HO ? for Sitters. 4 Month Winter Sit with HO back and forth

I am new to Trusted Housesitters as a HO. I have not posted my very first HO sit yet. We live between Orillia and Barrie, Ontario, and have two very social and loving large mature dogs. I’m not sure how to go about creating a HO post for my Winter 2024 sit. We are snowbirds. My husband spends the entire Winter south and I fly back and forth normally about 3 weeks at a time (gone for 3ish home for 3ish) with no real set schedule. When I’m home I work outside of the home full time. Our location is rural and would be great for Winter Enthusiasts with Down Hill and Cross Country skiing close by. Ice Fishing etc. Here are my questions

  1. I will be creating a post that covers flexible blocks of time
  2. Would a sitter be ok staying the entire 4 months even if I’m there or would a sitter only want to be there while I’m south?
  3. I’m ok with a sitter staying while I’m home … not sure if a sitter would be ok ? What’s the norm?
  4. I would prefer a couple or a single female if the sitter is ok being there when I’m there in between trips south.

Any advice on how to post this upcoming sit would be greatly appreciated.

Post edited to conform with community guidelines.

Usually the deal is that the HO is gone while the sitter looks after the house and animals. Sometimes you see a listing for an HO who for example is gone during the week but back on the weekend, or briefly back home in between two trips. The times I’ve seen that, often the HO had a setup that allows the sitter to be (quite) independent from the HO. For example, someone who has a separate apartment on their property that they used to rent out but not anymore.

Whether sitters find it attractive to stay the entire 4 months incl. when you’re there, is hard to predict… the best way is to put up the sit and give options and see what happens! Generally speaking though, it’s more common for people to advertise the 3 weeks, then the next block etc


Hi @CatLabatt1 ,
Welcome to THS and the forum. THS has a no-third party policy so the sitters would not be able to be there when you were. You should probably post a series of dates for the periods when you will be gone and the sitters would be alone in your home with your dogs.

If you want feedback on your listing, add it to your forum profile and experienced forum members will be able give you helpful suggestions to attract the right sitters. Here are the directions:
How to add your listing or profile to your forum profile


The third party policy does not allow you to be in the home while the sitter is there. You’ll need to either hire several different sitters or hope that you find someone willing to go back and forth. TBH I think that’s unlikely. But there is all kinds of sitters so who knows! Best of luck!

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Welcome @CatLabatt1 .

Here is a link to THS policy which states “Once a sitter has begun their sit, we require that the pet parent(s) have vacated the property for the entirety of the stay”

It’s also stated in the code of conduct that members agree to when they sign up

“I will ensure my home is vacated for my sitter throughout the duration of the sit, with no third parties present other than my confirmed sitter.”

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Yet again, it’s all about communication. If you make everything clear in your initial listing and then make it absolutely clear in your video/phone call and both parties are 100% ok with the arrangements then there should be no problem.
As a sitter, I have no problem with short visits by the family when we are looking after their pets as long as they are arranged before the sit is confirmed. Or if they are to pop in to collect mail etc, which would only take minutes.
I know it’s against the rules but i would not find it intrusive if it was arranged beforehand. And it might give me a chance to explore further afield leaving the family to look after the animals for a day or two.


Honestly, you might be able to get a 4 month sit for that length of time in the winter. Just like pet owners, sitters are all different and have different wants and needs. On my sit bucket list is experiencing winter in a cabin-like area. Someday wistful sigh
I had my doubts on would anyone want to sit in a mid-sized city nowhere near the major metropolitan area and we have someone for our 3-monther. I think you can just give it a try and see, then you can always change your dates for further flexibility. But absolutely put your expectations on your listing. Being clear and concise makes the application process much easier for all parties and gives you more chances to filter applications (especially those that don’t read your listing) so you can find the best sitter for you. But like other said, it would be beneficial to have clearer dates on when you would be back at home so the sitter can plan to vacate. You could have a more local sitter come in, or you could post the sit a smidge closer to the dates, though it is extra work. Best of luck for your Winter sit!

@CatLabatt1 I also think you have a chance of finding a good fit. Write a thoroug listing and make sure your title is catchy and has the word ‘Flexible’ or something similar in it. And advertise early. Good sitters plan long in advance. Someone might enjoy sharing the responsibilities with you - her when you’re gone, and when you’re home it might give her the chance to explore further afield for a few days at a time. It might suit a nomadic worker who wants the safety of a long sit and are happy to share a home or similar arrangement.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my questions. I sincerely appreciate any and all feedback.

One more question. I now understand that there is a definite policy regarding HO vacating for the sit. As a newbie I’m really hoping to have one person or couple over the 4 month time frame vs someone new every time. Would it be against the policy if when I’m home the sitter becomes a house guest with no responsibility for the home or pets? Then we both have flexibility and I’m able to juggle start and finish dates. I have read about sitters needing the security of set time frames so they are not faced with surprise accommodation expenses. My challenge will be on occasion I need flexibility due to flights, unforeseen work/family requirements etc. When I’m home I take my dogs to work with me every day.


Hi CatLabatt1,
I have been house sitting for a few years (in the UK) and would definitely go for a long-term sit like the one you’re describing. Sounds like a dream! If you want to discuss and get some feedback from a sitter, I’d be happy to provide some guidance.
Good luck with it!

I think that would be the logical approach, considering all the guidance other comments have provided. THS aren’t in a position to intervene with what occurs between sits and it would be an independent arrangement between you and the sitter how you conduct things between stated THS sit dates.

Hi. I think you might be better off posting individual blocks, and then planning your trips home based on the time between them. While lots of sitters (ourselves included) love long sits, it goes against THS policies to be occupying the home at the same time as the sitters.

If you break up your 4 months into blocks, you’ll likely have a different sitter each time. Would your dogs be OK with that?

I appreciate the feedback. I’m going to put some thought into everything and build a post over the next few weeks.
Thanks again

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Hi @CatLabatt1,
Whilst against THS third party policy you may find a sitter ok with it. You may limit your pool of sitters though as there are many sitters that don’t feel comfortable being in a home with a HO.

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Am I missing something here? Why is an Owner allowed to advertise a Sit that is against THS policy?

@PVGemini This particular situation seems to be a bit grey and remember it’s a new member that asked our input. It could be that, if they’re looking for one sitter for continuity reasons, it may be that it’s agreed between the HO and the sitter that the sitter can come and go without housesitting responsibilities when the owner is home. Or the sitter might even go away for a few weeks while the HO has returned. I think it’s the fact that they want one sitter for the whole period and that the HO can’t commit to fixed dates - hence why we all said to make it very clear in the listing that this arrangement needs to be discussed to benefit both parties. It might even happen that the HO and sitter are never there at the same time, depending on their arrangements. We certainly gave her food for thought and we provided the rules…so it’s up to her to make it work.

OK I see where you are going with this. There can be some negotiation. However, when I come across a new listing, and begin to read for 30 minutes, I am disappointed to discover that the Owner might come and go during a 3 month Sit. This fact is not obvious at first. I find out mainly by reading the Reviews. That is absolutely ridiculous. A potential Sitter should not have to “piece together” the real story before even applying to a Sit!

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They’re not rules they’re explicitly described as “guidelines” and that’s why some home owners take advantage. It’s very unfair and certainly unbalanced against sitters.

Interesting point! Are they guidelines, rules, policies, code of conduct? If they are guidelines, are they just suggestions and not absolutes?

If they were actually rules, they would be enforced. They are not unilaterally enforced, obviously, as sitters will be kicked off the platform but homeowners will not, in that similar circumstance of ending the sit early without the other party’s consent.