By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Sep 26, 2023 at 11:56 AM

In a new app called Sniffspot, humans can rent out a private yard through an app on their phone, then enjoy some off-leash time with their dog in the privacy of someone else's backyard.

It's a slightly strange concept at first, but actually makes a lot of sense. Not everyone has access to a fenced yard and not everyone feels comfortable bringing their dogs to dog parks and just about everyone has a phone so... Sniffspot, it is!

Sniffspot is a nation-wide app that allows humans to rent yards by the hour. After providing their zip code to locate nearby sniff spots, humans pick the day and time and the prices range from about $8 to $20 per hour, depending on the digs. Sniffspot memberships are also available.

The yard rules vary depending on the rental location, but most are pretty obvious: scoop up after your dog does her business; don't invite other dogs into the space unless it's identified as playdate friendly; respect the plantings and personal belongings of the hosts; etc. 

Sniffspot also helps humans locate nearby hiking trails, dog-friendly water areas, trainers, agility parks and more.

I gave the app a test drive, and after putting in my South Side zip code was matched with about a half dozen yards that were within 5 miles and over 100 available spaces that were within an hour's drive. All of the locations have photos, some have cute names like "Zoomies Yard" and "Underdog Park."

As the caregiver of two tiny dogs and an entirely concrete backyard, I might consider trying out Sniffspot for real someday. I don't feel comfortable bringing my little ladies to dog parks – even those with areas for small dogs – and the mental image of them safely frolicking in a lush, green, fenced area full of brand new smells is a pleasant thought. 

Like any rental on the internet, Sniffspot is gonna attract both reliable and unreliable hosts and users, but for several dollars it might be worth a try. After all, a sniffing dog is a happy dog and a happy dog makes a happy human.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.