THS Etiquette

Hi all,

We have recently joined THS and were full of excitement at the prospects of spending time with some lovely pets. Our experience so far however has been incredibly disappointing and I’m trying to understand why.

So far we have been continually automatically declined. Some immediately without any interaction - which I can actually understand - but, some have kept us hanging on, literally for weeks, dragging out the email conversation while they apparently travel on holiday, come back and have busy periods and then when we are due to speak just send an automated ‘decline’ after we have waited patiently and politely for them to supply a suitable time to speak.

I’m really quite dumbfounded by the way these interactions have gone. We are always patient, polite and accommodating. We put effort in to our correspondence and our interactions so to just be hit with an automated notice after weeks of interaction is incredibly disheartening. A simple, “sorry we’ve gone with someone else, thanks for applying” would suffice, yet this seems to not be the way things happen here. Is this just us or is this commonplace?

I’m now thinking this site was a waste of time and is actually just a massive scam. Can anyone advise ?


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Hi @HandA and welcome!
I can assure you that it’s not a scam as we joined a little over a year ago and have traveled the world full time mostly pet sitting. I think we are on sit number 18 with 10 more scheduled through next summer.
I’m sorry that you are not having good luck so far. It sounds like you’re doing the basic things right by providing personalized applications and hope you have better success. We all started somewhere and someone had to give us our first chance. I’m not sure what and where you’re looking but the advice mostly given is to try locally for short notice sits or at popular times(like holidays). Although we didn’t do that and had a great deal of success, it seems like it’s a good first step. After getting reviews, it seems to be easier to get sits but all of us get rejected. The most frustrating ones are the ones who don’t respond or it drags out. Don’t be afraid to apply for multiple sits at the same time as it’s highly unlikely you’ll have more than one respond positively at the same time. Don’t forget to withdraw your other applications that overlap when you do get accepted.
Others will add how to add your profile to your name here so that can help as others can give you feedback on your profile that might help.
Having experience with pets that you can talk about, your travel plans and a little about yourself so the HO will feel comfortable with you can make your first sit easier to get.
Good luck!
Dan and Nan


It’s not a scam. I joined in May 2022 and I have done more than 30 sits. Try shorter sits close to you to start with, and listings that don’t have many applications. Most pet owners prefer sitters with reviews, but there are also many who are prepared to give newbies a chance.
Do you have photos with animals in your profile? Do you talk about your animal experience when you apply?
The first sit I got accepted for was with a budgie, and I got it because I owned budgies as a teenager and I had experience with them, unlike most other pet sitters. Try to find something that makes you stand out.
And, important, don’t feel like you need to accept just about anything. Some owners here are very cheeky and take advantage. Make sure you have a clear picture of the responsibilities involved, before you commit.

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Definitely not a scam @HandA . Perhaps a few members can give you some tips with your profile if you link it to the forum? You can also use the spyglass as there are lots of helpful threads on securing your first sit. As @andrealovesanimals & @Danandnan say - try close to home, ones with low applications, those that seem closest to your profile and with animals you have experience with and am sure it will work for you. Make sure you have a great profile, you with animals, external references and apply for multiple sits, don’t just wait for one to come through as it can waste a lot of time. Best of luck :raised_hands:t3:

Hi thanks for your response. We do have experience with pets, quite extensive experience. We do have photos of pets we’ve sat (before THS) and we’ve applied for different types of sits. My issue is not that we don’t get the opportunities, so much as it is the conduct of people we are speaking with. I totally expect to not be right for some people just as they would not be right for us. My issue lies in being strung along continuously (sometimes for weeks with email conversations) to then be ‘declined’ automatically every time without ever actually getting to the ‘interview’ stage.

@HandA that honestly sounds unusual to be strung along like that. It happens but very very rarely. I think you may have been really unlucky from the sound of it. Start locally and build those reviews, it takes time,effort and sometimes distress, even for those of us who have been on for years. Don’t hang out that long with one HO, if they don’t accept you within a few days or a week, move on, plenty more fish in the sea worth catching if you have the right bait :wink:. Good luck, it’s worth it eventually.


Stick with it. We have had some HOs ghost us but the vast majority have been wonderful and now we have seven sits under our belt and several more booked. We are loving every moment.

Welcome @HandA - if you are available to sit over the festive period I am sure it won’t be too long before you get accepted for a sit. There are always far more listings than sitters during the peak holiday periods.
The ‘interview’ you mentioned is an opportunity for homeowners and sitters to ask any necessary questions that have not been covered in the homeowner listing or sitter profile.
When invitations come along don’t be tempted to accept anything that is not a good fit.
Use the spyglass at the top of the page to search other threads on the same topic.
Good Luck


Welcome the community @HandA I have to be honest with you here as a “somewhat new” member of the THS community, it can be downright DIFFICULT to lock in your first sit. It was especially rough for me . I too was not expecting to be ghosted by HO’s & Pet owners . I’ve had many folks READ yet simply not respond to well thought out, personalized applications . It’s very disheartening but remember you can simply take your power back by withdrawing your application if you’re feeling looked-over or ignored, don’t keep hanging on. I’d recommend that you Try doing local sits first so you can build up your experience , then apply to out of town /more sought after sits. Sitting can get quite competitive so apply for MULTIPLE listings and don’t get your heart SET on any as you never know what’s on the other end . Read through the forum. Get familiar with the pain points for both sitters & owners. I agree with those who say they’ve had some excellent sits, some even positively life changing. But let’s be real here guys . Sitting is not a walk in the park . Best of luck to you ! Keep going !


If you apply to enough sits, you will come across some lovely pet parents who decline with a nice message. But yes, it does feel a bit disappointing when your waiting a long time for an response and an auto decline shows up in the inbox

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I agree with this. Those people who are keeping you hanging on are rude and or lazy (and therefore probably not the kind of people you want to sit for anyway!). Give them a fair chance and then withdraw your application. Move your (valuable) attention and efforts elsewhere.


@HandA welcome! THS is definitely not a scam. If you use the spy glass at the top here and search “new sitter” or “sitter starting out” you will get lots of useful tips to help you get started and answers to the issuescyou raise. Here’s an example

Don’t let it stop you from applying for other sits. You can send out as many applications as you want.

This is almost necessary, because the chance of being accepted while you do not have reviews yet is a bit low. To get your first review, it may be quickest to apply for short sits that have the “Low applications” tag and/or the “Last minute” tag.

Hi there
I have been using the site since 2014 full-time so definitely not a scam. But no one is guaranteed anything by joining the site–sitter or HO–and it is nothing more than a platform for people offering a service to connect with those looking for it, and everyone is free to choose what sits they want, and the sitters they want.

A few things I would say

1. Without seeing your application messages and the types of sits you are applying for, it would be hard to say if that is factoring in at all. Your writing here seems clear and articulate so I imagine you aren’t leaving a bad impression with poor grammar, etc. in your messages or on your profile. You may already be doing the following things but just in case:

Be sure to address the HO and pets by name. Personalize the message with content from the listing. Note what seems important to the HO or what would make you seem like a good fit .For example, experience with their type of dog or if they say it is important the dog can sleep on the bed with the sitter–and you are okay with that–mention it.

I personally write pretty short application messages but some do longer. There is no right or wrong. But I believe our energy determines what we attract into our life, so if doing a longer application, be mindful of if it is sounding like you are trying to hard to sell yourself, feeling like you really have to convince the HO to pick you.

2. If I were you, I would not wait around to sit for such people. I understand people are busy and may not be able to arrange a call immediately; I don’t expect them to pick their desired sitter within an hour of posting. But the type of people you are talking about–dragging out the process for weeks–are a definite ‘no’ for me.

Again, this goes back to getting in the world what we are putting out there, and to me, continuing to interact with these HOs and waiting around for them is a result of fear and attachment to getting sits. And you’ll just continue to attract these same types of people. This fear-based approach will also up the chances of having unpleasant sitting experiences, whether it’s a problematic HO who totally misrepresented the responsibilities, poorly behaved animals or a number of other things.

The next time you encounter such a person, have the courage to just withdraw the application, having some trust and faith the right sits will come along with decisive, organized HO’s who are serious about the process.

Unless it is a sit you really want to do for some reason, apply to multiple listings with similar dates–you never know how long it will take for people to respond. I personally withdraw applications if more than several days have passed and I have not heard from the HO. This is particularly true if they have read the application–it is always strange to me when it gets read pretty much immediately but then days pass with no contact.

In my experience of almost a decade, these sorts of owners have been a small minority so I definitely don’t think your experience of encountering so many people in such a short time is typical. So I wouldn’t worry this is what you will be dealing with all the time.

3. I know a lot of people will say it is hard in the beginning to secure sits, but I can’t say that was my experience. That is not to brag or to suggest people who did struggle in the beginning must have been doing something wrong. It is just to say that you don’t want to lean too heavily onto that idea. And our first sit was 4 months in Fiji–not too shabby!

While I may not have been as discerning with sits when I first started as I am now, I can honestly say that from the beginning, I did follow some ‘best practices’ that have served me well, namely not waiting around for indecisive HO’s, honoring preferences about the types of environments and aspects of the sit that worked for me, and listening to my intuition.

Good luck!

It’s not a waste of time. But many hosts are reluctant to give people with no site experience a chance. There are lots of sits. Some are very competitive – mostly because of location, while others struggle to get applicants. I was able to get my first sit fairly easily, in part because I had something in common with the hosts – like them I had a combined membership, and I clearly loved cats, and I’m grateful they gave me the opportunity. I managed to get another sit before their sit started because it was last minute and in a location that required a car. I also tend to look at “offbeat” locations.

As a petparent, I’m also reluctant to take on sitters without a lot of site experience, but I have done so on occassion where I discovered some connection, for example super-familiar with my neighborhood, similar hobbies, etc. Or when they came across as competent, common sense, experience with and love of my kind of pet. Remember, you are being invited into someone’s home and you will be caring for and sharing the home with a beloved family member.

Your profile should have as many character references as you can gather, and if you’ve never taken care of pets for friends and family, start now so they can give you honest references and maybe even some useful feedback. If you have petsitting experience from a site like Rover, mention it and be prepared to provide references. It also wouldn’t hurt to add your linkedin as well as airbnb. I know many people are reluctant to add that for privacy, but if you have no site reviews it helps establish you as a “real person” and makes you appear more trustworthy.

You could start by also looking at sits in less popular areas that aren’t getting a lot of applications, but not at sits that require special skills that you don’t have. Make sure you are comfortable going in. If you’ve never cared for a large dog, don’t take a large dog.

Work on your application note. The tone should be friendly. You can point out some of the highlights of your profile. It should also be clear that you’ve read the listing and you shoudl refer to the listing – names of pets, anything relevant in your experience that applies specifically to the listing eg “I volunteered at my local shelter, so I have some experience with anxious dogs.”

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Sorry for my long-winded response. HOs should be responding and deciding within 72 hours, so I see the etiquette issue. I’m guessing, they’re waiting for more applicants because of your lack of site cred. It’s okay to apply to multiple sits at the same time. You aren’t committed until you are CONFIRMED. It’s also okay if you can’t stand the waiting game to decline a sit you’ve applied for because you’re tired of waiting or to put a tiny bit of pressure on the HOs eg drop a hint that you are hoping to set up a video soon as you’re going to be busy in the next couple of weeks, or even bluff about an upcoming possibility, so could they get back to you one way or another. As for not getting any email when you are declined, you can blame the system for that. HOs are told when they confirm a sitter that the system will automatically declline other applicants so writing to them is unnecessary.

Thank you to everyone for all your really kind and helpful responses and advice. I very much appreciate it.

We’ve already done most of what everyone has suggested. Hopefully we have just been unlucky. It hasn’t been too much of a problem to connect with people or attain homeowner’s interest it just seems to be the followthrough that doesn’t happen. People say they are super interested and that they will arrange calls/video calls, sometimes the calls are arranged time and date organised, and then a few days later we get the automatic ‘decline’. Even when we’ve been chatting for ages and they insist they will arrange a meeting when less busy, arrange a meeting when back from holiday, arrange a meeting in a couple of days and then…automatic ‘decline’.

I genuinely understand people being wary of first time sitters, absolutely. Handing over the keys to your home and giving them responsibility of your loved ones is a huge thing for someone to do. I guess I’m just disappointed that this has turned out to be like some dating site where people string you along and then just decline you or ghost you without really being courteous and saying “actually we’re not keen on first timers, or we wanted to go with someone else etc etc”. I’d like to thing I’d afford people that courtesy, but maybe I’m just old fashioned!

Thanks again everyone, really appreciate you listening! Fingers crossed


Hi there
I have been sitting for many years using THS with over 50 5 star reviews. Recently I had a run of HO not responding, declining with no polite message etc, but then that changed and now I am receiving polite messages (thanks but no thanks etc) being accepted for some sits and not for others. Believe me THS is definitely not a scam and provides a great opportunity. Stick at and things will get better …and if you get rejected/someone doesn’t respond etc, don’t take it personally and move on. There are far more polite nice people on the site compared to rude disrespectful people. You have probably just been unlucky (and if you think you need to build your reviews…do what many have said on here by choosing short sits, last minute, less attractive sit with low applications)
Kind regards


Welcome @HandA
Having done 18 sits since I joined last June I can safely say THS is not a scam. However it took me 23 applications to get my first sit. Can I suggest you start with local and last minute sits first to hopefully build up some feedback.
Oh and even with 18 5 star reviews I still get the automated decline message. Thick skin is needed sometimes on here.


It’s not a scam. We joined in March, and loved it so much we’ve done it full time ever since. NON-STOP! We’re also pretty much fully booked until Oct 2024.

We found that once we had 3 reviews everything changed, and now we typically get the ones we apply for (unless they are further afield), but we’re in the UK so that may be different.

Maybe that could be your real problem, you may be applying for ones that are a distance away and so because you don’t have reviews HO’s are waiting to see if anyone with good reviews comes along first, but they’re still keeping you holding on as a back up. It’s only natural. You need to accept that.

The way we did it, was we focused on ones within a couple of hours drive from our home first, before applying for ones further afield. You could try the same. Even if you just do 2-3 day sits so you can build up more within a short timescale. And focus on last minute sits as you have a good chance of getting those, as sitters that have been doing this a while will be booked up.

Hope that helps