Doing things gradually is a cornerstone of the Way of Life Method. This includes socializing and exposing our dogs to things gradually. At the beginning, it is very important to work away from sources of stimulation, reactivity, or fear. A private and fenced backyard is ideal, of course, but not everyone has a backyard. And even folks with backyards can benefit from Sniffspot to fulfil other needs.
There are so many restrictions on where dogs can go that all we are left with is public parks, where we’re likely to encounter loose dogs and intrusive people. Letting our dogs loose in these places poses a risk to people, other dogs, and wildlife, and can also get us in trouble with the law. We don’t recommend dog parks either, for many reasons. They pose risks including aggression, disease transmission, and poor sanitation.
In comes Sniffspot, the Airbnb of private backyards for dogs! You can rent them by the hour to let your dog off-lead, work with them safely, and give them opportunities to be a dog by sniffing around, playing on their own, and hanging out.
Advantages for Guardians:
- Hourly rentals
- Ability to bring more than one dog
- Reviews of hosts and guests after each visit
- Locations designed for private and exclusive use
- Reactive dogs welcomed
- Affordable pricing – $5-$15 per dog per hour on average
Advantages for Dogs:
- A safe and distraction-free space to exercise, train, and play
- A contained space for gradual introductions and playdates
- Protection from triggers for nervous and reactive dogs
- A safe space for recall and off-leash training
- A space for dogs to run freely
- Opportunities to experience different spaces
Users of the site can enter their location and find nearby Sniffspots, with options including:
- Fully fenced-in areas
- Large parks (½ acre-plus)
- Spaces where they can’t hear or see other dogs
- Parks with pools and water facilities
- Indoor facilities
- Small dog parks
- Locations with agility equipment
- Parks with hiking trails
- Parks with beach access
Users must show proof of vaccinations, sign a waiver, and supervise and clean up after their pets. You might also consider renting out your own backyard as a Sniffspot. You can earn a little extra income while helping fellow local dog guardians in need of safe spaces for their dogs!
This holiday season, take a moment to locate appropriate spots for rent and check them out with your dog. By the time the new year rolls around, hopefully you’ll have your indoor training space set up (see Pro Tip) and you will have tried out a few Sniffspots!