How to review a good but not great sitter?

Hi all, first time poster, long time lurker! Apologies in advance for the long read. I just wanted to get some advice on reviews, happy to hear from both HOs and Sitters. I have used THS for a couple of years as a HO and have had excellent sitters, some of whom have become friends and return to house/pet sit for me. I have written lots of reviews, which were easy since the sitters were great. Perhaps I have been lucky or spoiled with the quality of the sitters so far. But this recent one, not as much… so I’m not sure how to review her, or if any of this is even worth mentioning. I’m also an Airbnb host so I’m aware that 5* and 4* scores have implications, and I am not sure if it’s the same on THS?


  • I live on my own, 2 bed flat in London with 3yr old <10kg cavapoo - feel free to check my profile :slight_smile:
  • Profile has lots of info on the flat, the area, his routine, nothing out of the ordinary. He can be left on his own for up to 4 hours.
  • Recently I went away for 5 nights on a short break with family, and selected a sitter with 20+ 5* reviews and many years experience. All good so far.
  • I normally do an overlap day with the sitter on either side, so the sitter can arrive anytime the day before I leave (since I had to leave in the morning) and any time after the day I got back (since I was arriving around midnight or later) so this sit was 1-8 Dec. This arrangement is explained on the initial call and it usually allows plenty of time for me to show them around and go through a handover of looking after my dog and the flat. All my travel / flight times were communicated with the sitter in advance.
  • The sitter has their own bedroom and bathroom, and I’m flexible around timings so I’m fine for them to arrive a day earlier or stay longer if they need to.
  • Since this was a relatively short sit, I told the sitter they didn’t need to water the plants, take the bins out or change their sheets, I would sort all that out when I got back.


  • Sitter arrived very late on the first day of the sit. She mentioned beforehand that she would arrive in the afternoon, which was fine. On the day she was meant to arrive, it got later and later. She explained that the other dog she was sitting has separation anxiety and she was asked to stay later by the previous HO. She arrived around 8:30pm but since I had to leave early the next morning, the handover was minimal. I wasn’t too worried as I figured she is an experienced sitter and knows the area but it was still a bit annoying (In hindsight I should have a detailed handover document, which I am working on but it had never been an issue before, and my dog’s general routine / info is on my profile anyway).
  • Halfway through the sit, the sitter texted asking if she could leave a day early before I got back. She said the next sit had requested her to arrive on the 7th, bearing in mind the agreed sit is 1-8 Dec and I was technically returning on the 8th. I was not comfortable with this request, but tried to be flexible, saying she could leave around 9/10pm to minimise leaving my dog on their own. She said the familyat the next sit wanted her there at 6/7pm which would potentially mean leaving my dog around 5pm to be on his own until I got home at 1am the next morning, or later due to travel delays. I politely told her that the next sit’s family need to understand that the current pet will have priority particularly as it’s within the existing confirmed sit dates. I even mentioned that THS don’t allow overlapping sit dates anyway. The sitter replied saying she will speak to the family and see what they can arrange. Then I hear nothing back until I chased her more than 24 hours later, and she replied saying that she will stay at mine until the 8th as agreed. So it was fine in the end, but it did cause me anxiety while I was away, wondering if my dog was going to be left on his own. Then having to chase her for a response as to whether she was leaving the sit early or not, wasn’t very considerate.
  • She seemed a bit surprised by my dog pulling on a lead, and mentioned it several times during the sit. This lead pulling behaviour is listed on my profile, and I always mention this on initial calls with sitters, so I don’t know if she forgot, or perhaps I could be mistaking her tone as being surprised, but it does point to her not reading the information on my profile.
  • Minor household things, such as forgetting what items I said were NOT dishwasher safe, like my chef knives and detachable pot handles, and finding these inside the dishwasher when I got back. Something (pasta sauce?) exploded in the microwave and it took a lot of scrubbing to remove.

Good things:

  • Dog was looked after and seemed healthy and happy
  • I received regular updates
  • Place was pretty clean overall (she didn’t need to do much though)
  • She was nice and friendly

How would you review her? Yes my dog and flat were looked after and I can overlook most of the issues, but the sitter asking to leave the sit early did stress me out. Surely I shouldn’t have to remind an experienced sitter that my pet comes first during the agreed sit dates? Am I being too harsh? Am I overthinking? Should I still give her 5* but mark down on organisation etc? She has already left me a review but of course, I won’t be able to see it until I have written mine.

I’d write a factual review, starting with the fact that your dog appeared to be well looked after. I’d also mention these elements factually, because hosts don’t typically sign up for this sort of thing:

  1. Causing you unnecessary stress about your dog potentially being left for a stretch you didn’t agree to, even after all timing had been agreed on.

  2. Leaving you to clean a mess she created in the microwave.

  3. Potentially damaging items that weren’t meant to be put in the dishwasher.

This doesn’t sound to me like a five-star sitter. Your call, of course. And I say all the above as a sitter.


Thank you, that’s very helpful :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Mits , You can use the positive sandwich suggested by @Colin a while back. Start and end with the positives and state the negatives in between. Keep it factual and you can take stars off for Organized, Reliable * and Clean and Tidy. I don’t think she’s a 5-star sitter.


@Mits - definitely not five star and you are able to mark each category accordingly. As you said you know what a five star sitter looks like so have something to compare with.

Blind reviews and the overlapping sit policy were introduced to address exactly this type of situation although I am unsure if the sit following yours was through THS.

I would suggest you create a Welcome Guide or your own guide for future sitters. As a sitter I appreciate having a guide to refer to as there is a lot to take in on arrival and sometimes things can be forgotten or overlooked.

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Five for pet care and cleanliness and less for organisation, comms and self sufficiency (I think there may be one more category but can’t recall it). Not a 5 star experience so don’t rate it as such. Clear, factual, non emotional and honest a review for her and then onwards and upwards. Very glad your pooch is good, most important and thanks for sharing your experience on the forum. Fair and measured as an HO which all sitters hope for :raised_hands:t3:


Asking about changing the leave time to accomodate another sit – especially with a dog, after the sit has started is anxiety inducing. If her proposal had involved coming back to walk or check on the dog, rather than simply abandoning the dog, or asking you to get a neighbor in, that wouldn’t be as bad. It does sound, however, like she respected your “no”. So you’d be faulting her for asking basically, not for what she did.

Her lateness in getting there to begin with may have set the tone, but I’m not sure how that could be helped. Stuff happens and she was still there beforehand for a handoff.

On the other hand, only being able to leave the dog for 4 hours is tough throughout the sit. Was that discussed before the sit was accepted? Was it written someplace?

Sitters like the general population don’t generally have member 100% echoic recall, which is why writing stuff down – like what doesn’t go in the dishwasher is super important. It sounds like she should have cleaned the microwave, but maybe you could buy one of those microwave covers that protect stuff for your next guests? Certainly, next time you should have written instructions – doesn’t have to be in the official welcome format but something.

If you don’t feel comfortable giving the sitter 5 stars, then don’t. If she did a good enough job in your opinion, give four. That is certainly your right, but take responsibity in your review for the stuff you could have done differently.

I don’t see any problem with this. While it is not ideal you have to expect some potential delay in travel to you which is why you have them arriving a day early. In addition the delay is because they weren’t able to leave the dog at their previous sit as early as planned (unless the fudged those details and was always expecting to be delayed).
How much of a handover do you want? Unless you wanted them to accompany you on a long walk with the dog or he needs extended acclimation with a person (even then they are staying overnight the first night with you) what were you not able to cover in 30 minutes?

Halfway through the sit, the sitter texted asking if she could leave a day early before I got back.

Trying to leave early especially the night before so the dog is alone is a huge no-no. I would never even consider trying to ask this unless something was on fire somewhere else and I had the extinguisher. There’s a lot of discussions here about sitters thinking this is acceptable so they can manage back-to-back sits and claims that the owners are very accommodating but your response is a good indication of why this shouldn’t even be broached. You just don’t know if they are going to go ahead and do it anyway.
I would definitely ‘mark them down’ for this or at least mention it.

You could give them a 4 star overall. Mention all the good things like updates and cleanliness overall and that your dog was well looked after. then mention what you had an issue with briefly and factually. Mention the mess and the non-dishwasher items. I have the Tefal handle for their Ingenio pots and putting it in the dishwasher does damage its finish so best avoided (I still put it in though)

They may have not taken in the puling on the lead bit as it is near the end of a long but detailed page. If you are concerned about future sitters also missing it maybe add “Please mention that you are ok with the lead pulling in your application”. You could then discard any that don’t as they clearly haven’t read it all the way through.

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It’s slightly off topic @Marion but we’d never leave dogs for more than 4 hours unless it was specifically agreed. A vet will tell you 4/5 hours max and having had family dogs ourselves for 50+ years I would expect the same guidelines. 2 hours or less is tough on a sit. 4 hours absence is very normal IMHO


Why I don’t do dog sits on THS. We managed when we had a dog to leave her up to seven hours until she was older and that no longer worked. Friends and family dogs I’ve sat for it’s usually 6 hours.

@Cuttlefish - leaving a dog for up to 4 hours is our maximum as well and we mention that in our profile.


There goes a star for communication, I think.

This sitter seems to take on too much. Did she have missing reviews?

You seem like a very reasonable and organized individual. Thank you for taking the time to think it through and get some feedback! I wish all Owners were so diligent!

You have had lots of great advice here. When we have a bad experience, at least we learn better ways to try to prevent issues in the future. Nobody has a crystal ball.

Everything that you described is pretty ridiculous Sitter behavior. You are not overthinking.


No way of knowing, if sitters have missing reviews, unfortunately @pietkuip

I do remember someone saying they spotted missing reviews on the app. I checked a profile I know has missing reviews, but there were still no gaps in their reviews.

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Personally, I would not rate her a 5 but maybe a 4 + use the individual stars as you think appropriate.

I would mention that she contacted you during the sit to ask if she could leave the day before the confirmed end date due to another sit she accepted. That would be enough of a warning for HOs.

I would mention she arrived later than expected and that at times during the sit she did not respond promptly.

It sounds like she does alot of sits and hasn’t learned how to take notes on them and use the welcome guide as reference. I have had similar issues and resorted to posting small stand up chalkboards to put around our place as reminders to sitters.


I am not allways sure if the 5* sitters really deserve the 5*.

Allways think about one thing: As a HO you will never see the missed sits on the app. So it could be that a fulltime sitter has 50% 5* reviews and 50% missed reviews.

I had a 40+ 5* sitter and also a 0 review sitter which was better. The 40+ sitter was in a way totally routined, but in an unpleasant way so that, for example, he only called my animal by a common name and never by his own name (probably a name that he gives to every animal).

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Not a 5 star sitter.

I think the sitter arrived late cuz they were committed on sit…no separation issue.

This sounds like a sitter with a priority of staying in a home…

A 5 star sitter:
Reads the welcome book and complys.
Including not putting knives in DW.
(I have notes about a few important things in my welcome book and I want them respected.)

Tells the second sit "sorry, as discussed, I’m booked until “blah blah.” And it doesn’t come up as an issue for you at all.

My cat is my priority but so is my home.
My friends and family respect my home…so should sitters.

I know I respect homes as a sitter.

It seems like you will be fair. Thankfully the review system is blind.

You’ve got a lot of advice from other members here so I won’t offer any, however it sounds like you haven’t completed a Welcome Guide so I would urge you to do that. Just because certain things are on your profile doesn’t mean everything is mentioned,

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Arriving late when she knew you weren’t leaving until the following day is not too bad if it was an isolated thing, but does come into play when there are other problems.
Requesting to leave a day early to attend another sit is not acceptable in my eyes, and definitely wrong to disturb you while you are on holiday to ask. You need to review accordingly. It’s wrong.
Dishwasher - don’t ‘tell’ a sitter anything, write it down, believe me when we first arrive our focus is on where the dog food & leaders are kept, and where they sleep on a night, it’s not on pots and pans or anything else linked to our personal comfort.
Microwave explosion - It sounds like she hasn’t had her own home before, so if that’s the case you would have known beforehand so maybe take into account her naivety. If that’s not the case then it’s different. There are often posts on here where sitters have been down rated for cleanliness when they ‘think’ they have left it clean, but reading between the lines you can tell it’s simple naivety to all of the extra things that need cleaning in addition to basic vacuuming, dusting, and bathrooms.