Seeking Advice on Controlling Owner?

asked 2017-04-16 13:37:21 -0500

Hello! This is my second time using Rover, and I am looking for advice on my current house sitting booking. I've grown up with dogs my whole life, and am an adoption ambassador where I foster animals of all ages back to health. My friend is a rover sitter and loves it, so I thought I would try it out too!

Right now, I am sitting three small dogs (for the price of one) who are five years old for five days. The dogs are really sweet, but the owner said sometimes they have accidents in the house and that I need to clean up after them. After the first day, they peed about six times not on their pee pee pads (even though we went on three long walks that day). I notified the owner of this, asking if this is regular behavior or maybe just nerves since I am a new person taking care of them, and she said this is really unusual for them to pee so much not on their pads. But when I first arrived to the house there were three old pee stains in the apartment (they were in the kennel), and there are poop marks all over the carpet, so it looks like accidents are pretty common. The dogs typically get two walks a day, but I've been taking them out four times which has helped with the amount of accidents. I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to handle this, because I'm pretty uncomfortable in the house. I clean up after them, but it's still a dirty environment.

I'm also supposed to give them treats throughout the day, but the owner left me with only three. She left me $5 to buy more, but she wants me to get very specific kinds, and they are well over $5. When I mentioned this to her, she got really upset and implying that I'm not taking care of the dogs well. She sent me an online photo of the treats being under $5, but when I went to pick them up at the store they were more than that. I ended up going to three different stores, and all have the same price. I just paid the difference with my own money, but I'm afraid to ask her for the refund since she's already upset with me. She also accused me of not sending enough photos, even though I send her about 13 throughout the day. Has anyone ever experienced a controlling owner like this? I'm feeling a bit discouraged, and not sure how to handle the remaining three days of the stay.

Thank you! Noelle

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I have not had a job sitting in the owner's home; I've had drop in visits, but mostly I board in my own home. The owner supplies everything. And my fees are based "per dog" so you are losing money by not charging for 3 dogs. Don't get discouraged; just don't accept future reservations from her.

Lauranne M.'s profile image Lauranne M.  ( 2017-07-28 09:16:43 -0500 ) edit

5 Answers

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answered 2017-04-17 13:11:49 -0500

Hi Noelle,

Did you have a meet and greet with this owner and her dogs at her home? M&Gs are vital to successfully running your business, and would have given you the opportunity to see the home and get a feel for the owner and her dogs before booking.

Did you discuss expectations with the owner? Things like how many updates and photos she wanted to receive throughout the stay, or what to do if food or treats run out?

Could you confine the dogs with their pee pads to a non-carpeted room whenever you aren't able to directly supervise them? Baby gate them in the kitchen or a large bathroom? That would help with any clean up if they continue to have accidents, though it could just be a first day thing while they get used to you. While you are at the home with them I would keep them in your sight (even leashed to you) to prevent any accidents.

I think if you keep the receipt for the treats you purchased (photos of the price at the 3 different stores you checked are a bonus!) and request she pay you back in a respectful way, most owners would have no problem reimbursing you. However I wouldn't broach it right now if she's still upset. Or if it's only a few dollars and not worth the drama, chalk it up to a learning experience.

Make sure that all of your conversations with this owner are documented in Rover messaging! That way Rover Support will be able to see all of your interactions if you need their help. If you are truly uncomfortable in the house and with the owner, you can contact Rover and ask for them to assistance. You could suggest to the owner that you take the dogs to your house (with their crates), do multiple drop ins during the day, or you can ask Rover to find another sitter to step in and replace you.

Best of luck!

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answered 2017-04-17 15:34:54 -0500

Even though you try your hardest to keep a client happy, sometimes they just will never be satisfied.
You want a good review, but from where I'm standing, it looks like you've already done way more than what was required. You agreed to do the booking at a discount, which is almost always a mistake. I've always regretted the ones that I've done. You also spent your own money to provide NON-ESSENTIALS, which is another huge mistake. I hope you sent her a picture of the prices at the store, because she needs to know.

To reduce accidents, I would leave the dogs in their crates as much as possible. Take like 40 pics at once, and then send them to her spread out during the day. I'd even stage a few to make it look varied and interesting. Then treat them like any other dog who is not potty trained: crated when not directly supervised, and taken out for potty breaks.

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As an owner (not the owner being discussed), I am shocked by the suggestion of staging photos to deceive the owner. Even with a difficult owner, dishonesty is never acceptable. You've succeeded in tarnishing the reputation of the company, especially since they didn't weigh in on the comment.

Pauline G.'s profile image Pauline G.  ( 2019-12-31 02:18:45 -0500 ) edit
answered 2018-01-30 12:06:09 -0500

The meet and greets are also for your evaluation of the dog and owner.

I've had my own business for 33 years in Silicon Valley and I made a vow to myself 10 years ago, never work with people who are unpleasant, want to negotiate everything down to the penny and ask for more work without paying.

It has served me well, as there are wonderful people out there who will appreciate and love what you do.

It's just like dating, you have to reject the inferior candidates.


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answered 2017-04-18 10:22:59 -0500

I agree with Carly and Jessica's comments. Most of us have "been there and done that" and that is how we learn. I would not take this customer again. There are a lot of Great customers looking for the "perfectly Awesome" pet care person. Be patient and confident.

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answered 2018-01-01 14:29:35 -0500

I had an owner who gave me a 4 page single spaced, narrow margin instruction set for care of her two dogs. She called me several times a day, insisted on images etc. etc. She canceled a 10 day engagement after 6 days because I asked her care questions that were not on the sheet. She claimed that I was "making her life too difficult". This is called experience. Grin and bear it.

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I am dealing with a similar situation and feel your pain. I am currently sitting for a woman who wants to micromanage her 2 German Shepard’s and kitten. She gave me an itinerary for 30 minutes down to the second, not making concessions for cleaning up diarrhea all over and washing paws and drying.

Sue M.'s profile image Sue M.  ( 2019-11-01 15:34:35 -0500 ) edit

Plus I am spending over 50 minutes on each visit doing everything she asked and being “supervised” by her two employees ho report my every move to her. I should have known better to accept this booking when she told me she had cameras all over and she would see if I didn’t do something right.

Sue M.'s profile image Sue M.  ( 2019-11-01 15:36:28 -0500 ) edit

After cleaning up diarrhea for 30 minutes that dried, her employee told her it was not that clean and she txted me to clean it better. This is after I spent 50 minutes there, having been paid for 30 minutes. I of course am worried she will now tarnish my perfect record.

Sue M.'s profile image Sue M.  ( 2019-11-01 15:39:52 -0500 ) edit

I read rover does not remove reviews. I am documenting everything in in rover messaging system. I am used to doing over and above what is asking but isn’t this a bit demeaning ??

Sue M.'s profile image Sue M.  ( 2019-11-01 15:41:36 -0500 ) edit
answered 2019-07-25 02:42:45 -0500

Hang in there I house sit a lot and these situations have been the exception and not the norm. DO NOT accept this type of behavior from a client because I have learned that they will never be grateful or satisfied no matter how you bend over backwards for them! They always want more and to pay less. There are way too many people out there who will value you and your time, so I guess the only real advice I have is hit that decline button whenever they try to rebook!

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