How to leave diplomatic feedback?

It’s time for me to leave feedback on a sit. The people were wonderful, their house was wonderful, the neighborhood was wonderful. One of their dogs was sweet, the other meant well but he was a safety hazard because of his size and his tendency to pounce on people (in particular, me). The other issue for me was the pet odor. The smell was evident on all the floors of the house and permeated my clothes.

Besides the fact that the owners are terrific, all their previous sitters raved about the sit. There were no negative comments at all, which is why I applied. These lovely people gave me a wonderful review, but I don’t know how to approach this.


Perhaps something like “I have a very sensitive nose and noticed a bit of a pet odour” and “Be mindful of Fido around other people as he jumps up and can be a bit intimidating due to his size”.
I know you probably don’t have a sensitive nose but sometimes it’s more diplomatic to say that rather than “the house stinks”… :joy:


Personally I would just tell the owners about the odour, rather than making it public, as it seems you had a great sit apart from that.

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I think it’s important for us sitters to share information. I had to leave my first house sit in over 8 yrs after the dog bit me 3 times!!! I’m still working with the administrators trying to get his home owner removed so no one else finds their self in this unsafe situation.

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@dendhaus , so sorry this happened to you. Did you include the biting incidents in your review/feedback? I feel it is a disservice to other sitters not to mention the issues I encountered at this sit. I’m getting closer but not ready to post anything yet. The support I have found here has helped.


What you’ve written here seems fair. Regarding the smell, that’s tough. I think you need to say something–maybe “they are lovely dogs (blah blah); potential sitters should be aware that certain dogs have stronger odors than others do.”

For the record, I have never had a sit with stinky dogs/house, including when I’ve sat for large rescue dogs. I think your hosts did not bathe the dogs prior to the sit, and cannot smell their stinky house.

I have been made aware, and I guess I should have thought of it myself, that because the dog was intact, he could have been marking in the house (I did not witness it) and an intact dog’s urine has a stronger smell. Landing on his legs, which it surely did, would make the smell worse. Furthermore, the dog had been having diarrhea for some time and it may have affected his a* glands. His sister also had bowel and bladder issues. I am sure, as you say, the dogs were not bathed and considering their size, that would be a very big project.

Not sure if I should contact the owners as has been suggested. I feel bad about this because their house was otherwise lovely and clean and they are such nice people.

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Hi @mars
I feel that you must leave accurate feedback. You have already received yours from them and you are hardly likely to want to meet them again so once you have posted it you can then forget about it.
Although one of my recent sittings was not as bad as yours, it was far from perfect with dog accidents a regular occurrence as well as other factors.
I started out with all of the good things and then started a new paragraph with:

I feel it only fair to point out one or two things to future sitters

I then listed them and gave the sitter a 4* rating.
As discussed on other threads, we must all be more accurate in our ratings to be fair to other members.
Good luck


Hi @dendhaus thank you for joining our community forum however I’m sorry that your visit is to discuss your recent experience with an aggressive dog. As you say, no member should ever find themselves in an unsafe situation.

I am going to Direct Message you for some additional information …

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Here is an update. Because of the feedback I received here, I set up a phone call with the HO told her all the positives, then the negative issues I felt she should be aware of.
I cautioned her that the jumping dog could cause an injury to another sitter, and she said they are working on it with the trainer. It did not seem they are bothered by the pet odor, but she thanked me for bringing these things to her attention. I published the review and used phrases suggested here (many thanks!), and like @Itchyfeet, left 4 stars (ooh, that was hard). Because I was gentle, this review still requires prospective sitters to read between the lines.


Well done, good advice here as usual too

Perhaps it’s an odor that the HOs have become accustomed to and no longer notice. My daughter is currently househunting in London and had to cut a visit short because the house had such a strong dog odor. She’s not overly sensitive to smells but she said the smell was overpowering.

It was good of you to diplomatically mention your concerns during your phone call. Upon reflection, the HOs may realize that what doesn’t bother them may be objectionable to others.