Talk to me about dates

I was searching for some sitters, no applicants so I thought I would invite some to apply. In the search I choose the dates I need sitters for. I do my search and choose about ten sitters.
I read through their references, and scroll down to the bottom where it says Available Dates, I then send an invite with a description of the place. Over two days, I get declines, one hip surgery and can’t drive for two months, nine say they are already booked then save themselves as a sitter on my account.


  • Are sitters not required to block out their dates they have commitments to?
  • I’m new to the site, so maybe I’m using it incorrectly?

It is frustrating and a waste of my time and theirs by sending and getting a decline due to already booked or even I can’t drive. Thoughts?


@Sanchez I can understand your concern about using the dates to locate a sitter, but keep in mind, it is not a necessary action by sitters to update the calendar. It is there for convenience if they want to use it. We do recommend it’s use but some do not find it necessary and others just forget it is there.

Are you choosing only dates highlighted in green ?

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As I understand it, a sitter is not able to manually block out dates on their calendar. Dates are only blocked out if they book a sit through THS. I also have heard that it is tedious to manually mark dates as available, so many sitters ignore their calendars completely. It’s unfortunate that the calendars aren’t more helpful, but I would say don’t give up and keep contacting people!


Hi @Sanchez , In answer to your first question, sitters are not able to block out dates they are unavailable. I wish we could!

It seems so much more logical to be able to block out unavailable dates, than to add blocks of availability, which we than have to to delete and add again as 2 separate blocks if a commitment comes up in the middle. It is for this reason that many sitters don’t update their calendar.


In two of the cases, yes. There wasn’t a legend so I wasn’t sure what that meant. Most were just white with two people had green. Are the green ones, the ones that are open? I still got a decline but it would be good to know going forward.

Got it. It is frustrating on my side. Maybe it is just me. Thank you.


We may be in the minority as sitters, but I manually update my petsitter availability calendar, whenever I add an event to my personal Google calendar. It’s not as difficult as folks describe, but it does require a few minutes of your time. We’ve received many requests over the last year to sit, after folks have checked our calendar. However, just because it’s green and open, does not always indicate that we are in that part of the country. Unfortunately, it does require a bit of leg work, on the part of the pet owner, to find a sitter, by request. Good luck in your search!

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@Sanchez green is available- white unavailable- struck out is a THS sit …it’s not intuitive and as you say there is no legend/ key - it has been suggested ( many times before )that this would be helpful :woozy_face:

So actually all except 2 of the sitters you contacted had updated their calendar correctly

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Good to know! I was totally going with the white as being available but the dates with slashes through them would be the ones that are not available. No wonder the declined, totally my fault.

It is odd though that on the search screen I put specific dates in the search criteria, and these loaded. I would think those that returned in the search would be the ones that are available, not the ones that are not available. Odd.

I’ll now know what to look for.


You are not the first to think that It has been discussed a lot over the years…

Your question has been discussed on the forum by other frustrated owners. I must admit, I forget to update the calendar here and it isn’t overly user friendly. It’s rare, I think, that you’ll be successful finding available sitters by inviting them but you never know.


Hi @Sanchez We are sitters who rarely update our calender. As others have mentioned it is confusing and unintuitive.
The only dates you can be certain a sitter is unavailable are the ones struck out- which are THS sits. They are struck out automatically when a sit is confirmed.
All the other dates- white or green -indicate the sitter may, or may not, be available. They could have bookings on other sites, holidays away, other private engagements…etc And even if they are technically available they may not be interested in your sit or be in your part if the world at that time.
I can understand that some hosts want to be proactive and invite sitters, especially when not receiving applicants, but its a long shot. We frequently get invitations but find the dates/location/sit details are rarely a match. We’ve only ever been able to accept 2 invitations that just happened to be a perfect fit. But the vast majority of sits we get are those we directly apply for.
We change our location regularly to where we are at the time to discourage hosts on the other side of the world inviting us and having to be disappointed. That helps, but we do still get invitations from other countries or for dates we are already booked through THS- when the calender has not been checked first.
If you do want to invite people the best chance is probably those who’ve favourited you because at least you know they have already seen and liked your listing. And its also nice if you send a short personal note- addressing the sitters by name- to show you’ve looked at their profile. We’ve found that occasionally a personal message has led to a conversation and to agreeing a future sit even if we can’t do the original invited dates.


Like you @Joanne, I also manually update my sitter availability regularly and agree it’s a little time consuming and fiddly. However, by putting in the blocks of my availability, it therefore does show (as white) my unavailability, @Sanchez.
I thought at one time there was a key to say what the green, white and black line through white boxes meant but I can’t see it now so it makes it difficult for owners to know, especially new ones.


I’ve mentioned this before but I find the calendar to be pretty useless since I can’t put where I’m available. I get invited for dates that I’m available, but they are not in the location that I’m available. I was just looking for a sit in England to fill a gap between two other sits there, so I had those dates listed as available but there was no way to indicate that I was looking for a sit in England. I currently have about 10 days open in Oct/Nov in between sits in Washington. I can list those dates, but I can’t indicate that I’m only available to sit in the Pacific Northwest during those dates.

The calendar would be extremely useful if sitters could indicate that we are looking for sits in a specific region for the available dates.


Hi @systaran thanks for your specific feedback and suggestion, we have passed this on to the Team

Has the suggestion of a key or legend for the calendar also be passed on, it’s been suggested many times before ?

I am new to this forum and as a sitter, have left my calendar open as I am semi retired. I’m not sure when I’m going to be working over the next 12 months or on what contracts so it’s hard to put in calendar dates until I have locked in plans either for work or sitting. Family commitments can also play a part in availability, especially when it comes to international sits (location/duration).

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Hi @systaran, there’s no reason why you can’t include it in your introductory paragraph on your profile which is what I have done for this trip to England.

@therealtassiegirl Wishing you a warm welcome to the forum and thank you for contributing to your first topic.
I agree with what you have said, it can be hard to always know your plans so far in advance.
I would like to be able to mark off dates that I am definitely not available as I tend to know those further in advance or with more certainty. It is on the suggestions list!

I look forward to your future contributions :slight_smile: