Sitters not reading info

As a HO I have a basic THS welcome guide plus a physical house manual at the house and then a detailed feeding/care write-up so PS doesn’t have to guess how to do things. I send the last item to that Housesitter within a week before they arrive. Lately I have found they haven’t read the write up until they arrive!
Also, I am direct about wanting pics & short updates every few days but I most always have to ask for them! I don’t want to demand but how do I get across these requests which seem pretty easy for petsitter to do?

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Include it in the listing at the top of the Responsibilities.

Hi @EASTBAYCA - Also a HO here, and I agree with you. I find that often they don’t even read the welcome guide and also have to ask for updates. I also don’t like asking every morning and evening on how my dog is doing, or reminding them that he needs to go out every 4-5 hours (3 times a day).
I think it helps if during the handoff before you left, you ask if they could please send you updates at specific times or remind them if it’s already been asked in the welcome guide. I ask them morning after his first walk and evening; I also ask them to not be shy to spam me with photos of my dog. I’ve learned that some sitters are better about communication/updates than others, everyone is different and has a different priority order in their mind. So sometimes I try to bend my expectations with every sitter- If I trust them, then surely my dog is in good hands.

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Do you make these expectations very clear both in your listing and in a call before mutually agreeing on the sit?

I learned to ask PPs now what their communication preferences are. As this subject has come up a lot here, clearly it’s best not to assume as people do have different ideas/preferences.

Yours would be in micro-management territory for me, particularly as I work a full-time job.


Yes - how often my dog needs to be walked I listed in the sitters responsibilities of my listing, welcome guide and we also discuss in our call. How often I need to hear is also discussed in our call, and it’s in the welcome guide. If you read the last part of my reply you’ll see that I also bend these expectations - I don’t make a big deal if I don’t hear mornings or evenings. How is that micro managing?

Edit: forgot to add that when I say remind them is because they ask me how often I walk him because he is very clear of when he needs to go out. Most adult dogs are in a routine/schedule.

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See now I’m a confused sitter. And there’s no need to be defensive. You want a lot of communication; as long as the sitter agrees to and is OK with that, there’s no problem. My preference is for PPs to trust me to be a responsible, mature adult and I am happy to provide daily photos and a daily “all OK” text if requested ahead of time. Similarly, I like PPs to be accessible should I need to know something or have an issue but I want them to enjoy their time away too and don’t wish to “bug” them.

@EASTBAYCA , I typically send a couple updates per day for the first and second days of the sit. After that I take my cue from the pet owner. If they don’t respond (just a reaction is enough) to my pics and texts, I assume they don’t want to receive them that frequently. After the first couple of days, I send one per day unless the owner indicates otherwise.

Besides covering update frequency in your listing under responsibilities, also discuss it in your phone/video call.

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Hi @wendy_chicago Do you mean you expect updates morning AND evening every day i.e twice a day? That would be a bit much for us- except perhaps for the first day. When we’re on short sits we update every day in the evening- pics & any anecdotes of the day. On longer sits we ask how often- & its usually every 2/3 days. But we don’t need prompting. We will always update regularly & according to hosts requests.
If we’re doing back to back sits we may not read the welcome guide till arriving on the sit, or the night before, as we’ll be busy with the other sit! But if we’re doing a face to face handover that will usually include a quick run through of everything & I’ll read up later. If no personal handover I’ll have a quick run through before arrival especially everything pet related!
We always ask for a hard copy of the WG/equivilant to be at the home for on-sit reference.
This system has always worked great for us up to now!


I read @wendy_chicago 's post to mean she is asking that often because she isn’t getting any updates. That if she were getting updates, say daily (or whatever), there would be no requests

Your reply appeared like you chose to read a part of paragraph and not what I said at the end. I’ve had different experiences with different sitters (I’ve been very dissapointed and let down before,). I don’t like to have to reach out to sitters. I understand they have jobs and their own lives, but at least for the first day or two (specially a weekend, so I know the sitter is not working) would be nice to know he’s doing okay and not being left alone all day or overnight as I’ve had that bad experience in the past.

Mars, I discuss in conversation & in person if I get a chance to meet them. As for updates, no I don’t like to micromanage, but when I ask for updates and the response Is that everybody’s doing good that’s not the best reassurance IMO.
PS said she had a heavy workload all week—then I got a 6 sec video of my dog standing? I get that petsitters have jobs but it’s also their responsibility to care for our animals. Taking 5-10 min every couple days to send an update unreasonable?


It is nice (and my preferences) to receive two updates a day daily, as well as pictures. It is what I would hope to receive but I also understand when people are working from home or are caught up with other things (I’m also doing other things while I’m away!). And it is okay if sometimes I only get one update after a few days, but as you say… in the first day or two, it’s good to provide more updates. For the most part, I have had no issues with sitters doing this but as of lately it seems like everyone is either forgetting/not listening or paying attention and not reading the listings/welcome guide thoroughly.

Sure, a full update describing how things are going takes a minute or two (longer if anything strange has happened), but It takes like 30 seconds to send a photo or video. Especially on a walk!

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I don’t expect the same paragraph or updates that I get from my dog walker (who I’m paying and it’s her job), but just a quick line that my dog is doing okay.

Personally, I’ll send multiple updates a day even on long sits if that’s what the owners like. I enjoy doing it.


I send multiple updates every day if that’s what the HOs enjoy. I’ve had some that are hands off. I take a crapload of photos of the pets anyway, because I enjoy them. If you looked at my camera roll, you might think they were my critters, LOL.

I telecommute from sits and take care of the pets. If I couldn’t spare time for such updates, I’d be considering whether I’m overworked at my actual job and I wouldn’t take sits.


I found that a lot of sitters frustratingly do not read the home guide and this can lead to serious issues. Perhaps it would be useful to have something like Read receipts so that you can ensure sitters see they’ve received it and open it. If they haven’t, it is a reminder to remind them.

@kaylarose do you leave a print out of your welcome guide at your home? We always request that. The online version is good to send ahead incase there are questions pre-sit. But a hard copy is better for once the sitter us there- for quick and easy reference during the sit.


You can try to require things, but the problem is, some people can be irresponsible regardless. It’s like when they make laws — they’re typically for people who don’t have natural consciences, unfortunately. Like no one needs to force me or other good sitters to read. We do it because it’s in our interest and the HOs and pets, because we aim to do right by them. People who are irresponsible — if you force read receipts — still aren’t likely to read. They’ll do what it takes to look like they read. What you want to do is learn to vet sitters. And if that’s not possible or compelling, THS probably isn’t the best option for you. To be frank, there’s greater built-in risk with volunteers.

This is very true. It’s an unrelated story to the main topic here, but it still applies to what you’re describing. I live in a 3-condo building (2/3 are owner occupied), and one of them got rented out recently by the owner doing a residency program in TX for an entire year. The renters do not care to follow the HOA bylaws, and it’s been a complete fiasco. They have the rules, and they signed a lease (with the HOA bylaws) - they keep disrespecting the rules. One of the renters has a reactive and territorial dog, and she walks him without a leash and lets him run around in common areas, so I can’t even take my little dog to the backyard anymore, which is fine because he prefers walking outside anyway.

I think that printing out a simple and easy-to-follow guide can be helpful. A good sitter relies on intuition, and they may not require a handbook of rules and instructions. However, new or inexperienced sitters, might benefit from having a printed copy as a reminder of practices they aren’t accustomed to following in their own homes, such as the “no shoes in the house” rule.