Is this the norm?

I’m currently experiencing my first House Sitter as a Pet Owner. I’m not sure quite what to expect to be honest so wondered if this situation was the norm.

Our sitter arrived and we took her through everything in the house and completed the Welcome Pack well in advance. There was plenty time to go through everything and we took the time to spend with her before leaving.

However, the first morning (at airport check in), we received two phone calls so assumed something was wrong. We called back and the HS said that she had sent a long message 20 minutes previously which was not answered. It was long and we painstakingly answered it - nothing wrong simply looking for things in the house. Since then, most days have been the same - looking for things in the house which I have already shown her.

I did suggest that the HS got in touch if there was anything she needed but didn’t quite envisage a daily list of things. Our house is small and I did re-arrange things in advance so that everything was pretty visible.

It’s kind of putting me off Trusted House Sitters if I’m honest as this daily contact is starting to be intrusive whilst I’m on holiday. Is this the norm? Am I being unreasonable?

Maybe with hindsight I should have been more explicit in the “advert” about the kind of person I was looking for. This person seems less mobile than I expected and I don’t think able to take the dog for much of a walk - she also can’t reach some cupboards in the house etc. I’ll be more specific about accessibility and activity levels in future but for the time being I’d kind of like a few views about whether I’m being unreasonable? When she said she would message me most days I thought it would be about how our dog was but……

Thanks in advance :pray:

(Edited to meet posting guidelines)

If your pets aren’t getting proper care, I’d raise that with THS right away. If that’s not the case and the sitter is just constantly contacting you, then they’re just annoying (and maybe lack self-sufficiency). That would suck for you, but if so I’d chalk that up to learning to screen more carefully in the future. And I’d be factual in reviewing them — like if they contacted you X times to ask about stuff you’d shown them.

You should also consider whether you didn’t write down enough and just expected them to remember everything from a tour, which would be unreasonable. I’ve had hosts like that, and because I’m proactive, I take down notes and send them to them for review before they leave (we overlapped). That forces them to reply in writing and gives them opportunity to correct or add as needed. But sitters shouldn’t have to do that, because that’s actually a host’s responsibility.

Generally, no, sitters shouldn’t be contacting hosts constantly to ask about stuff.

BTW, one of my hosts thoughtfully left a step stool out for me, because they’re tall people and I’m short, so they wanted me to be able to get to stuff high up.


Not quite following the logistics of the post but it seems like too much basic contact from the sitter.

I encourage contact since I want the THsitter to have a successful/good experience and our cat to be well cared for…but with a comprehensive welcome book and some things arranged in our home for ease…I would hope not to get a lot of “where’s the potato peeler” type texts…

1 Like


Every sit I learn something new to put in my welcome guide, because everyone is different and there are things I never knew would need to be spelled out because it’s second nature to me, but having a sitter call twice because you hadn’t responded to their non-emergency email sent 20 minutes prior while on your way out of town is … a lot.

How many more days do you have? Might be worth resetting expectations around your availability to respond.

This is not the norm for sitters. Hopefully your pets are being well cared for and this is just a quirky inconvenience and your next sit will require less hand holding.


Is the situation norm? I don’t think so. Looks like you have just found a high maintenance sitter that isn’t overly independent. As others have said as long as your pets are being cared for that’s the most important thing. Make sure you review the sitter accordingly.


That is a problem!

As for messaging, I would certainly deduct a star for “self-sufficient”. I had that once from the owner: an intense flow of managing directives. It is not relaxing.

On my current sit I am sending daily photos of the cat, that is all. I have not needed to ask anything yet. Although… I had been shown how the living room lamp is controlled by a remote, but I do not quite remember how (so many buttons!). It does not matter, there is enough light.


I tell the pet parents that unless there is an emergency, I will send all photos and written updates nightly. That way they don’t have to keep checking their phones all day. I also typically send updates regarding how the animals are doing and don’t really have other questions as I ask my own questions during the initial application phase and then ask follow up questions for clarification before the sit and I write everything down. Some people are just more independent than others and unless you read reviews from other pet parents, it’s hard to tell which sitters need more hand holding


My vote goes to “not normal”. Guessing that you did read previous reviews and they were glowing, then this highlights the need to leave honest reviews so people can make sure they’re choosing the best fit for their needs/circumstances.


@ChrisCJ No, this is not normal! :slight_smile: I dread to think what would happen if a real challenge would confront such a sitter.


Since you are new, I’d like to state that homeowners and sitters rely on honest reviews when considering future sits/sitters.

Therefore, please include something in your review (of the sitter) that mentions the lack of self-sufficiency. That way, future homeowners will know this and can make their decisions accordingly.


We only contact owners to provide a daily update on the pets and home or when it was essential and we have already tried to work it out ourselves and not been able to . For example when the pool maintenance man came and said there was no power in the pool area so he could not do the scheduled maintenance - it was a large house with multiple fuse boxes - after checking all the ones we had been shown ( which were alsoIn the welcome guide ) we had to contact the owner to ask and were directed to one that we had not been shown at the handover.

Where there have been features that we weren’t familiar with , some owners have made helpful videos ( how to work the child safety Quooker tap / operate the pool cover ) Others showed us during the handover how to use the aga / where we could safely walk (where they had electric fences)

If it’s a case of looking for the corkscrew or other essentials :wink:most owners have told us on handover if you can’t find something have a root around in the cupboards.

We have been very fortunate to have been left very detailed welcome guides that went over everything discussed at handover so we could refer to them if we couldn’t remember.


She’s either a person who doesn’t take much initiative and waits for people to tell her how to do things or where to look for things (like in your case), or she believes that rummaging in your drawers and cupboards would invade your privacy and she’s reticent to do so.

For the time being and your peace of mind while away, I would tell her that it’s totally fine to look for things in your drawers, and that you’d preferred it if she contacted you for actual emergency ONLY and to send you updates about your let.

As suggested by others, I would then write an accurate and honest review.


I’m wondering @ChrisCJ whether your sitter is new also and just learning the ropes too. Did you have other applicants and do a video call with this one prior to confirming her?
I’m assuming this sit is for over Christmas and New Year where the demand for sitters has been huge with many owners unable to secure a sitter, let alone an experienced one. So you are fortunate to have got one, albeit one who is not displaying as much resourcefulness as you would like.
Hopefully the questions will ease and both of you can settle into enjoying your holiday and her sit. Ask for photos of your dog on its daily walks to reassure yourself rather than making a judgement on her mobility without really knowing.
We all learn from our experiences whether it’s our first time or our 100th time as rarely is a sit perfect.


Doesn’t sound normal but given it’s your first sit, could your guide also be light on info?

Not everyone is a kinaesthetic learner, so a single tour of the house may not work for them and having a reference could be helpful.

I would take it as a learning and every question they ask, update your guide for next time.

If all the questions are in the guide, then that’s another story.

Additionally, the piece about able-ness for the sit is concerning though. If your dog isn’t getting the care, sounds like there’s a mismatch. This happened to us after a sitter didn’t disclose aspects of their health, e.g. they struggled with even getting up the stairs to our flat and it’s one flight of steps. We now ask questions to ensure sitters are fit enough for the sit (and tell them why we’re asking so they’ll have context), in addition to calling out that we have an active and athletic dog in our profile.


Not normal! They might be new and realising that pet sitting isn’t for them. If i can’t find something it doesn’t bother me (definitely not enough to get in touch with the pet owner!) If it did bother me I probably wouldn’t pet sit


Your experience isnt typical. But this is matching site. It’s not some business that is simply sending people over. Figuring out the right match is a skill, and while the site offers some tools that can help, it’s a skill that might have a learning curve.

You can and should be reading sitter profiles carefully, and looking at reviews. More than that you need to think about what skills and abilities the right sitter for your pet has to have. This is true whether you’re relying on THS, a friend, a relative, or even a paid sitter.

Because this involves treating your pet the way you want your pet treated, and you really want some one to do things your way, and follow the short cuts you’ve learned with your pet, IMO one of the most important qualities I look for in sitters is proof that they can listen. It’s not about someone being an expert – and insisting it’s their way or the highway. It’s about their being able to listen to you and substitute for you.

You also have to make sure the sitter is physically up to the job. I’m short and I’d be much less worried about a short person’s ability to get things down from the shelves – we’ve been figuring that stuff out our entire lives – and more concerned with other physical demands of sitting including the sitter’s ability to go for long walks if that’s what the dog does. And I wouldn’t assume because someone has been sitting on this site that they have those abilities. Just as anyone can join as a homeowner, anyone can join as a sitter. You can in the future ask a question like: How do you handle reactive dogs especially large ones? or What do you consider a long walk?

If you’re put off by THS, you never have to use them again. But I will tell you that I am much more at ease and happier with THS and the sitters I’ve hosted than with the alternatives. I think my pets are too.


That’s helpful, thank you. I think the dog is getting the right care but no way of telling how much walking he’s getting. Thanks again for your views and taking the trouble to respond.

Many thanks, that’s helpful. I think in future I will do as you suggest and set some boundaries around when I will be available albeit I don’t think I’d use this sitter again.

That’s helpful thank you. I thought I’d adequately reviewed the sitter but maybe I do need to be a bit more probing about ability. The previous reviews when I now look at them were okay but nothing outstanding so just wonder if the previous people were just being polite. The HS is much older than I thought they would be and so more learning for me to stipulate in my post a certain level of ‘activities and ability’ needed.

Yes with hindsight the previous reviews were adequate but by no means glowing. Oh the beauty of hindsight. Thanks for replying.

Once again, Silversitters sound advice. I will review my welcome pack for the next HS and did say to the current one - if you can’t find something then rake about the cupboards (after I has made sure they weren’t cluttered)! Many thanks again, your response is reassuring that’s it’s not my expectations that are adrift here :pray: