Product update to avoid overbooking sits

Hi everyone,

We wanted to share the good news that we’ve made a recent update to our platform, that will help prevent the risk of sitters from double booking sits.


  • Previously, sitters could book sits with overlapping dates or multiple sits with the same dates. We’ve put some preventative measures in place to help sitters avoid, either knowingly or not, double booking sits or confirming sits with overlapping dates. In these cases, if a sitter with a confirmed sit attempts to apply for a sit with overlapping dates or the same dates, they’ll now see a message on the listing: ‘You’re busy with another sit’.


Firstly, overbooking sits was already against our member Code of Conduct - so, it’s a bit of an overdue update to our platform!

Double booking sits runs the risk of a sitter leaving a sit early, sitters “shopping around” for another opportunity after already having confirmed a sit, or cancelling at the last minute - and we’ve seen instances of this happening across our platform. Needless to say, this not only puts the welfare of pets at risk but causes undue inconvenience and stress for owners. We hope this update will help to eliminate this risk and make the process of finding a sit/sitter all the more seamless.

Of course, in some cases, the sit may have already been verbally and mutually cancelled by the sitter and owner, but not cancelled on the platform. In these cases, sitters should contact Membership Services to get this resolved as quickly as possible, so they can begin looking for another house sitting opportunity.

We know that many members confirm back-to-back sits, and so to ensure these members are not negatively impacted, sitters will still be able to apply/confirm sits that end and start on the same day.

With this update, pet owners can be confident that the sitter they have booked will not double-book, leaving their pets stranded and without the dedicated care they need. The wellbeing and safety of our members’ pets is always our top priority, and so we believe this change will be a really positive one for all involved - sitters, owners, and of course, the pets!

This will be live as of tomorrow, and we’ll be updating all members on the new update in our next monthly member newsletter, The Trusted Times.


I frequently have sits with date changes that are not officially changed, so the sit dates in THS are not correct. About 50% of the sits I’ve done have had date changes and HOs typically don’t want to be bothered with formally changing the dates. Will I be unable to apply for other sits that appear to overlap but actually don’t?


I totally agree with @systaran, it is still flawed! We’ve had plenty where the dates have differed slightly, and I’m currently talking to an HO for dates that differ slightly to what they posted, as we can not do their actual dates due to other sit commitments, I applied to help to let them because their dates are coming around fast. There needs to be a solution that gives more flexibility. Yes, I can ask them to change their dates (or ask customer support to do it for them) but if I hadn’t have reached out to ‘apply’ to let them know our available dates (which are just a couple of days different) then they may have been stuck. Their needs to be a different solution.


My husband and I sit together and, in the past, have booked sits with overlapping dates. One of us will complete a current sit while the other starts a new sit. Last year we overlapped by almost a week.

We always let everyone know that we will be splitting up to start a new sit and make sure that both sets of people are aware of the situation.

In early 2024 we will be returning to the same area for repeat sits after being invited back by both sets of pet owners. At this point we don’t have overlapping dates but their travel is still in planning stages. If their dates overlap again, what are we to do?


Most of my sits have had date ‘tweaking’. I guess I am going to have to insist that HOs adjust the listing to accurately reflect the dates.


@Carla Trying to understand this new change. Are you saying that if any of the dates overlap other than the start date (day 1) a sitter will not be allowed to apply for a new sit?

If so this creates a problem in cases where (1) an owner comes homes early and the sitter sees another opportunity that will fill in the free days and (2) a sit is nearing the end and another presents/or is offered a day of so before the end date AND the current owner agreeing that AND there are 2 of us, we would like to apply with one of us staying and one moving to the new sit.

In scenario (1) above we had owners decide to come home 4 days early then need to go away again for the last day/night, another fortuitous sit presented for 3 days perfectly and we were able to secure it. Well the owners again changed their mind and didn’t come home until 2 days early so one of us travelled to the new sit, the other stayed put. Please note we were not at all upset about the changes as flexibility is the key. However with the proposed changes this would be impossible?

In scenario (2) the flexibility to us to split with one starting a new sit has been a solution where we had an extended gap after the current sit. Again flexibility and communication between all sides makes this work. Perhaps now impossible to do?


While I understand the good intention of this feature–sitters leaving a sit early to start another sit, or cancelling one for ‘greener pastures’ are a big problem–there are a lot of drawbacks to it.

Sometimes HOs will note flexibility in their dates but if you are already booked for any part of the listed dates you can’t contact them.

There have been times I have been able to help out a homeowner who didn’t have a lot of applicants by covering part of their dates, or they were able change their travel dates. But I can’t inquire about that now since I won’t be able to message them.

If a HO changes their dates, or their dates listed aren’t actually accurate, but is slow to update them, that will interfere with the ability to apply to other sits. Though sometimes this inaccuracy may work in favor now!

As a couple, being able to overlap sits by a day or two–animal care is not suffering at all–has been very helpful at times in avoiding costly gaps in our schedule.

I know they aren’t going to change it, but wanted to add my two cents!


While I very much agree that double booking by single sitters could cause serious issues, this is throwing the baby out with the bath water! My partner and I do what others do…overlap by that extra day on either end in order to avoid gaps.

I have had many HOs, new and experienced alike, who had dates with wiggle room, or could get some coverage from friends/family/local sitters for part of their dates. It’s usually a moving target to figure out all this coordination, and adding the additional hassle of unconfirming me/us as a sitter, re-inviting to the “correct” dates, and going through the whole process again…is bad bad bad UX.


Actually, I wouldn’t have been able to apply for the sit I’m on now in a not very popular area. They had 1 applicant which they felt was unsuitable. I was available all but the last day, so I applied and explained that I’d be interested but would have to leave the day before their listed end date for another sit. They contacted me within minutes of my application and happily arranged for a neighbor to step in the last day and we confirmed the sit within about an hour of my application. This sit would have gone unfilled under this new policy.


Hello everyone :wave:
Thank you for your feedback so far. I am here to help answer any questions I can and for those I need a bit more information I will pass back to the Product team and post the answer here when we know more. Thank you for bearing with us while we collect all of the questions.

@systaran Great start to the thread! It is best if the dates on your dashboard reflect the actual dates of the sit for insurance purposes and to to make sure that you can book sits for the dates you are available. Onwers have a few options on how to change dates before and after the sit is confirmed - this help desk search might help!

@HappyDeb @KC1102 thank you for the feedback about owners that have flexible dates, I will pass that on for you.

@Alice @KC1102 I am sure that this will be a common question regarding couples/families that overlap sits so thank you for asking it.

While we understand that some members operate in this way, and this may have been agreed in advance with the owner in a handful of cases, this isn’t how how product is intended to be used. The negative implications that could arise from allowing sitters to book overlapping sits (i.e. the pets being left stranded) is a risk that we simply couldn’t allow to continue. We’ve had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and ultimately make a decision that continues to protect the wellbeing of pets and benefits the wider community.

@prholst Yes, that’s spot on you won’t be able to apply for any sits that overlap your sit dates apart from the start and end date.

If an owner decides to come home early and cut the sit short, then the current code of conduct must be followed and Membership Services can help end the sit early and change the dates on the platform. I think for all scenarios you would need to make sure that the sit dates are accurately reflected on the site and Membership Services can help do that for you.


That is a great point as it can cause serious issues and pet welfare concerns. While we do everything we can to try and spot this behaviour and take immediate action where necessary, unfortunately - and as our community and number of members continues to grow - it’s no longer feasible to do this on a case-by-case basis, and we really want to make sure that this does not become a widespread issue. In this case, the actions of a small minority impacts us all, and ultimately we need to make the decision that keeps pet welfare and safeguarding our members our top priority.

I hope that I have not missed anyone so far! I will continue to check in with this thread, help you where I can and pass all of your helpful feedback on.

Thank you


1 Like

The obvious, but unpopular, simple solution for couples who are frequently overlapping dates is just to purchase a second TH account. The extra cost would be peanuts compared to what you’re saving on accommodation costs.


@meow … spot on idea

1 Like

It’s too bad we have to find ways to work around ridiculous policies. As I mentioned above the sit I’m on now would have gone unfilled because I would not have been able to apply.

I take back everything I said in another thread about THS being a place for HOs and sitters to connect and work out the details of the mutual exchange themselves. THS has changed and seems to be mostly about micromanaging sitters now.


And link them…how? The reviews won’t port over, there’s no way to easily connect profiles? I guess in the message to a HO you have to link and say “actually I’m part of this couple please see the reviews there?”

I’ll take my grumbling to another platform, but good grief.


Just add the URL of your original profile to the description of your secondary profile.

@Carla We in the same group as @alice and @KC1102 . We take sits as a couple, and solo. Sometimes they overlap. This new policy will prevent us from utilizing THS as we need to and means we will not get the value from your product that we currently enjoy.

You acknowledge this limitation will affect many members, but offer no solution.

Of course the ideal solution would be to allow multiple profiles for members (solo & couple). But THS will not entertain that idea, either.

What can you offer to members that feel these new policies we are seeing reduce the value of membership? Why should we continue as members?


@Carla I’m curious about the need for this. THS seems to be saying this is a big problem. How do they know how often this actually happens? I don’t see how they would have any way of knowing this. There is no data given that overlaps are typically couples or date changes (as I said fully 50% of my sits have had date changes and not a single one was changed in the system). Exactly how did THS determine this is a problem that is happening frequently? My guess would be that this is extremely rare.


Methinks a solution looking for a problem. A number of good points highlighted by members and for us this would become an issue with listings that offer flexibility in terms of timing and would restrict our forward planning significantly.


All I can say is wow.

Instead of dealing with the issue by enforcing your current polices with the few members that may be abusing the exchange, THS choses to penalize a larger number of members that are capable of managing their own calendars.


This is a typical example of a teacher punishing the entire class instead of dealing with the one single student that causes havoc.