose to answer honestly during the initial discussion would have been to ask:
When is the last time your dog had an accident in your home? If recently, how often does it happen?
Do you ever use pee pads inside your home and if so, under what circumstances?
Do you ever confine your dog to a pen or a crate? If so, how does your dog behave when confined? Any barking/whining and if so, how long does it last?
What commands does your dog know? (Indication of owner’s commitment to training their dog)
Please describe a typical walk with your dog. (See if they mention any undesirable behaviors such as pulling, reacting to other dogs, refusing to walk and expecting to be carried, etc.)
Have any previous sitters mentioned any issues or concerns while sitting for you? If so please describe.
Of course all of this depends on the homeowner being honest. It’s not very honest to leave important info out of the sit listing, but I think if asked questions such as the above directly, most homeowners who know there are some major issues would be unlikely to lie to a sitter in an actual discussion. However, I could be wrong.
Oh that is a disappointing response from THS and a cause for concern going forward for me - I would have assumed that after so many sitters had flagged issues with THS member services that there would be consequences for the HO .
I accept that with a brand new HO there is a small risk that there might be issues . I had assumed that HOs with repeated issues would be dealt with more rigorously by THS to protect the sitters .