Sniffspot — the Airbnb for dogs — looks to add Summit County locations
FRISCO — Summit County is known as an uber dog-friendly place, so it’s no surprise that when a post about Sniffspot, an app that shows private yards where dogs can play, popped up on the local Facebook page Summit County Loves Their Pets, residents gave plenty of positive feedback.
Seattle-based Sniffspot founder David Adams said he came up with the idea because he wasn’t always able to bring his dogs to dog parks. One dog is reactive and doesn’t always get along with other dogs, and he’s seen dogs get bullied at dog parks. So he decided to come up with a solution.
“My partner and I thought, ‘Wow, other people must have similar needs, and there are all these empty yards and land around. Why not do what Airbnb did and connect them and see if we can solve this problem for people?’” Adams said.
It all started with a Facebook post, where Adam asked other dog owners if they have the same issues with dog parks. When more than 1,000 people interacted with the post, Adams said he realized others would be interested in something like Sniffspot.
The app allows people to make their yards or land available to dog owners, who book a specific time along with the number of dogs they will be bringing. There is only one booking at a time so reactive dogs can play and exercise without the presence of other dogs.
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“I was pretty amazed that people signed up to put their yard on the website or their land, and then we had people start using it to visit it as a guest with their dogs. Since then, it’s really just been word of mouth,” Adams said.
Adams said a little more than half of Sniffspot’s customers have dogs that are reactive and use the service for that reason. The rest of the customers avoid dog parks because they’re worried about aggressive dogs or diseases or are looking for the special features that some Sniffspot hosts provide, such as agility equipment or hiking, Adams said.
Of course, there are some logistics that have to be worked out when dealing with private property. First, Adams has a leave-no-trace rule, requiring dog owners to pick up waste and leave the land as it was when they came to the property.
To protect hosts, Adams set up a custom insurance policy that covers every booking with $1 million in liability insurance. And guests who sign up for Sniffspot are required to sign a waiver stating users are entering private property at their own risk.
So far, it seems to be working out.
“Sniffspot really began as a community. It’s people that really care about their dogs and want to do good things, and the hosts are generally people that care about their dogs, so it’s kind of dog people helping dog people. So we’ve found that people are actually really conscientious,” Adams said.
Adams said people are having such positive experiences and interactions that one of the most requested features of Sniffspot is tipping.
Here in Summit County, Adams is working to add hosts.
“It really is just something that I made to solve my problem, and it’s really gratifying to me that other people like it and are using it,” Adams said.