The outdoor cameras say something different than the sitter - how to discuss with them?

Dear community

We have outdoor cameras monitoring the property.
We mention it on THS, we mention it in our welcome guide, we mention it in our first video call and we show them when we do a handover. So everything is clear.

We have repeatedly had the situation where the sitters’ information did not match the camera surveillance, e.g. about the time of absence which is important in our case.

Of course that gives you a very bad feeling about trust, but otherwise the sitters are usually very nice.

We are always in a bit of a dilemma as to whether we want to talk about it and thereby endanger the sit or whether we should simply not say anything but therefore of course it is not the best thing for our animal.

What do you think about that?
Are the sitters not aware that we can see every movement outdoor?

Maybe they didn’t think you would be spending your holiday checking on their comings and goings?

What has your investigations turned up that is causing concern?


Hmm, you mentioned that you had cameras but did you tell the sitters that you would be monitoring their every movement as opposed to viewing the footage in the event of a burglary?

I suspect that if your pets need that level of care a paid sitter would be better.


I do cat sits and mostly HOs assure catsitters that they can be out most of the day. (A different world from dogs!) But I’ve always been told when there are ring cameras, and it’s been obvious that there are other outdoor cameras. I think hearing, “We’ll be watching you!” is creepy, but mentioning all the cameras in your welcome guide and on a home tour if you give one video or live would also be appropriate. If a sitter is frankly dumb enough to lie about something when you have easy photograph evidence that they are lying, then that’s on them. And it’s one thing if they say they walked the dog at 1 and it was actually after 2, quite another if it was not at all. I would absolutely bring it up if it was something that was serious and chronic and led to accidents or other issues.


I’d suggest being careful about what you raise and how you do it. Why: You might not be happy with their answers, but it’s also creepy to be watching someone’s comings and goings. Presumably your Ring cameras and such are for monitoring the security of your home and not to monitor your sitters. And if I saw a sitter comment on a host who did that, I’d pass on all sits with that host. So would many sitters. Just because someone knows you have security cameras doesn’t mean they’re agreeing to be monitored.


Sometimes I am absent for a long time, with the dog. Walking, or maybe just in the town, having dinner at a sidewalk café, on the market, having a beer. Cameras would not see that.

I think your answer sounds as if you insinuates that I spend my vacation monitoring sitters, which is of course not true.

Of course, we do not monitor sitters, but, as usual with this camera system, we receive signals on the cell phone when there is movement.

Spying on someone is a camera in the home tracking someone’s movements and/or recording audio with or without that person’s knowledge. Outside cameras which are always on for security are outside cameras that are always on for security. To act like pet parents are doing something nefarioius when they are checking to see how the garden looks or even how the dog is interacting with the sitter as they leave for a walk, is NOT spying on someone – particularly when it’s obvious that there are cameras. If as a sitter, outside cameras are unacceptable to you, you shouldn’t take sits with outside cameras, but to expect a pet parent/homeowner not to check what’s happening outside their house if they have cameras is unrealistic.

Full disclosure: I am a HO in an apartment building. We have cameras in the elevator, lobby and by exits/entrances. I don’t have access to camera footage but it is monitored by building security and can be sent to the police. I also sit and have sat in surburban homes with ring camera and other outdoor cameras. I would expect homeowners – even on vacation – to be occassionally checking to see if that package is really on the porch and maybe sending me a message about it or even noticing if the chairs in the garden got knocked over by the storm and asking if I could check on things. I wouldn’t consider any of that “spying” on me.


@Coclico , As you are asking a general question, I’ll give a general answer, although there may be unknowns that you haven’t included that could change my view or your decision.

As I see it, your sitters are aware that you will be able to see their comings and goings. I am always aware that owners can see me on their outdoor cameras. I get notifications all day long from our own outdoor security cameras. If I had sitters staying at my house, I would probably check them more often than I usually do.

Unless there is gross negligence I don’t think you should say anything. If they said they’d walked the dog from 1-2 PM but it was actually from 2-2:30 PM, it could be that the sitters had not kept exact tabs on their time. As long as your pet had the required attention, I would let it go.

If they had been gone for very long periods of time, much longer than the max length of time you specified was allowed, say 9-10 hours, that’s another story. If you think your pet was still OK, again I don’t think you should bring it up. If you are beside yourself with worry, though, I think you should. You’ll have the opportunity to put this in your review.

@Maggie8K makes a good point. I am aware of a HO who gave a negative review to a sitter based on Ring doorbell monitoring of the sitters comings and goings. This HO lists very frequently and doesn’t appear to have filled any of their listings in almost a year.

We usually have long term sits. The first few times I usually don’t say anything, of course we have some flexibility.

But when it happens again and again and it’s clearly against the agreed rules, I really start to feel uncomfortable.
The question then is how to mention it without escalating the situation.

If you have strict rules about your pet’s routine (walks, meals) and/or about how long your pet can be left alone, it would be a good idea to make it very clear to your future Sitters that the rules are strict, and that you will be getting notifications on your phone when the Sitter leaves and returns.

Basically, you are informing Sitters that you will be monitoring them and expect them to follow the rules strictly.

Some people like rules! Some people do not.


Hi Coclico, I think it would be useful if you gave us more details of the sitter’s absence and your expectations. She was out when an important delivery needed signing for? She took the dog on three mini-walks instead of one longer one? We would be able to offer better suggestions and opinions if we knew exactly what you concern is. @Mars give an excellent general response.

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I actually haven’t said anything yet because it’s never been about extreme dangers as you mentioned.

But that still remains a strange feeling because the information of the sitter doesn’t correspond to reality. (Its not about 13.00 or 14.00 but about beeing away 4 or 7 hours.)

I have been offering sittings for years and actually have the impression that everything is mentioned everywhere and that I am careful with the informations.

The easiest way to not escalate the situation is not to mention it. You’re not really saying what “it” is though but since you’re talking about external cameras I’m going to take a stab at it being the time that they are away from the house? If so what did you agree on with them as to how long they could be away and how ? If they’re not wildly off the agreed times then maybe leave it. If it is a huge time gap and you’re concerned about the care your cat is getting perhaps THS can advise. They aren’t going to be able to make the sitter do anything but I would expect they have dealt with more issue than anyone here and that experience may be invaluable.
If it’s something else then some more details may help get something more concrete

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If you are 2-3 weeks into an 8 week absence from home, you could just send them a “friendly reminder” that you prefer that the Sitter not leave your pet alone for any longer than 4 hours.

For many of our Sits, the Owners tell us that “if there are times that you want/need to be away for more than 4 hours, we have a neighbor/friend/relative/dog walker who can take our pet for a few hours.” That is a really nice compromise.


So here, with a long term sit, I could see how the level of monitoring could be burdensome for sitters. Just like you as a dogowner, might SOMETIMES need to be away for a 7 or 8 hour period – a doctor’s appointment that involves a drive plus some tests, a visit to relative that stretches out, etc. over a long period of time your sitter might have those moments, and if you are monitoring often, I could see that feeling icky to the sitter.

I think with a long term sit, where you emphasize the importance of routines and keeping the dog on track, there should also be some Plan B for the sitter – a neighbor who can very occassionally take the dog for a walk. A local doggie day care where the dog can be left if the sitter has a busy day. Even a professional walker who can stop by. With you agreeing to venmo payment for those services when notified and some discussion of limits, then your sitter is less likely to leave your dog over long periods of time.

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So I can determine that the OP’s concern is “the time of absence which is important in our case”. Others have asked for clarifying information that hasn’t been clearly stated.

  1. What length of away time did you tell sitter was the maximum?
  2. What length of time are they actually gone?
  3. Are the pet(s) missing a scheduled treatment/medication? (just trying to get a sense of why you stated “important in our case”)
  4. BTW what are the pets? Cats, dogs? Could influence responses


As an experienced HS I would say that sometimes it’s really annoying and disrespectful when the HO is spying on you on cameras.
I totally understand that all houses should have cameras in front and back, but I won’t appreciate if the HO uses it to check all my movements, when I leave and come back, because then it’s a boss employee relationships rather than win-win situation.
If you had said to Hs about strict timing and how long the pet can be alone and they agree - then it’s the other question, but still.
Being under watching control is not pleasant at all.


Somes examples:

  • The agreement is not to be out of the house for more than four to five hours and the reality is 7 to 8 hours every day.

  • The agreement was that there would be no visitors and suddenly another person shows up and goes into the house for three days.

  • The agreement is to water and it is simply not done at all.

The plants have died once, but my animal has never been in danger.