SO many unsuitable applicants

Hi All,

My first sitting is live and it’s not going well. I got several applications and messages, but the the experience has not been pleasant. We did a virtual meet n greet with 7 applicants. 2 of them said they’ll bring their partners or kids (undisclosed in their profile). I declined because my dog has never been around kids, especially babies and toddlers. 1 person asked for a week to decide, another person said she plans to work as a night nanny for a couple nearby and “sleep all day,” another sitter said that he has never sat for a dog, only cats, another person asked if we they could use our car for 500 miles of exploring and travel and the final applicant wanted is in his 70’s and told us that his main reason for sitting was to be near his grown kids and he lacks the physical strength to take care of our dog, but maybe “he’ll be fine with fetch in the yard.”

It’s been a week and I am surprised at the lack of sitters. Feel free to check out my listing and provide any feedback as to why I am not attracting quality sitters.


Hi Sonil,
I’m sure you’ll find the right petsitter the requirements of the petsitters who have contacted you are incredible!! Your dog is adorable!
your listing is ok.
Good luck

I looked at your listing (from the perspective of another homeowner) and it looks like a lovely stay. Chai looks very sweet and goldens have a reputation for being especially friendly and gentle (and great with kids), so it doesn’t surprise me that you’d attract some sitters who are looking for an easy dog!

I personally don’t think a sitter traveling with an unlisted partner or friend is a big deal, as long as they disclose it upfront. Some will bring their partner on the video call, or in the case of friends I’ll ask for a short description about who they are and basically make sure they’re also responsible adults who will respect my house/dog. I make sure the listed sitter is the primary caretaker, and that it’s understood that the listed sitter is responsible for their friend.

Some things that might help pre-filter applicants:

  • Indicating that your listing isn’t suitable for young kids or inexperienced sitters. This could go up top in your intro section. It seems redundant since THS added the family-friendly tag, but not everyone will see a lack of tag as a hard ‘no’.
  • Describing Chai’s daily schedule a little more in the Responsibilities section (aka your expectation that the sitter would actually walk him, not leave for more than X hours per day to go on a 500 mile road trip, and not sleep all day!)

But at the end of the day, I think HOs will always get at least a few applicants who aren’t reading closely or are applying even though they aren’t quite suited to the sit. On my listing (also linked in my profile) I am very specific about my reactive dog’s needs up front-- no kids, no pets-- and I still get applicants who ask to bring young children or their own dogs. Putting more information about your expectations will hopefully help, but there is no helping people who don’t read any of it.

Good luck!


So sorry for your experience. I looked at your listing. It looks great. Maybe include some photos of Menlo Park and the area to give people a feel for your neighborhood vibe that aren’t familiar. I hope you find someone suitable for Chai!


There are probably a couple things going on here. One is that the five applicant rule means people are rushing to submit applications without reading the whole profile.

Another one may be that you are getting inundated with applicants who are seeing the recent articles in the news and online that say that this is a free vacation.

Those of us who have been sitting for a while, we know it’s actually a bit of work and a huge obligation to care for someone else’s home and pets.

Finally, it is relatively short notice, so the sitters who have more experience are likely already engaged with another homeowner.

Fortunately, you can just keep rejecting people that you don’t like, and eventually the “cream will rise to the top” as they say!

I’m wondering, are you giving people reasons why they are being declined? And I also think it’s a good idea to include some of those reasons as qualifiers in your listing… And hopefully someone will take the time to read before applying!


Hi @Soni1,
I think you’ve received some excellent advice already but I would like to add my two cents as someone that has used THS as the sole care for our dog when we got out of town.

We like to post our listings that are one to two weeks in length about two months before our departure so that sitters that are interested and looking have enough time to plan accordingly. I also find that we get the best sitters when we post our dates 2-3months before. For holiday dates I post 4-6months before our departure or I connect with one of our top previous sitters to see if they would be available and then plan our travel around their availability.

As you might have found by now scheduling and having the video calls can take quite some time. What I have found most efficient use of everyones time in finding the right sitter is after they have sent the application I then respond as soon as I can with a quick follow up that includes a few questions (these questions depend heavily on what they have written in their application) to make sure the sitter has read our entire profile (it has become a more regular occurrence for many of our applicants to not have read our profile.)
Follow up questions before scheduling an interview might include:
Are you able to stick to our dogs feeding and walking schedule? We live at the top of a steep hill, would you feel comfortable taking him on a minimum 45min. walks twice a day?
Would you be physically able to lift a 40lb dog into a car if necessary?
Would you be sitting solo or with the partner you mention? (only asked if this applies)
Can you commit to not leaving our dog any longer than outlined in our profile?
Are you wanting to use our car? How much/how far would you anticipate on driving it?
Are you wanting to have any guests over during the sit? If so, for how long and what is their experience with dogs?

Depending on how some of those questions are answered then we would ask to video call and have anyone that would be considered a “sitter” in our home on the call. We’ve had families sit for us before so we don’t request to meet the children unless the children want to meet us - sometimes the children really want to meet our dog so of course we oblige :smile:.


Oh bless, don’t give up, there are lots of great sitters out there. Wow you did virtual meet & greet’s too, that’s impressive. Mind I love that as it shows you want your “Fury family” to have a relaxing, calm and happy “staycation” it’s good that you know what their intentions were upfront as you clearly sound like you need a person/couple to sit who are happy to do a little exploring nearby however spend nights snuggled up on the Sofa and go for Walks each day. You must be a in a really desirable area to have a variety of sitters apply.
I can only suggest you maybe change your listing so that sitters can see straight up
(Sorry no Children, looking for a Single/Couple sitter, working from home, home body) sitters can then scroll by (fingers crossed)
I will be honest I have applied for sits where it didn’t say no Children in the listing or and was not listed as Family Friendly and we have done repeat sits for them, my Two were 12/13yy when we first started sitting (not typical teens at all, ASD and needing quiet, calm space and home bodies) now 16&17yy nothing has changed, we typically look for big old farm houses out in the middle of no where (my Car is needed) where they can walk for Miles and Miles with the Dog(s) just exploring and enjoying the time the Dogs.
Sorry I got off track there, maybe you want to search for local sitters then narrow it down to Solo if you can, you might find there is a fairly local sitter who works from Home or mostly who can meet your needs, clearly not a shift worker.
Hang in there, wishing you all the best.
Amanda and Family


I have seen a shift in the type of applicants over the last couple of years. Previously they were almost all backpackers or grey nomads who were traveling and housesitting as an alternative to hotels or BnBs. Now I’m seeing people who live, or want to live, in the area and are looking for an alternative to rental accommodation as they continue with their jobs and hobbies. Like you, Sonil, I had one application that explained that it wasn’t just her but her partner, three children, and a dog that would be coming.

I turned down all applicants for my last sit.


I disagree with you about the bi-weekly cleaner and landscaper. I would be very happy for a professional cleaner to continue cleaning twice a week, and the landscaper wouldn’t worry me at all. These people won’t be staying in the house which is against THS policy. As to the cleaner and landscaper continuing their work, that would be a discussion between the owner and sitter.


Hi @Soni1
I’m sorry to hear about your applicants. Not sure why the gentleman in his 70s applied if he can’t commit to walking Chai, who looks adorable (I love Goldies). Were there any other issues with the man who had only looked after cats before? He has to start somewhere with dogs and a Golden Retriever would be a good start.
Others have given plenty of advice. Your home and Chai look wonderful & I’d jump at it if I were in the US.
One thing you’ve left out, which sitters need to know, is how long can Chai be left for. I also agree, put pics of Chai first.
Let us know how you get on please


I totally agree @Smiley, if someone hasn’t sat dogs before, a Golden is the perfect entry level breed. They are temperamentally so easy to get along with.


Wow, you’ve had quite a run with unsuitable sitters! Keep rejecting them because due to the 5 application rule, it might well that there’s very willing and suitable experienced sitters out there who simply can’t apply because the listing automatically closes after the first 5 people rush in to submit their application.

Due to the hurry to be amidst the first 5, it could be as already mentioned, that those people didn’t really take the time to read your profile or are quite new and don’t fully understand/appreciate the THS concept. I’m sure for instance that as a very experienced sitter, there’s lots of sits that I completely miss out on because I don’t spend enough time online on the website to rush in with the first 5 applications. So yes, main advice: keep rejecting unsuitable applications & keep all fingers crossed that THS will finally reconsider the disliked 5 application limit rule.


@Soni1 That’s really unlucky to get so many poorly suited applicants! It should not be necessary at all to ‘meet & greet’ 7 applicants! Its best to filter out your 1,2&3 and schedule call with no.1 & if not suitable decline them & arrange call with no.2 etc until you find the right one.
Those who only mention bringing husband/friends/kids during a call are unfairly putting you on the spot. They have also obviously not read the THS t&c.
It states that any extra person they want to bring on the sit should be mentioned in the profile with pictures & some details about them.
E.g i am the main account holder but my husband is included in the profile and all info is about us and the application and reviews are all about us. In the unlikely event either if us were to sit alone we’d state that in the application fir that particular sit.
Same goes for someone who usually sits alone but for a particular sit wants to bring husband/children/friends- this should be clearly stated in the application. And all potential sit companions should be mentioned somewhere in the profile.
At least that is my understanding!


Some challenges with this sit, which make it harder to attract great sitters:

• There are many sits available in the Bay Area, including ones closer to (or in) San Francisco, which is typically the big draw. It would take considerable time to commute to most touristy places from Menlo Park, which limits the candidate pool. (I say that, having lived in the Bay Area and knowing how terrible traffic is.)

• A sitter would likely need a car for such a sit, which cost wise also would limit the candidate pool.

• Most good, experienced sitters are booked far in advance. Many are booked for the rest of the year. Personally, I don’t like to book far out and I’ve already booked through the end of October and don’t plan to take any holiday sits, for example, so I’m effectively done for the year.

• These HOs don’t have any reviews. That can turn away good sitters, who have the most optionality when it comes to sits.


The listing says that it is walking distance to downtown Palo Alto. There is public transport in the area.

I would love to go back there and spend some time there again (but I live in Europe now).

I always ask if they have cleaners, gardeners, pool cleaners etc, they are all usually self employed and unless they are having a holiday at the same time as the HO, being S/E I understand, our Work comes via Word of Mouth and is not usually the same Jobs repeated, however I understand from many friends who are S/E in these fields and it can make a huge difference to them, sometimes the HO doesn’t think about that, the ones who can afford it, will have them still come unless the S/E person says they to not come.
We are fine for them to continue as usual, if it’s the Cleaners we say “Hi” and pop out for the few hours, if its outside the Home, we make them a cuppa as the HO usually would and let them get on with it.
We do the same with Dog Walkers, some HO have Dog Walkers (2-4 walks a week) I encourage them to keep up at least 1 dog walk during the sit (training, the friends the Dog(s) have on their walks with their Dog Walker (Dog Walkers usually have about 6 Dogs, they play and have a great old time) and again the Self Employed side of it also.
On most sits we have the Cleaners, Gardeners etc on them while they are away.


They are just the happiest Dogs.

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For me, sitting alone, it’s nice to have these people pop by and have a chat. I can also find out useful information about the area


Wow, I’d feel a bit shocked and a wee bit worried, they wouldn’t vacate when we got home again. Maybe they are unable to secure a short term rental so they are trying HS? a Whole family with the Dog is a bit of an ask, mind you there might HO are okay with this. I know lots of sitters who take their Kids and Dogs along to sits, however they are not looking to live or live in the Area’s, they are just wanting a change of location, somewhere new to explore.
Wishing you all the best for suitable sitters.

Agree the 5 applicant rule is brutal, I get it, however I have never been quick enough to apply for a sit even with notifications on?

It is not a free vacation/holiday, if that’s what you want go to a resort, hotel etc. Our first priority is the Pets, the Home, the Location, then us.

It’s quite stressful especially with Doggos, Dog theft, Neighbours who don’t like Dogs, the suitable places to Walk etc, we do mostly rural sits where Doggos are off lead and can run around the fields and zoom and get a good few miles Walks each day, however you are always aware, it’s not your Doggo, where is it, put it on lead back near Roads, if it is out in the Garden, making sure it is.

Then the HO property, making sure it is all safe and looked after, eg a bad storm, checking the property and fences to make sure no tree’s came down etc, cleaning up after Pets and keeping the Home clean and tidy, taking in parcels etc.

We have a sit where they don’t lock the Doors or Windows, I asked where the Keys are, they had to have a good look for them, they don’t lock to the Doors when they go out, go to Bed, they leave the Keys to the Cars and 4x4’s in them. I just can’t, I would be so upset if something happened while we were trusted to look after their Pets and Home.
I’m an ex Aussie, you lock your Doors & Windows unless you live on a remote farm on a few hundred hectares! lol.
Happy Sitting