Problems you handled yourself?

Various posts on the forum raise issues that sitters or hosts are struggling with. While those discussions are sometimes instructive or otherwise helpful to others, it might also be helpful to know how others deal with issues on their own and/or matter of factly. So do you have such to share, in case useful to others? I think such examples would be especially helpful coming from really experienced sitters or HOs.

I’ll share one to kick things off: At the start of my week, a homeowner with whom I’d agreed on a sit months ago asked to chat. It turns out their grown son would be in the home overlapping part of my sit. Not only is that against THS terms, I have zero interest in sharing a home with a stranger. So my reply to the HO was straightforward and neutral:

“If it works out better, please feel free to have your son sit instead. If so, just cancel our sit on the platform. No worries if so.”

The HO: “He was always going to travel with us from X to X date.”

Me, knowing I wasn’t going to be talked into doing something I didn’t want to do: “I’m flexible between either your canceling our sit or doing the sit as planned, but without anyone else in the home.”

So the HO ended up canceling and asked whether they could help with airfare charges incurred. She also said she’d contact me about future sits.

All of that happened within a few minutes and we were done — no angst. Life happens sometimes and it’s easier from my POV to have clear boundaries, not get needlessly emotional and just deal.

Note: When setting boundaries and upholding them or otherwise standing up for yourself, you can do it without sweating or being impolite or aggressive. Such conversations are actually done better in a neutral tone — introducing a bunch of emotions unnecessarily mucks things up in many cases.


You are clearly good at this! I would need more time to come up with writing this kind of responses. I might need to take a walk first. And discard a first draft.

But so far in my pet sitting “career”, I have not had real problems.


I had a sit in one of my dream locations confirmed months ago. Recently I discovered that the owner updated the listing to reveal that one of the dogs wore diapers due to incontinence. I wrote her and said that I would not have agreed to the sit if I had known this and would she please unconfirm me. She apologized and did so. Very business-like.


I’m going back a few years here when we went as far as meeting up with the homeowners on two local sits. When we arrived at the first meet up, we discovered the homeowners didn’t have a tv - a big deal breaker for my husband so we politely declined. When we met with the second set of homeowners, they mentioned they had tenants in their basement so we also politely declined as I don’t want to do a sit where there are tenants in the house. I now check to see if there is a tv showing in the homeowner listing pics and if not, I ask. I also am very careful at applying on sits if tenants are in the home. I have nothing against tenants in a home but just not a sit I’m interested in.

Good thing you were able to catch such issues early in your sitting experience…

I’ve noticed in a few listings that some HOs are declaring when they don’t have TVs. I just accepted one yesterday. I haven’t watched TV in ages.

I once temporarily sublet an apartment on accepting a new job across the country. It had a TV so old I imagined that they watched the moon landing on it, LOL. I turned it on for fun, to see whether it worked. It had a knob to turn channels and turned out to be in black and white.

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I note that a lot of sitters say they had a lovely welcome and home cooked meal when they arrive.
Does this mean the HO were there for the first night?
I would be uncomfortable with that and presumably it’s against policy?

I was due to sit for a lady who was going to be there the first night as her flight was early the next day, before I could get to her. It was subsequently cancelled due to me having debilitating Covid. (She got another sitter).

I would have been uncomfortable but having worked in rescue for years and understanding dog behaviour, I equally would never enter a home or meet a new dog, without its owner present.

I think it is very nice, I like to do it that way. So far on 6 out of 9 sits.

And of course it is not against policy.

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Ah ok. Im really confused as previous comments have said no third parties. Against policy.

Is it? Isn’t it?

The HO (first party) invite you (the second party) for dinner the evening before the sit. And socialize, and walk the dog, and drink wine, and talk shop, and to spend the night.

When you accept that invitation, there is complete consensus.

Of course that is not against any rules.


@MarieHuggins the third party policy applies to people being there during the sit . If the home owner invites you to come a day early for a handover ; this isn’t breaking the third party policy . It happens quite often when the HO has an early departure on the first day of the sit .

You don’t have to accept this offer - you can stay nearby at your own expense ,if they have an early departure or with their agreement arrive after they have left . This is something to be discussed before committing to a sit .

It has been discussed here Do you host sitters who are coming from a distance?


When we’ve used sitters to look after our home and pets we have them for dinner the first night and stay over. It makes sense if you’ve an early flight too and gives you chance to show them how things run as well as the pets getting used their presence.

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So many situations where an honest answer or comment can sort out problems without it escalating into a full blown war zone.

There will be a worker living in the bottom part of our house. Sorry, we took this sit because we liked the idea of complete isolation. Oh, ok. I’ll tell him he has to go home every night. They were developing their 10 acre property

The outside of the house will be painted while we are away. Sorry, this will limit the access the dogs have to the garden and I will not cater or clean up after workmen. Oh, ok. I’ll delay the work till I get back.

My daughters dog will be staying as well as our cat. Sorry, we took the sit because we are attending a gliding competition and won’t have time to walk and look after a dog. Oh, ok. She will find her own pet sitter.

The dog refuses to eat but drinks lots of water. Feed small quantities often till he gets used to having strangers around.

The electric goes off. Look in the guide to find the fuse box and make sure all the breakers are back on.

The washing machine leaks. Switch it off and tighten all the pipes. (It obviously was an ongoing problem because the floor was stained and spongy).

And so on.


@Silversitters thank you for explaining it so eloquently. Much appreciated :blush:🩷:blush:


We always do the night before with the HOs whenever we can @MarieHuggins -we meet the pets, get full orientation, have a meal together and connect as friends. And then off the Hos go fully relaxed and the pets simply wave them goodbye :wave:t3:


Im on my own, so not comfortable doing this😊

Exactly! I think such examples might help sitters who aren’t as experienced or maybe as confident.

@MarieHuggins, you don’t have to accept invitations to stay before the HO leaves. It’s typically offered as a nice gesture, so you have somewhere to stay free ahead of the sit and have time to get to know the pet(s) and HOs, and to learn about that pet’s care, home care details and such.

I’ve had some invitations to stay ahead, including a meal. That’s worked for me when the HOs have a comfortable home of a certain size, including a guest room with a private bathroom.

I won’t accept or expect invites to stay ahead if a home is small. I don’t even want to stay with family or friends in such circumstances, LOL. I value my space and privacy enough to pay for my own hotel room in such cases. In those instances, I might still accept an invite for a meal.

Some sitters really value relationship-building with HOs. Personally, I find that nice, but unnecessary for me to enjoy a sit. (In my industry, it’s super easy to meet people with things in common, all over the world.) When sitting, I want to find a clean home and to avoid pet surprises that a HO neglected to reveal.

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Cross-posting from another thread, because of relevance:

In case useful to other folks, I encountered dead air with an early sit — one that had been offered to me unsolicited.

This is the nudge I sent them:

Hi, XX and XX. Haven’t heard back from you, so I’m wondering whether I should consider that you’ve changed your minds about your XX plans. No worries, if so. In that case, I’ll pursue other stays during that time. I just didn’t want to assume and leave you hanging.


They got back to me right away. And if they hadn’t, I would’ve considered my part done and moved on, because I don’t feel obligated to keep chasing HOs. I also don’t see why any sitters should have to pay unnecessarily high travel costs because a HO doesn’t respond in a timely manner, for instance.

The situation above was resolved within an hour or so. Sit went well.

The majority of my sits I have arrived the evening prior to the owners leaving. I actually enjoy getting to know them and sharing a meal together. They also have time to show me around and even sometimes come on a walk with dog/dogs prior to departing. Much better than a rushed hour, with owners still busy packing and attempting to tell you things at the same time, or turning up after owners have left, and trying to figiure everything out on your own.

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Whatever works for both parties😊