Meet the Sniffspot Host Taking Her Love for Dogs and Turning It Into a Business

Liz is a lifelong animal lover, and has been surrounded by four-legged friends her entire life. Her childhood was spent with dogs in the home, and her teen years were spent riding horses, an interest she took with her well into adulthood. “I rode Hunter Jumpers and competed with my Quarter horse as a preteen and teenager,” she explained. “As an adult I competed in Dressage with my Lipizzan. My husband and I met during this horse-crazy time. He put up with and supported my animal obsession.” 

These days, Liz spends her time engaged in sporting events with a different kind of animal – dogs. “I always had dogs no matter where I lived or what I was doing,” she said. “I compete in Barn Hunt, Agility, and have dabbled in Herding, Obedience and Rally. I belong to local and national breed clubs. Two of my dogs have national breed club versatility awards.” With several dogs of their own, a Scottish terrier, a Corgi, and Cairn terriers, one might assume that adding more canines to the mix might be too much, but not for this family. In fact, Liz’s love for dogs is what inspired her to dedicate a portion of her property at home to hosting other dogs for playtime though Sniffspot. 

Creating a space to meet her own needs 

Liz believes in keeping it simple and looking within – “Do what you think you would like for you and your dogs,” she suggested. This outlook is exactly what motivated Liz to seek out Sniffspot in the first place, taking an unfortunate time and turning it into an opportunity for connection, community, and some added income. “When the lock-down happened I had three dogs that were under three. They were used to going to classes, going out and training frequently, and since no one was open anymore I had a house full of wild energy,” she recalled. “Because I have a Corgi, people would not leave me alone when I walked around a local school or in a park. People see them and almost just cry, like ‘Oh my God, it’s a Corgi!’ They just love them. So I had to figure out another way to get them out. One of my agility acquaintances who I like and trust posted something about Sniffspot, so I looked into it.” 

Seeking a peaceful place to exercise her own dogs got Liz thinking about what she already had to work with. “I researched it and our field seemed like it would work,” she said. Seeing the potential to offer an alternative to dog parks at a time when socialization was not an option, Liz made some practical adjustments to the space she had in order to get it set up for potential guests. “We decided to fence our pasture, which had been used for our horses. We have a covered area with gravel, tables and, most importantly, a safe area for dogs of all sizes,” she added. “I created another area for my agility equipment because it was too tempting for guests to leave alone. I very clearly state that my agility area is off limits and guests respect that.”

How to be a great host

For some people, extra income is the motivating factor behind hosting, and that works well for them and their guests. For Liz, her love for dogs, and the people she meets because of it, is what keeps her yard open and her calendar booked. Although involved in the animal world for many years, turning her love for canines into a side job was a learning experience. “When we started I had no idea what to do, we learned by hosting,” she recalled. “I looked at other spots and tried to figure out what would work for ours.” 

With her former horse pasture now fenced and available for dogs to explore, Liz began to look for little added perks of visiting her spot which would appeal to guests and encourage repeat visitors, modeling those needs around what she herself sought after as a dog owner. “I use our area every day so I’ve made it comfortable and easy for myself to use,” she said. “I try to buy indestructible toys, provide water, and mow and fertilize with organic fertilizer – we don’t use any chemicals on our pasture. We also make sure we maintain our property, and we have poop bags hung on our fence and a place to dispose of poop bags.”

Interested in hosting?

Learn more here about how your land can help dogs and you can earn up to $1,500 per month!

In addition to the creature comforts provided for her canine visitors, Liz said does her best to elevate the user experience of the people booking these visits as well. “We provide chairs and tables, and have a small fridge and provide water for our guests. We also have a fire pit that my husband loves to start in the cool fall and winter days. We make sure they have all the comforts that you would find at a nice park.”   

Building a base of return clients with clear communication 

As an animal lover who appreciates that every pet comes with their own personality, boundaries, and quirks, Liz values privacy when exercising her dogs, a courtesy she extends to her guests. She’s able to do this while still maintaining the integrity of her space, and her business, through the use of clear communication, open dialog, and availability. “Hosting is pretty straightforward and easy. I have a four-hour booking timeframe so there are no last minute visits, and I have very clear rules,” she explained. “We make sure that guests know where to park and where things are, and show each new guest into our field and explain where toys, water, poop bags and poop disposal are located. Other than that, we leave our guests alone. 

From that point on, guests are free to enjoy the time they’re entitled to, and returning visitors are set up to have everything they need, including access to Liz should they have any questions or concerns. Frequent repeat visits are even rewarded with a perk. “I have been trying to give one free visit after every ten visits,” Liz said. 

Liz encourages anyone thinking about hosting to look into it for themselves, especially if they love dogs and have the space for it. For her, the accessibility to Sniffspot professionals, and the fact that the company has its host’s backs are some of the reasons that keep her yard open. “I like that if I ever have a question, I always hear back from someone [at Sniffspot] within 24 hours,” she said. “I also love the liability [protection] that comes with hosting with Sniffspot. We live by a busy road, and I encourage people to keep their dogs on leash, but a lot choose not to. So in the event that something would ever happen, it’s nice to know that it's there.” 

Plans for the future 

One Sniffspot has proven enough for Liz, at least as long as she’s still working her day job. In the meantime, she’s able to dedicate that time to making her space the best it can be, using her income earned from hosting to provide a safe, clean area for dogs and their guardians to enjoy some fresh air. “The extra income is wonderful. I buy toys with it for my guests,” she said. “We also maintain our spot with earnings from it and have used our money to improve our property.” 

Seeing happy dogs and earning extra cash isn’t the only thing Liz loves about hosting. For her, the people she’s met along the way, and the memories made with them, enrich her life in a way that probably no one would guess an idea borne out of a pandemic would. “Just getting to see so many different people interacting with their dogs is really, really cool. We get to meet interesting people who love their dogs by hosting, and I consider a couple of our guests as friends,” she said. One recent memory came out of hosting a dog party at her spot. “We hosted a party of ten dogs for a birthday party. I did gift bags and had the tables set up,” she added. “The guests had a cake, balloons and made it amazing. I could not believe how much they did for their dog. I realized I need to up my dog's birthday party game! It was so much fun to watch them have their party here. That was definitely one of my highlights.”

Interested in hosting?

Learn more here about how your land can help dogs and you can earn up to $1,500 per month!