As dog ownership continues to rise across the U.S., a company called Sniffspot is offering a private alternative to public dog parks.
The company lets users rent out their backyards and private spaces so other peoples' dogs can frolic uninhibited. It was founded by CEO David Adams, whose dog, Soba, struggled to get along with other dogs at public parks.
"Either there were dogs there that were bullying Soba, or it was dirty, or there was some kind of issue with crowding, or something else that made it an unpleasant experience," said Adams.
The founder said some hosts make up to $4,000 a month in passive income on the app, and that includes larger organizations such as Muddy Paws Rescue in New York City, which rents out space for some extra cash.
"We had this room and were trying to figure out what to use it for," said Rachael Ziering, executive director of Muddy Paws Rescue. "It ended up being a really great thing for dogs who need the quiet space in the city, might not be great with other dogs, can’t go to the dog park."
Lil is one of those dogs. Her foster dad, Wayne Barbin, said it helps her because of her shy disposition.
According to a recent Sniffspot survey, one in seven dogs across the country have been attacked at a dog park, but public dog park regulars we spoke to think pups should be part of a pack.
Dog owner Karine Legizm said "dogs are dogs, sometimes fights happen, sometimes misunderstandings happen with dog owners, but it’s a great way for them to socialize."
Adams, meanwhile, said safety concerns surpass the need for socialization.
"It’s a pretty uncertain environment to be at a city dog park, while i think that they’re important for cities to offer free dog parks to people, I do think it’s good to have an alternative like Sniffspot where the emphasis is on safety."