Seeking tips as first time users of the site

Hi,
We are new to the site and just posted our first sit. Can anyone give any advice on what to do, not do…how to pick a sitter, etc. Our first time away from our dog will be for one week. Ideally, we’d like the person to come meet her the day before. She doesn’t warm quickly to people and will bark and defend her home from strangers.
Thanks!

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mmdt
welcome. A number of the sits that I’ve done, I’ve arrived the day before to meet the animals and settle in. In 2 cases, the HOs put me up for the night in a nearby hotel (once because they felt the house was too hectic when they were packing, another time because of covid concerns). Most times, I’ve just taken the guest room for the extra day.
tom

We have a small farm and a senior kitty so for our first sit thru THS I picked someone fairly local. She came the week before and we did the “meet and greet” and had lunch here together so when the sit came around we didn’t need to overlap. In a few weeks we leave for a three month road trip and our sitter will arrive the day before because there’s a lot to go over for such a long sit and I want him to spend time with us and our kitty together. He lives/travels in his camper so he may stay in there overnight, but maybe he’ll stay in the guest room. Either way, if you need your sitter to meet the dog ahead of time then local-ish is likely your best bet.

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A big welcome @mmdt to both TrustedHousesitters and our community forum! I’m sure you’ll get lots of tips and feedback from our members here to help you get started and pick the best sitter for you, but a big key to that success is communication… lots of it :slight_smile: Ask all the questions you need to and trust your instincts.

It’s quite normal to have a “handover” before a sit, especially with dogs. As sitters ourselves, we do this whenever we can, as we’ve seen many dogs benefit from us being accepted into the owner’s home and their space. We like to all go on a walk together too if possible.

Covid has made these handovers a little harder to organise in some cases, but a meet and greet could work. So my main tip would be to communicate well with your applicants, let them know why you think a handover or meet and greet is right for you and your dog, and have a phone chat or video call to talk this through before acceptance.

TrustedHousesitters also has a blog full of helpful tips for members, and a section specifically for owners. Here’s one that might help you initially:

We look forward to following your journey here, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us on the team if you have more questions or need help. Have a lovely day, Vanessa

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I agree with @Shafofo but I’ll also add to listen to your gut instinct if someone doesn’t seem like a good fit. If your chosen sitter can’t visit in person for a preview, then I’d suggest at least a video chat. Most successful sits need a comfort level with the humans, as well as the pets. I’d be concerned about sitters who focus on why they want to visit the area. Your main concern is for your pet and your home, and they should be focussing on that when they speak with you. I hope all goes well, and enjoy your travels.

Hello mmdt welcome,

Sitters will adapt to your situation whatever it is.

I did a last minute sit for a gentleman that had just moved into his house from overseas. The cupboards were bare… Really bare; no plates, no cutlery and no food. For for the best part no furniture either. I had a bed, a couch and a sack of dried dog food leaning against the wall.
I met the dog, a big military German shepherd, the day before and learned that she was a. Dominant and b. Food driven.

I arrived in the middle of the night the next day 04.45am with the owner panicking mildly and the dog barking. I had him put her on a leash and told him to give me the house keys and the dog and just go. (He had a flight to catch)
Then we hiked and hiked the local trails and got to know each other. I sent some pictures to dad on WhatsApp and went back to the house. Breakfast was served by hand one nugget at a time and she learned to respect me and be gentle. I had brought my own coffee.
By the time I left a week or so later Denali would enter a room ahead of me and check it for danger then come back and ‘allow’ me in. She even did this with the shower cubicle and bed. She was military trained and just did it if her own accord.
And yes I’m a grown up. I drove to the supermarket and bought some food and utensils.
As a sitter answering a last minute call for help I did what I could to make it easy for the owner. It wasn’t his fault that the military sent him away at short notice just after he landed in country and he needed help. Moreover, his dog needed caring for by someone she wouldn’t bully.
Sitters adapt to the situation and answer your needs.
I have enjoyed all my sits but this one was the most rewarding of them all.

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Thank you everyone for your tips. We have had one applicant respond to our sit request. He is local, which is good and was very willing to come and meet us and our dog. However, he is also new to the site so has no reviews. I had a look at his profile and he is only email and phone verified, nothing else. Would it be inappropriate for me to ask him to get further TH verifications. Is it possible for him to do this if he hasn’t had a sit yet. Also, why would a local person what to sit?
Thanks for your advice

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Keep in mind your hesitation that he doesn’t have any reviews yet - that’s why he will likely want to do this sit. He needs to get established. Also, by doing a local sit he would hopefully have local backup (family/friends) to feel comfortable asking questions, if he was uncertain. This is common for someone to first do a local sit.

You may want to ask him why he has not requested references from any outside sources. That might concern me a little as I would want someone who is assertive, to make sure they can handle any unusual situations. If you meet with him beforehand, ask the questions that are important to you. Also ask why he hasn’t done any other verifications. Then decide, based on his answers. You also don’t have to decide while he’s there. You can tell him that you’d like to discuss it first, before making a decision.

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Quite simply as a sitter one does local sits in exchange for appropriate feedback. Two or three of these will build the background and trust needed to apply for those further away.
I hope this helps.

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Julia thank you for sharing your experience and the photo of that extraordinary dog.

Your account of this sit from start to end comes straight from the heart, showing empathy and appreciation for the owner’s circumstances and obvious love, care and understanding of his beloved companion, a true account of a pet being safe and happy at home and an owner given absolute peace of mind.

Thank you :dog: :slightly_smiling_face:

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Angela thank you.
Denali was an incredible dog and still holds a very special place in my heart :two_hearts:

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Hi Vanessa,
I have another question: 3 sitters have approached me. I have written to each one. One, I told that we were going with someone else and would consider him in the future, another we are currently in direct conversation with, and the third, I told him that we probably have someone but would like to use him for back up if that’s ok. I didn’t check the accept/decline button on any of the three. It seemed so final and kind of mean. I know that’s silly…but, when should I click the button?

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Click the button as soon as possible mmdt.

It’s not being mean it’s freeing your potential/non potential sitter to make further choices and either apply for other sits or begin to make plans to come to you.

I would never apply for a second sit unless I had been categorically refused the one that I have already applied for. The sooner you make the decision the sooner your sitters can move on.

I hope this eases the weight of responsibility somewhat.

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Hi there. Firstly very happy you’ve had a good response to your house sit - that’s great to hear. In terms of your question, if you’ve confirmed your sitter as definite, and they’ve accepted, then as @Julia says, that’s the time to hit the button.

The fact that you’ve messaged each sitter will really be appreciated but declining them clears down the sit request on their account.

That said, if you’ve “accepted” the sitters you want, I believe that might also automatically trigger a declined message. @Angela-CommunityManager will be able to confirm that for us both.

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@mmdt brilliant news that you have had a good response to your listing, a sign that you did a great job on creating your listing and thank you for responding to all applicants, sitters do plan their sitting travels (often with military precision) and knowing their application status for sits is a great benefit for their onward plans.

@Vanessa-Admin Once an owner confirms a sitter all other applicants receive notification which prompts them to apply for other sits …

Thank you again.

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Hi,
We’ve been sitting since 2016 and have completed over 50 sits. We often find New people to THS pick us because we are experienced. In our early days people who had had lots of sitters gave us a chance. Thank you.
As you are a new member to THS I would suggest either go for an experienced sitter where you can read their reviews or a local sitter where you can meet them first.
There are many many many wonderful sitters on this site.

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When picking a sitter I would definitely check their reviews. You can interview your top picks by Zoom or FaceTime and go over each other’s expectations and feel them out. Go with your instinct and remember TRustedHousesitters.com is a reliable place to find good sitters. I would also Google and check them
out on Facebook.
As a sitter I have been asked a few times to come a day to a few days in advance to learn a certain routine or to allow the dog to get use to me. Don’t be surprised if your dog seems unruly and don’t judge the sitter. Often the dogs will be over excited or aggressive because they are not use to being with you and others at the same time. I had a situation where the owners were so embarrassed by their dogs behaviour during the day of introduction. I even thought, ohhow am I going to get through 4 days of this dog?. But you know what, when his people left he calmed right down and settled in with me like we where old pals. Lastly remember dogs a social animals and love routine. If you go over your pet’s eating schedule, favourite play toy and times of play, how they liked to be handled or touched, where, when, how long they like to sleep & if they have any quirky characteristics or fears, your pet will probably enjoy any one of the experienced sitters.

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As a sitter, one thing I really appreciate receiving in advance is the welcome guide - either via THS or just emailed to me.

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Yes, Annette, that makes sense. I’ve made one, and also planning to meet the sitter first and give them an in person walk through.

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Hi @DrSandra welcome to our community forum and thank you for joining in this great conversation, members helping members and your contribution is great insight into your experiences and will no doubt resonate with other members too.

We look forward to hearing more from you and sharing in your TrustedHousesitters journey. Enjoy the conversations and connecting with members from around the world.

Angela and the Team