Sniffspot launches website and mobile app to provide private land for reactive dog exercise and enrichment
SEATTLE, October 17, 2018 – Sniffspot, the marketplace that provides private land for reactive dog exercise and enrichment, has announced the release of their website and mobile apps on iOS and Android. Through this website and app, reactive dog owners can find the ultimate solution for exercise and fun for their dogs.
“Dog ownership is becoming more urban, but it’s really hard to own a reactive dog in a city,” said Sniffspot founder David Adams. “Exercise is one of the hardest things. Most folks take dog exercise in the city for granted, but it’s really hard to find a place to exercise a reactive dog. Sniffspot provides any easy way to find and visit private off leash areas that are safe, clean and fun for dogs to exercise.”
75% of dog owners report that their dog has some reactivity with 22% reporting that their dog is always or usually reactive. Some experts believe that reactivity is growing especially in urban dogs, who need to contend with constant invasive stimuli. Despite the prevalence of reactivity, reactive dog owners are often made to feel alone and there is a dearth of reliable support options for them.
Having a safe area to play and sniff is essential to having a healthy dog. Research shows that dogs get up to 3x better exercise off leash than on leash. First, off leash dogs can run and play, which, similar to humans jogging, burns more calories for them. Second, and more importantly, sniffing new areas is an important part of a dog’s mental exercise and reduces overall anxiety and hyperactivity.
Public dog parks are core parts of city infrastructure, but their free and open nature can also be a limitation. These spots are not private, so they are not an option for reactive dogs. There is no screening of dogs entering these spots to ensure they are vaccinated and free of parasites. There are no enforced requirements for owners to closely supervise their dogs, which can result in dog altercations, dog injury and has even resulted in dog fatalities. There have also been cases of contamination, where dog feces, diseases or other poisons make dogs visiting these public dog parks sick.
Sniffspot partners with local land- and homeowners in the Seattle area and across the US to provide safe and fun private play areas for dogs. Options vary from the rolling hills in our fully fenced, five-acre Country Pasture Getaway to the 175 acre PaJo Ranch in Monroe, WA. There are also many fully fenced yards inside Seattle itself. Sniffspot especially caters to reactive dog owners, whose dogs are often fearful and hence need private spaces to play. Each sniff spot listing provides information on fencing, privacy and our reviews include a section focused on whether the sniff spot would work well for reactive dogs. In addition, hosts can certify whether they have experience with reactive dogs.
As of today, these “sniff spots” are now all easily accessible through a website and mobile apps on iOS and Android. The website and apps include simple log in, detailed search filters including mapping, and booking in just three clicks. This update is one more step on the journey of Sniffspot working to make the world a more reactive dog friendly place.
Download our iOS app
Download our Android app
Browse our new web app
Many folks in the Sniffspot community are looking for more enrichment options for reactive pups. We did some research to find the most interesting enrichment options for reactive dogs by 1) asking reactive dog owners in the area, and 2) asking some local trainers for input to make sure these are the highest quality options for you (see the end of the article for more information on the trainers that reviewed this article).
For those of you not familiar with canine enrichment, enrichment is about providing activities for dogs that stimulates their brains and their bodies. By enriching your dog, you can make them happier and healthier. Specifically for reactive dogs, enrichment can help them with focusing on positive stimuli rather than negative stimuli, and reduce reactivity.
We recommend some local options for getting started with these, but you don’t need to take classes or work with a trainer to get started. You can also get great resources online, for instance, the Canine Enrichment Facebook Group.
1. Try truffle hunting
This may seem strange to you, but truffle hunting is actually a popular outlet for reactive dogs because of the concentration required, game aspect and being alone in the woods! Kristin Rosenbach at Wagnificent K9 is a good resource in the Seattle area for this!
2. Recycle things into dog toys
You can really do anything you can imagine here. We recommend empty cardboard milk cartons with peanut butter for an easy everyday option, but use your imagination. Make sure it is safe and there are no pieces that could tear off and cause issues if swallowed. Here are some more ideas.
3. Try nosework
Nosework is a sport where dogs need to find a hidden object using smell and alert their handler. It’s popular for reactive dogs because it is generally solo and it teaches concentration. A local trainer we recommend for this is Erica Wells at Dogs Day Out.
4. Try out a snuffle mat
A snuffle mat is a mat with rows of fleece strips where treats can be hidden for the dogs to find over time. Reactive dog owners are raving about how much their dogs love them! You can find these to order on many online outlets.
5. Give them a sandbox to dig in
Some dogs love digging, but most dogs don’t get to do it very often. Give them free rein to dig to their heart’s content by creating a sandbox for them. You need the yard space to cordon off a small area for the sandbox. Or you can visit one of our wooded or farm sniff spots, like Dormant Logging Land, to let your dog dig all they want.
6. Take your pup swimming
Swimming is an amazing way for dogs to find a new way to exercise and explore. Give them time to get used to the water and get comfortable. Make sure to always swim in a safe area and use a doggie life preserver if appropriate. Check out some of our most popular sniff spots for areas to swim, like Pajo Ranch.
7. Have fun with a flirt pole
Flirt poles are like fishing poles for dogs, except instead of a hook at the end, there is a dog toy. They’re great for teaching self-control to dogs that have a hard time focusing, because they allow you to control the toy. And they are just a lot of fun to give your pup a work out. You can read more about them here.
8. Try sheep herding
Ever wondered whether your dog would be good at herding? Well, you can now find out! Many of the highest energy dog breeds actually have a history in herding and this can be a very productive way to get their energy out. In fact, many herding breeds tend to be more reactive than other breeds. You can try herding out with your pup at Fido’s Farm, located just south of Olympia.
9. Try canine parkour
This is a great activity for reactive dogs in urban environments. Parkour can help to focus pups on their activity, so they are less focused on scary things in their surroundings. You can read more about parkour here. We also have sniff spots with parkour equipment, like Puppy Parkour in Montlake Terrace.
Of course, our local sniff spots also offer myriad opportunities for enrichment for your pup. Check them out here!
Trainers that reviewed this article
There is so much misinformation out there, we want to make sure we only provide the highest quality information to our community. We have all of our articles reviewed by qualified, positive-only trainers. The trainers that review our content are reviewed by other trainers to ensure that we have the best quality filters on our content.
These are the trainers that reviewed this article:
Lori Stevens (CPBC, CPDT-KA, CCFT, SAMP) is an animal behavior consultant, a professional dog trainer, a canine fitness trainer, an animal massage practitioner, and a senior Tellington TTouch® Training practitioner. She continually studies the interactions among animal behavior, movement, learning, fitness, and health. She uses intimidation-free, scientific, and innovative methods, in an educational environment, to improve the health, behavior, performance, and fitness of animals. Lori's most recent of three DVDs By Tawzer Dog Videos is co-presented with Kathy Sdao and called 'The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs' --it focuses on improving the life of our aging dogs. Lori gives workshops worldwide and has a private practice in Seattle, WA. She also teaches online classes at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.
Lori gets joy from helping others help their dogs whether for competition or daily life. She enjoys hiking, training, and playing with Cassie, her Australian Shepherd.
Read more about Lori Stevens at SeattleTTouch.com
Eric Sueltenfuss is a Certified Canine Specialist through the Northwest School of Canine Studies. He is dedicated to furthering his knowledge through continuing education courses and trainings. He has studied animal learning theory and a broad range of science-based training techniques and practical applications.
Bridge The Bark is part of a community of Force-Free practitioners, dedicated to changing the world of canine training.
Read more about Eric here.
By: Danette Johnston
Owner - Dog's Day Out, Ballard, WA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Licensed AKC CGC Evaluator
NW Coordinator, Doggone Safe
When I opened a dog day care 19 years ago, I did so because I had been working a shelter and noticed that the majority of the dogs in the shelter were there because they were not getting enough stimulation, both physical and mental. I thought a dog coming to day care five days a week would be swell. “A tired dog is a well behaved dog” right? Well, what I found in reality is that five days a week of day care is actually quite stressful for a dog, and an over-tired dog is not relaxed, but stressed.
I believe the worst part of a dog attending day care everyday was that the dog was not doing OTHER things or going other places. Unfortunately, we (myself and the dog’s guardians) thought we were doing the best thing for the dog by having them active five days a week but what really happened is that the guardians did not do other things with the dog or take him other places because he was so “tired” from day care. So, the dog ended up “well-socialized” in the day care setting but not at all
comfortable in new circumstances. In fact, now we do not allow dogs to come to my day care everyday and recommend maybe 2-3 days of day care with alternating days going elsewhere doing walks and various indoor and outdoor activities (off leash, tricks, games, nose work etc.).
What changed? I blame scientific research! People started studying dog’s brains in more depth. Studies started around the world including, in the United States, with
Dr. Gregory Berns doing a MRI on an awake dog at Emory University in 2012 and Brian Hare working on Dognition at Duke University. In Hungary, the Family Dog
Project continues to study our pet dogs’ brains and behaviors. We were and are, getting much more information on the canine brain.
So what do we know now? Respect The Nose! We now know a dog’s walk is much more about his nose than about his legs and lungs and that, for some dogs, 10 minutes of mental enrichment can be the equivalent of 30 minutes of physical activity.
What can you do to enrich your dog’s life?