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How does Sniffspot work? Exploring private options for your dog

The 'Airbnb for dogs' is a great alternative for pets who don't fare well in community dog parks.

CLEVELAND — Neighborhood dog parks can offer a chance for pups to sniff, explore and socialize for an afternoon. However they aren't good for all dogs -- especially those who are reactive or don't like being sniffed by strange canines.

But there are big benefits to having your dog off leash in an enclosed area, with the ability just to check out all the wonderful smells.

And it exists in a service called "Sniffspot."

"It's kind of like a dog park that is just for your dog," says Rachel Durci.

She has two dogs, is a longtime shelter volunteer and also lists her back yard with Sniffspot.

"It's really good for dogs that could be reactive to other dogs or maybe don't like to be around other people too much," Durci says. "Or you just don't want to take your dog to a dog park and maybe you don't have a fenced yard to yourself and just wanna give your dog a chance to run around."

Here's how it works: On the Sniffspot app or site, you can check out
all the local off-leash backyards for rent. Each comes with different features. Hosts share pictures of their yard while listing the various features and the price they set.

The best part: Only you and your dogs are allowed in the area during your visit.

"It's all about enrichment, right? Letting them go off-leash, they can go back behind these bushes and all around the fence and sniff whatever they want to," Durci said of Sniffspot's benefits.  

Some hosts say they make nice pocket change renting out their private back yards. But for Durci, there are other meaningful rewards.

"After the person and the dogs leave, I let my dogs out and boy do they have a sniffari," she said. 

The number one rule for being a great Sniffspot guest, is to always make sure you leave the yard as you found it. That means cleaning up after your dog, and sticking to guidelines set by the host. 

Sniffspot started in Seattle, and currently has more than a thousand locations nationwide. There are several dozen locations in northeast Ohio. You can find them HERE.


Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous story on Oct. 12, 2022.

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