STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – First, it was Uber and Airbnb. Now, the latest sharing model on the web invites pet owners to rent other people’s yards as personal dog parks.
Scott Poti’s large backyard in Strongsville, which includes a pond with a fountain, is one of a growing number of private dog parks around the country available on Sniffspot.
“A lot of people have apartments or they don’t have a fenced-in backyard and they just want to be able to take their dogs somewhere and, you know throw, the ball around and let them get some energy out. Maybe their dogs don’t get along with other dogs and they just want their own private thing back here, so those are the main people we end up seeing,” Poti said.
Poti says his terriers, Ripley and Josie, love to play in the family’s backyard and around their pond. He felt it would be the perfect place to profile on Sniffspot.
“They kind of described it as like the Airbnb for dogs, so we said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a big yard and a pond back here,’ and you know, I think people would like going to it,” he said.
Sniffspot users can block off times to bring their dogs to the yard of their choice, for prices usually ranging from $7 to $15 an hour.
There is also a discount for those bringing additional dogs.
According to Sniffspot, the website collects rental fees from users and then forwards the money to each host via direct deposit.
Hosts and their yards receive ratings based on the overall experience for dogs and their humans, so Poti and his wife decided to add a couple of creature comforts.
“Set up some chairs and dog toys, dog treats. We even put some snacks out for humans,” he said.
Users of the app are only asked to follow some very simple rules, the most important of which is to clean up after their dogs.
When Poti told one of his friends about Sniffspot, he thought it was a joke, but after two weeks on the app, there have already 20 visitors to their private park for puppies.
“Completely surprised, to be honest. I didn’t think it was going to take off that fast, so we just kind of did it and said ‘Hey, we’ll just see what happens,’ and before you know it, we had people booking,” he said. “People just love dogs and just love spending time with them and doing different things. They’re almost like, you know, part of the family.”