Homeowners who expect me to sleep with their dogs

Hi Y’all. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic. My husband and I have been house-pet sitting for many years now. Lately, on many sits, homeowners are expecting us to sleep with their pets because their pets are used to sleeping in the same bed with their owners.

My husband and I love dogs but this is asking a bit much and crossing our boundaries. I will give attention, love and care for your pets but this is where we draw the line.

The way we have been handling this is just to smile and nod, and after they leave just close the bedroom door for our privacy. This usually isn’t a problem but we did have a situation with a dog that had separation anxiety that tore the house apart while we were sleeping. Thank goodness it was not permanent damage and we were able to tidy up in the morning.

What are your thoughts and comments?

If it is not in the listing, I will ask before the sit where the pets are sleeping.

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In my list of pre-sit questions, that’s one I ask. But I don’t mind sleeping with pets either.

@wandalust4ever This is a deal-breaker for me, as I am a light sleeper. That said, as a compromise, I have suggested that we set up THEIR bedroom as a “safe space” for their pet to continue to sleep in and encourage the owner to leave behind something that has their scent on it. I always stay in the guest room and will decline sits that mandate that we stay in the main bedroom. This has worked really well for cats especially. Honestly, most pets who sleep in the owners bedroom
are comfortable there and may feel stressed if a stranger invades that space. There are varying opinions on this topic, but this is what works well for me.


We’re not fans of dogs sleeping on beds either @wandalust4ever and don’t want them with us, but if that’s their norm, then best to know before you start the sit. I’d be annoyed as an HO if you’d shut them out of the bedroom without discussing it first. We can’t change habits of a lifetime in a few weeks as sitters :raised_hands:t3: PS we are on a month long sit now where the huge German shepherds are used to sleeping on the beds but we were super clear that was a deal breaker and the HO said please shut them out the room and they will learn. #winwinforclearcomms


It’s totally fine to have clear boundaries as to what works for you but never fine to agree to something you have no intention of following through on and very unfair to the pets and their regular routine.
Be honest, always the best way.


In the cases that this has happened, it has been after we have already arrived to start the housesit. It was never mentioned or discussed in their profile or discussed in our subsequent conversations so it’s a surprise to us when this happens if a homeowner tells us in advance that this is one of the requirements. Of course, we would never agree to it, but once we have already traveled and arrived, then it becomes an issue.

If this is a dealbreaker for you, best just ask upfront. There’s no reason a sitter can’t do that.

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Can’t say that I support this approach…you may be great sitters with many 5 stars but in my mind this is a breach of the exchange agreement if you accept such sits then don’t allow the dog to sleep in the bed.

I would discuss with the HO and if it were a deal breaker for the HO, I would pass on the sit.
That seems the good and correct thing to do.


@wandalust4ever we don’t sleep with pets in the same room and state this in our profile. If it’s mentioned in the listing as a requirement then we don’t apply.

For the sits we do apply for , when we have a chat with owners (before accepting a sit ) we have several important questions that we ask . One of them being :where do the pets sleep ? If it comes to light that we are expected to sleep with the pets or have them in our room - we’ll pass .
Even if the owner says they usually sleep with me but I’m sure they’ll be fine if you shut the door . A pet that’s used to sleeping with a human for company will likely become anxious their own and therefore display various behaviours to get to be with you.

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Great idea!

As I stated, we never would promise and agree if I knew in advance. The times this came up was when we already arrived at a home. I will need to ask during the interview about the sleeping arrangement up front. This has only been a recent issue for us.

@wandalust4ever thanks for your reply. I reread the OP and would still comment as such.
All good.
No reply needed.

Shutting the door on the dogs without the owners knowing feels very sneaky and underhanded to me.

It’s one thing if you’ve discussed it with the HO and they gave permission that it was ok like @Cuttlefish said, but if you’re not comfortable with animals sleeping with you or whatever compromise is provided by the HO, don’t accept the sit.

And if this is a deal breaker for you on sits, you should absolutely be asking that question along with any other deal breakers before you accept the sit.

In future, the first time something like this happens, I make a note and update my templates/profiles/questions so that there isn’t a second time.

Personally, if I’d come home as an HO and found out the whole sit you had blocked my pet’s access to something that was theirs because you weren’t comfortable and you hadn’t been transparent about it so that I could provide the best alternative set up for my pet or gone with someone else, I would be pi$$ed. (FYI, our dog is not allowed on furniture so what would upset me in this situation is the reverse, I.e. finding out he had been allowed onto it, but in either direction, I personally think there is a problem because it’s our home our rules). :+1:t4:


There’s also another thread on this topic…may be helpful to see what others have already said:

As the OP has clarified this has happened on sits where they have found out the ‘requirement’ after arriving at the sit and they now check in advance. In this case the 2 likely outcomes to telling the owner it isn’t going to be that way is that 1 - the sit gets cancelled and the sitters is homeless and out of pocket for potentially a lot of money and the owner gets to try find another sitter and resume their trip later or ends up out of pocket with no trip at all or 2 - The sit proceeds but now with angry, unhappy owners.
I would personally choose the path the OP took and then ensure that this type of thing was checked for future sits as they have done. I’ve actually gone further by basically not doing dog sits since dog owners always seem to have neglected to mention something until I arrive or not at all until it hits you during the sit.
However the onus is on the owner to clearly state what their requirements are for a sit both in the listing (the best place) and in the subsequent communication before offering the sit. It’s not for the sitter to ask about a thousand possible requirements that may exist but for the owner to merely state what they require. Some might say the owner who doesn’t state this has just forgotten and others may say it was a deliberate omission to attract a sitter or it isn’t really that important if they forgot but regardless last minute changes are, to borrow a SLA phrase from my line of work, “best effort” and in this case that means no dogs on the bed.

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I recall a post a while back now where an HS was quite upset that a dog wasn’t allowed to cuddle on the couch. It’s funny how everyone has their own non-negotiables and they can be so different. Personally I don’t mind if a dog sleeps on the bed as long as I still have space to sleep in peace and it’s not a restless sleeper but I’m never going to sneak a dog on the bed or the couch if that’s not where it’s supposed or allowed to be.

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The irony being that I grew up in a houseful of gun dogs who are lucky if they get floor space in the boot room and all sleep in an outdoor kennel. And they absolutely love their life and we love them! My sphere of adjustment to sofa and bed dwelling dogs has been huge :rofl: :rofl: BTW, I’m liking the sound of your sit more and more @bakindoki #nextimefingerscrossed

In general, I find pet owners’ expectations (demand) that sitters sleep with their pets boundary-crossing and rather offputting; however, once I have met them and bonded with them (which can take only minutes), I don’t really mind.

To share or not to share? The owner of this 10-month-old puppy left it up to me to decide. I closed the door once, and the puppy parked himself on the other side and wouldn’t move. After that, I didn’t have the heart to lock him out again.


I disagree about onus. It is the responsibility of BOTH parties. HO aren’t perfect. HS aren’t perfect. You do your best based on the knowledge you have. But if it is a deal breaker for you, regardless of which party you are, you should be discussing explicitly before you confirm the sit. I’m both HO/HS on the app and I ask questions. Additionally, Ofc it’s impossible to ask about every little thing but how do you not ask about your own deal breakers? Those should always be asked as they’re…deal breakers. Expecting another party to vet the arrangement for you also doesn’t really make sense. It’s your job to verify the other party’s offering makes sense for you.

Re: the rest, if it’s happened once, why has it happened again?

The advice you’ve just given is actually the same thing I posted tbh, which is if it’s happened before, modify your behaviour so that it doesn’t happen again. OP stated this has happened more than once. After the first time, I would be asking that question explicitly and then yes, either not accepting the sit or better understanding the compromises available.

Personally, it’s interesting because transparency is such a fine line…this could have been easily resolved by discussing upfront as opposed to making assumptions. Regardless, OP has a bunch of options for progressing forward! Another example is when people have guests…if I know who and for how long, it’s probably ok. When you do it and idk about it, I will absolutely feel some
type of way about it. Only thing that changed is transparency and comms around the action.

Lastly, just because they shut the dog out because the consequences of being transparent would have been costly doesn’t make it any less cheeky :joy:. I know why people do it, doesn’t change the fact that the HO’s dog got shut out of a room without them knowing. Maybe it’s a big deal to HO, maybe it isn’t. Again, Why it’s important to discuss dealbreakers before the sit starts.

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