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Video: a Sniffspot Host Story: Patrick & June thumbnail

Video: a Sniffspot Host Story: Patrick & June

Hear from Patrick and June about what being a Sniffspot host means to them.

Video: Just Another Day at Sniffspot thumbnail

Video: Just Another Day at Sniffspot

One of our guests created this video to share the joy her dog feels when using Sniffspot. I hope it brightens your day!

Video: Sniffspot Host Tips for Success thumbnail

Video: Sniffspot Host Tips for Success

At Sniffspot, our mission is to make the world a more dog friendly. As a host on Sniffspot, you participate in this mission and vision. We put together this video to help set YOU up for success with us. We’ve spent a lot of time listening, reading, researching, and conversing with hosts and guests to understand what success looks and feels like. If you’d like to follow along, download the slides we’ll be covering here.

Host Tips: Patrick F. Offering a Spot thumbnail

Host Tips: Patrick F. Offering a Spot

Patrick is the host of Sammamish/a fenced half acre to run in, one of Sniffspot's most popular spots. He has taken the time to write up the lessons he has learned about how to be a great Sniffspot host.

Host Tips: Fran T. Providing Great Guest Service at our Spot thumbnail

Host Tips: Fran T. Providing Great Guest Service at our Spot

Fran is the host of Ranch Setting, one of Sniffspot's most popular spots. She has taken the time to write up the lessons she has learned about how to be a great Sniffspot host.

Host Tips: Ellen K. What Makes Sniffspot Successful for Me thumbnail

Host Tips: Ellen K. What Makes Sniffspot Successful for Me

Ellen is the host of Country Pasture Getaway, one of Sniffspot's most popular sniff spots. She has taken the time to write up the lessons she has learned about how to be a great sniff spot host.

How This Retired Special Agent Created a Dog Paradise From an Empty Lot thumbnail

How This Retired Special Agent Created a Dog Paradise From an Empty Lot

Maurice has always poured tremendous energy into helping those in need.

How this Oregon Farmer is Making a Business From Renting Her Land to Dogs thumbnail

How this Oregon Farmer is Making a Business From Renting Her Land to Dogs

Just 20 minutes outside of the busy city of Portland, Oregon, and settled right on the banks of the Columbia River, you’ll find what countless visitors have flocked to the area in search of – mountain views, crisp, clean air, and running water for miles. What you might not expect to find, however, is a hidden oasis designed just for dogs and their people, owned and operated by a farming couple and enjoyed by visitors on two legs, and four.  

How This Family is Affording Their Dream Property Through Renting it Hourly to Dogs thumbnail

How This Family is Affording Their Dream Property Through Renting it Hourly to Dogs

Thousand Oaks, California has been a safe haven for Sniffspot host, Jen, since childhood. Having grown up in busy Santa Barbara, Jen, an introvert from an early age, would seek out solitude and serenity away from tourists attractions and droves of people visiting from elsewhere. “My grandparents own 60 acres about a 30 minute drive from here, and I grew up spending every summer and every holiday visiting them on the ranch,” Jen explained. “In Santa Barbara, we wouldn't go to the beach on the weekend because that's where everybody was, so you'd find places off the beaten path where the tourists weren't. For me, the ranch was just my happy place.” 

How This Rural Texas Landowner is Helping Dogs Through Sharing Her Land thumbnail

How This Rural Texas Landowner is Helping Dogs Through Sharing Her Land

50 miles north of Dallas, outside of Denton, Texas, Sniffspot host, Carol, values several things in life, two of which are an appreciation for the outdoors, and seeing happy dogs. “I'm a senior citizen,” she said. “I've lived at my property for 20 years now, and have a total of 10 acres, which is fenced in completely.” With time on her side and ample space for her dogs to exercise, Carol has made the most out of country living. 

How This Retired Couple is Supporting Their Community With Their Yard thumbnail

How This Retired Couple is Supporting Their Community With Their Yard

Hal and Colleen haven’t had dogs of their own for a while. Having shared their home with canine companions for 35 of their 42 years together as a couple, the big yard at their house began to feel a bit empty, but adopting a new dog simply isn’t in the cards for now. “We've had dogs almost all of our life,” Hal said. “When we both retired we started traveling more and we'd be gone for a month, so it really wasn't feasible to have another dog.” 

How This Popular Kennel Found a Profitable New Business With Sniffspot thumbnail

How This Popular Kennel Found a Profitable New Business With Sniffspot

If there’s one thing Janice knows and understands well, it’s the needs of dogs and their owners, and how to meet those needs. No stranger to the petcare game, Janice, a dog trainer herself, has been running a successful dog boarding and training facility just 30 minutes north of Seattle since 2001. When business slowed down a bit during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Janice looked into additional ways to bring in more income by using what she already had available to her. 

How This Pacific Northwest Landowner Transformed Their Unused Land Into a Dog Business thumbnail

How This Pacific Northwest Landowner Transformed Their Unused Land Into a Dog Business

When Grace started out as a host with Sniffspot, she gave herself one month to feel it out and see if it might be a fit for her and her husband. “I watched this video about Sniffspot and thought our property here would be a good thing for it,” she said, of the fully fenced nine acre space she shares with her husband. While she was excited at the prospect of hosting dogs on their land, her husband took some convincing to give it a try. “As soon as he came home, I said, ‘hey, look, this is as good as our property, and it’s just sitting there doing nothing.’ I asked him if we could try it for one month and if he didn’t like it then fine, I'll close it because we have that option.” 

How This Bellingham Retiree is Meeting Locals and Helping Dogs With Her Yard thumbnail

How This Bellingham Retiree is Meeting Locals and Helping Dogs With Her Yard

When Jill retired in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, she realized she could go anywhere and do pretty much anything she wanted. Where did her heart lead her? To Bellingham, Washington, in the same town her daughter calls home. “I had lived in Olympia for over 30 years, but my kids are both pretty much up near Bellingham,” she said. “No one was meeting at restaurants or doing all the things we used to do, so I decided to move.” 

How This Dog Trainer Expanded His Business by Creating a Reactive Dog Paradise on His Land thumbnail

How This Dog Trainer Expanded His Business by Creating a Reactive Dog Paradise on His Land

When Francisco and his wife were looking for a home to call their own, they knew that having lots of outdoor space was more important than the square footage of the actual house. “My wife and I got married and decided to buy a house,” Francisco said, of his Michigan property known as The Farm. “This one came on the market and it was just perfect because we were living on 10 acres and this one was around 20.” With ample room for the couple and their five dogs, the space was also used to conduct Francisco’s dog training and boarding business, although it took a sizable amount of work to make that a reality. “It had a pole barn in the back which was perfect to board dogs and do classes and consults, and we just went for it. Many of the dogs we train are not able to go to regular boarding facilities.”  

How Sniffspot is Helping a Retired Vet Tech Keep Her Home thumbnail

How Sniffspot is Helping a Retired Vet Tech Keep Her Home

If you had told Ellen K. three years ago that renting her land to dogs would be a key part of affording her home, she wouldn’t have believed you. 

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sniffspot community

Sniffspot is a unique community

In a “me first” world, we put dogs first. We love dogs, we have dogs, we try to give dogs as much overflowing joy as they give us. We believe that dogs have inherent worth, and we care deeply about their well-being. As long as we share a place on Earth, we believe dogs have an inherent right to live a fulfilling, joyful and rewarding life.

We believe a more dog-friendly world is a better world. Dogs evolved and were bred in a world where they could run free in fields and forests. Modern society doesn’t carve spaces out for our canine companions and, as a result, dogs in the modern world are having all kinds of problems, like obesity, reactivity, and anxiety. We are coming together to provide safe spaces that allow dogs to let their instincts rise back to the top, to go wild and free, and to just be dogs again. Healing is a beautiful thing to witness.

Read more here about our community and the joy that it brings.

sniffspot community FAQ

Are public dog parks good for dogs?

It is important for most dogs to have off-leash exercise and plenty of opportunities to explore. Engaging in natural behaviors like sniffing and running is valuable for your pet's mental health! Since letting dogs off leash in city parks can be dangerous for the surrounding community and wildlife — not to mention can lead to issues with animal control or park authority departments — public dog parks are a legal way to let dogs have off leash exercise.

But the free and open nature of public dog parks can have drawbacks. While the popularity of dog parks has been skyrocketing in the United States, so has the number of professional trainers who caution against their use. The top risks associated with public off-leash dog parks are that:

  • Dog parks can create an unnatural social environment
  • These might be aggressive dogs present — and other dog owners are also inattentive to their pets' behavior
  • Busy dog parks can overwhelm shy or nervous dogs
  • Dog parks can exacerbate problem behaviors like leash reactivity
  • Bad experiences at a dog park can also create behavior problems in the first place
  • Public dog parks can lead to physical injuries
  • There might be disease transmission and cleanliness issues, since any given public dog park facility may not be cleaned regularly

Many dog behaviorists discourage visiting public dog parks and recommend Sniffspot's private dog parks. With Sniffspot, dogs can get their exercise safely — without worrying about other dogs, people, or potential disease transmission — because our private dog parks only allow one guest to book at a time and are not open to the public. This solves the above issues!

How do public dog parks create an unnatural social environment for dogs?

Many owners are drawn to dog parks because they want to socialize their pets. We're inundated with messages of the “perfect” friendly dog. Our social media feeds feature viral videos of animal best friends that echo the cutesy movies we loved as children — but they often show a false reality.

While dogs are social mammals, it's typically not natural for them to regularly engage in play with strangers. Dog sociability can be viewed as a sliding scale:

  • Some dogs are truly dog social. This means they genuinely enjoy interaction with almost every dog they meet! We tend to think these dogs are more common than they really are — they're the ones we most see out and about because they can handle the widest range of environments.
  • Most dogs are dog tolerant or dog selective. They don't often seek out new friends, but they can comfortably interact with other dogs when needed after a proper introduction process. (You can read more about properly introducing dogs who don't know each other in this article.)
  • Some dogs are dog aggressive. They might live with or know a few specific canine friends, but they don't generally enjoy being around their own species.

Ultimately: It's perfectly normal for our dogs to not want to play with other pets outside of our families. Sniffspot was actually inspired by a dog-selective rescue who wasn't able to get any time off leash in a city environment, making it difficult to meet his basic needs amongst the hustle and bustle.

Can one bad experience at a public dog park have a lasting effect on a dog?

Even a previously social dog might develop a behavior issue (like fear reactivity) due to a negative interaction with another dog at a public dog park. Perhaps they get subtly bullied, feel overwhelmed, or are even bit — and they decide to preemptively try to keep other dogs away from them. Now your social dog is selective or even aggressive toward others.

While some dogs seem to let those negative interactions roll off their back (especially if they've been well socialized since puppyhood) others are affected in lasting ways. Each dog and situation is different.

What are the risks of physical injuries and illnesses at public dog parks?

Public dog parks also increase the chances of pets sustaining injury or developing infection.

Dog park injuries

While many dog-dog injuries at dog parks are accidental — canines can be mismatched in size, inadvertently break skin while wrestling with untrimmed nails, or simply come on too strong without realizing — others are overtly aggressive.

Even friendly dogs can start fights by failing to recognize another pet's signals of discomfort. Resource guarding over food and toys can turn into a dangerous scuffle. Sometimes heightened arousal from being in a large social group elevates even a typically clear-headed dog's prey drive.

Dog park illnesses

No matter how hard a city works to keep their parks clean, it's impossible to fully eliminate all infection risk. This is especially true in dog-designated spaces that see dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of different canines each week.

There's no way to confirm that every dog entering an off-leash space has been fully vaccinated — and bacterial diseases like leptospirosis often thrive in wet, muddy terrain that's been torn up by paws.

Young puppies and elderly dogs have the greatest chance of getting sick.

Are all public dog parks dangerous?

While dog parks certainly come with their risks, it would be unfair to claim they're always a bad idea. Public dog parks do serve an important community service in cities.

Some areas lend themselves to safe interactions better than others — large plots of land with acres to maneuver are less dangerous than fenced-in city runs, for example — and responsible owner involvement can make a world of difference.

How do I know if a dog park works for my dog?

Dogs enjoy Sniffspot dog parks for all kinds of different reasons — spanning from physical exercise to behavior modification training to agility or other dog sports practice and more. Whatever your primary goals, there is a Sniffspot dog park for you!

There are many different types of private dog parks available. Sniffspot hosts offer locations like designated training yards; expansive fields; large, fully-fenced off-leash dog parks; indoor facilities with lights and other amenities; dog sports courses complete with agility equipment; pools and natural water features; and more. Some even have niche amenities, such as a park splash pad and dog-friendly potable water fountains.

You can filter Sniffspot dog parks by size, fencing, and distractions that might be present via our dog park locator. If your dog doesn't have a good recall, you can visit one of our fully fenced dog parks. If your dog is reactive to other dogs, you can visit one of our off-leash areas where there are no dogs audible or visible nearby. You can also filter locations to avoid other domestic animals and people! Each listing includes the park hours of operation — and by reading reviews you can understand the status of condition, for example, if a section of the fence is in poor condition or there are any park maintenance issues.

Are Sniffspot dog parks safe?

While public dog parks have a number of safety issues, such as aggressive dogs, disease transmission, and general cleanliness (often as much an issue with the person in charge as with their dog) Sniffspot dog parks are much safer environments to let your dog express their natural behaviors.

With Sniffspot, all bookings are private — the only park users at a given time are the dog owners who signed up and dogs they bring with them in their own group. Additionally, we require all dogs to be vaccinated (or have equivalent titers). Hosts are in charge of keeping their park areas clean, and many go out of their way to provide visitors with exceptional experiences. It's a win-win for everyone in the community!

Perhaps most helpful to know exactly what you're getting into: Sniffspot dog park locations are vetted and reviewed by guests, so you can find the perfect place for you and your dog — whether they have behavioral struggles, special needs, or any other specific considerations. 93% of reviews on Sniffspot visits are 5 stars and many spots have been reviewed hundreds of times.

As always, make sure to check weather conditions before visiting.

Is a Sniffspot dog park an off leash area?

Yes. Many Sniffspot dog parks are designed to be a designated off-leash area! That said: Not every Sniffspot private dog park location is completely fenced in.

All dogs are different, and we expect our guests to be safe and responsible — especially if their dogs do not have strong recall to be able to remain under voice control. Off leash dogs should always stay within the designated off-leash dog park property. This is important to have an enjoyable time and be respectful to the hosts, neighbors, and community as a whole!

Will there be other dogs at the Sniffspot dog park at the same time as me?

No, there will not. Sniffspot only allows one booking at a time — and any host dogs are required to be kept away from the spot during visits.

We also enforce buffers between bookings to ensure you aren't arriving or leaving at the same time another park user is present.

How can I find Sniffspot dog parks near me?

You can browse all of our Sniffspots here using our dog park locator. You can easily view information about the spots, including open times, park entrance details, and current conditions.

How much do Sniffspot dog parks cost?

Each host sets their own price, so you can check the cost per hour on the specific Sniffspot dog park listing. Most are between $5 - $15 per dog per hour.

Prices vary based on size, fencing and amenities, such as water or drinking fountains for dogs, park benches, WiFi accessibility, and so on.

What are the requirements to bring my dog to a Sniffspot dog park?

Vaccinations are required

We require that all dogs have basic vaccinations or equivalent titers. We require rabies vaccination, the equivalent of current rabies tags.

Dogs should not display aggressive behavior

We do not allow dogs with a bite history.

There are sometimes limits on number of dogs per booking

We do not have limits for dogs per owner or dogs per adult handler, though some individual park hosts set person per visit limits.

Supervision is always required

Adult supervision is required at all times.

Clean up after your pets

Dog owners are responsible for picking up pet waste to keep park areas clean (many Sniffspot private dog parks provide pet waste stations).

You must sign a waiver and agree to our policies

We require that guests sign our waiver and agree to follow park rules and policies before visiting park sites.

How can I offer my land as a private dog park?

You can learn more about how you can earn up to $3,000 per month sharing your land here. It is just as lucrative as dog boarding or other dog services — with less work for you! Park planning can be as simple as opening up your existing yard.

Why would I want to offer my land as a private dog park?

Being a Sniffspot host can be incredibly rewarding both financially and personally.

We love dogs — but our modern world is built for us humans, not for our canine companions. Tightly packed cities, small public dog parks, and less time in nature have increased the rates of problem behaviors like leash reactivity, fear aggression, and anxiety in our pets. Sniffspot is a way to combat this mental and physical health crisis! By providing a safe environment, you can enable local dogs and owners to breathe a collective sigh of relief as they get to engage in natural behaviors (like sniffing, running, and playing) in a private space free of potential dangers they can't escape at city parks or on the sidewalk.