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InnDeep

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Seeking experience with having your own dogs in your Inn? We have a young yellow lab and an older spaniel - they are trained and would stay in our owners quarters upstairs but would have to go through the Inn to be walked. We just bought the Inn and those who are already booked this fall would not have expected dogs on the premises. We have an outbuilding we could house them in during the day if necessary. I’m just looking for input and advice from other innkeepers with dogs. We are considering making two of our rooms pet friendly next spring, but need some time to adjust our website. Etc.
 
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InnDeep

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How can I be of help?
/dog owner
/dogfriendly inn
/woof
My questions thus far:
Would you suggest having only a few rooms as “dog friendly”? Our outbuilding isn’t technically zoned to be rented (although we stay there on very busy weekends to rent our top floor) so pet rooms would have to be in the main house, I’m concerned that might upset other guests?
Do you require crates? Do you provide dog walking/TLC services? Our beach (Assateague Island Refuge) doesn’t allow dogs on it, so guests will need someone to care for their animals while they bike/hike/swim, etc on the Refuge.Do you charge a pet fee? Is it Refundable?

Finally, as a pet owner, how do you handle having your own dog at the Inn? Do you put info about him/her on your website as a “mascot”? I’m most concerned right now that we have bookings this fall that would not have been apprised of the incoming dogs. Once we shut down this winter, I’m hoping I can adjust both the physical plant & website/marketing to appropriately reflect our new “dog friendly” /“dogs live here” reality lol 😂

Just FYI, We are a 7 BR Victorian with one 2BR outbuilding. We don’t have a large yard but are near a nice waterfront park & are discussing fencing in our side yard to create a bit of a dog run. I’m a huge dog lover and our lab is very friendly - our spaniel is a bit neurotic and prefers to stay to himself. My husband keeps wanting to put a doggie door somewhere (a la our former suburban home) but I feel like walking the dogs may work better given our space constraints and downtown restaurant neighbors, etc. Any feedback from dog friendly Inn Keepers/dog owning Inn Keepers is welcome. Thank you GS!!!

p.s. right now the dogs are at our old home, due to arrive 10/16
 

JimBoone

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Would you suggest having only a few rooms as “dog friendly”?

Finally, as a pet owner, how do you handle having your own dog at the Inn?

p.s. right now the dogs are at our old home, due to arrive 10/16
InnDeep: I'm not currently a pet owner and we don't allow pets at the motel, you may choose to discount my thoughts, yet maybe a view from that side is useful.

We have health/allergy/breathing issues, we personally shy away from pets with those thoughts in mind, but I'm a believer that your inn should reflect YOU and attract guests of a like mind, may be slower getting started, but in the long haul, both you and your guests are happy.

Your pets or allowing guests to bring pets, your choice, having a dog yard might well be a plus to you and your guests. I don't know your season, but ours gets quiet after October, maybe not that much to worry about this year, if your guests don't like dogs, you may lose them anyway.

Website and physical plant. I'm no web expert, but manage my website, it is sure an advantage to be able to make quick changes yourself when needed, you would find that a plus. In the past we accepted pets, and like guests, there were good and bad. I think accepting pets opens an additional market to you, but I would think through room design and furnishing, the better you can make it for guests and still have it efficient and easy on yourself, those things pay off in happiness.
 

CoralKeeper

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I love this question!

We opened our B&B in January and I stressed mightily over what to do with our 2 older rescue pups. I wish I could go back and tell myself to chill out :).

First, all websites about our property make it clear that there are pets on property, and I posted in my FAQs the following:
Question: May I bring my pet?
Answer: Unfortunately no guest pets are allowed at this time. However, the owners have two very friendly rescue dogs who enjoy a good head scratch and a walk on the beach if you miss your pets at home.

And I am VERY glad I do not allow guest pets as it adds a dynamic and a cleanliness factor I don't want to have to deal with.

Second, my dogs have to walk through the main area in the evenings as well to head to our Innkeeper Suite. They are not aloud to lounge around at all, and are not allowed anywhere else inside the property. We always wait until guests have retired to bring them in. We also ensure that upon guest arrival the dogs are in a comfy indoor/outdoor kennel run where they cannot be seen or heard. In our opinion, the guest arrival should be about the guest, not about the dogs, no matter how dog friendly they are. Once the guests have enjoyed the evening and we haven't heard a "I hate dogs" or "I'm allergic" comment, we will allow the dogs access to an outdoor run area that is still secluded and gated on the side of the property. Guests aren't allowed in there, but if walking the property they will see them and know they are there.

Third, (as just one example) we've had guests stay for 2 weeks who had no idea there were pets on property, and were actually disappointed to learn they were here at the end. We've had 1 couple in 8 months who didn't care about pets (they didn't care they were here - and they just didn't care about them at all). Everyone else has been dog lovers and begged me to let them out to play and come inside. I NEVER let the dogs inside to free roam (I don't want pet dander and fur infiltrating every crevice of the property for me to have to clean even more than I already do) and 90% of the time I deter outdoor engagement as well. It's only folks who have dogs and whom I've determined truly are "all in" on loving animals that I let interact. I don't want my dogs begging the guests for attention, and I don't want the guests lasting memory to be one of the dogs - I want it to be the overall experience at our unique, boutique B&B.

And from a security perspective, I'm very glad that my island community knows there are dogs here. It is definitely a deterrent to crime in a high tourism area that (though infrequent) can be prone to "issues."

Hope this helps. There will come a day a guest will be unhappy about the dogs - I expect that. And we will work with it as it comes. Love my pups and our guests!!!!!
 

theinnonthird

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We do not allow dogs (except for service dogs, of course), for the following reasons: extra cleaning, potential noise and disruption to other guests. Many guests choose us over another place in town as we do NOT allow pets. We have 2 dogs of our own, but we do not live onsite.

In regards to your current bookings that are not aware, I would perhaps send them a letter introducing yourselves and your family (including the pets). If they have an issue with the dogs, that would give them the opportunity to cancel. Yes, you might loose out on some deposits, BUT personally, I would rather have that room freed up for someone who will be fine with the dogs on premises, than risk a grumpy guest who complains about having been misled and a surefire negative review.
 

Camge

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Hi! Our B and B is 434 on Main in Amagansett. We are dog friendly and have our own Standard Poodle MOlly who is sought out by all of our guests. We have been open for 7 years. Very seldom do dogs cause problems. Sometimes extra dog fur cleaning and on occasion we have a dog(dogs) bark and their owners have to come back and get them. Our non dog owner guests seem to like the dogs also. Only once we had a family from China who were shocked to see dogs. By the end of the weekend they were posing with every dog they could . We do not take children. One caveat. Our Standard poodle is a certified Therapy dog trained to work in Hospitals, nursing homes and schools. It has been invaluable. She also knows our kitchen is her safe place where she can retreat from guests and guest dogs. If someone has such severe allergies to dogs they can find other accommodations. It has worked for us. Feel free if I can be of help. We also have a large fenced in backyard. ❤
 

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Como Depot

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I would start with clarification of what you mean by not expected dogs, I have certainly stayed at places that had a dog, and I did not know beforehand if they did or didn't. I have had a dog and have had periods when I have not had a dog, currently also have a cat on loan as the mice issue this year got bad. I include in the photos a picture of the dog, but never made a big fuss about it.
 

Morticia

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Funny (not) story about dogs/no dogs. The PO’s here had both a dog and a cat (my apartment still bears some signs) and they allowed dogs in one room. The never expressly stated there were pets on the premises and they did not include info about the pet friendly room. If you asked, you got the room. Otherwise, it was a secret. Or so it seemed.

Like you, we wanted to be up front about all of it. We posted pix of our dog on the site, we proclaimed the dog friendly room. We’re also had to deal with guests who knew nothing about the pets on the premises or the dog room.

First instance of ‘problems ahead’ was the guest who received our confirmation email for their usual room wherein it was mentioned this room was ‘dog-friendly.’ They called immediately and yelled at me. I had ruined their vacation, they could not stay in that room, we had some nerve changing the way the previous owners did things, they never allowed pets in the rooms!!! I guess I’m glad we lost that guest as they obviously were not going to be happy with us.

You have pets, make them a feature. Post pix of them. Includestories about them on your social media. Pretend it’s no big deal. When you get to the point where you allow pets, be specific in all your materials. What you don’t want are surprised guests.

My biggest recommendation is to not allow your pets in the guest spaces except for those trips outside. I’ve stayed too many places where a variety of pets had free reign and it wasn’t fun. Having dogs jumping on me or the furniture, birds flying around, dogs begging at the table. No, not fun. And I’m a dog person!
 

ramonalea

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Seeking experience with having your own dogs in your Inn? We have a young yellow lab and an older spaniel - they are trained and would stay in our owners quarters upstairs but would have to go through the Inn to be walked. We just bought the Inn and those who are already booked this fall would not have expected dogs on the premises. We have an outbuilding we could house them in during the day if necessary. I’m just looking for input and advice from other innkeepers with dogs. We are considering making two of our rooms pet friendly next spring, but need some time to adjust our website. Etc.
I would try one room first before opening up a second. We were a no pets inn but I allowed it once when we were taking Hurricane evacuees. Made them buy a crate and offered our back yard where our dog roamed to keep theirs out there during the day. Next morning the gentleman told me his girlfriend had an accident and peed in the bed. OK....this was all after breakfast, they left and we went up to the room to check it out. The smell was horrendous, NOT human pee, and besides that they tried sopping up the pee and plugged up the the toilet. Too top it off my hubs was being friendly to the dog in the back yard giving it food and water as owners were completely ignoring it and the dog bit him. We learned our lesson and never allowed another dog on the premises.

PS it takes a lot of cleaning to get the smell out of the bedding and even worse beings we were without power for 3 days because of the hurricane.
Go slow and do what works best for you, but when I go to rent a room and it is dog friendly I go to another one. All it takes is for one dog to pee in your room and others will follow in that same area. We love dogs and our furbaby just passed but NO for us when looking for our next rental.
 

GoodScout

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Would you suggest having only a few rooms as “dog friendly”?
It works well to have dog-friendly and non-dog rooms. For us, 6 of our 9 rooms are dog-friendly, and we reserve the 3 in our Main House as dog-free. This gives you the flexibility to have a room for guests who say they don't like dogs or are allergic. For us, it gives us the added benefit of saying to guests "we don't allow dogs in the Main House, which precludes them from trying to bring their dog to breakfast. You do not want dogs in your dining room. We stayed at a dog-friendly B&B that did that, and it's nothing but trouble.

Do you require crates?
We don't require them, but tell guests "You're dog is welcome to have free run of the room, even while you're gone, as long as they're not destructive or disruptive." If they are, then we even have a couple of crates we can loan guests.

Do you provide dog walking/TLC services?
Yes. Our staff will walk dogs for a tip. We have a couple of packages where we throw it in. The staff loves it (it's a break from cleaning rooms) and the guests appreciate it. We ask guests at breakfast what time(s) they want their dog walked. Then we give them a "report card" in their room telling them what their dog did on their walk (see below).

Do you charge a pet fee?
No.

Is it Refundable?
You're asking about a deposit. We don't charge a deposit, but let guests know they'll be charged for any damage. It rarely happens (Most common is dog nails scratching the windowsills when they're looking out the windows).

Finally, as a pet owner, how do you handle having your own dog at the Inn? Do you put info about him/her on your website as a “mascot”?
Maple, our tiny Shih Tzu, is billed as our "Morale Officer." When our beagles were alive, they were on the website as our "Director of Security" (one beagle howled once every time a car pulled up) and CKO (Chief Kissing Officer).

I’m most concerned right now that we have bookings this fall that would not have been apprised of the incoming dogs.
Just as we don't let others' dogs in the Main House, our Shih Tzu remains in the owners area or our office when guests are on property. She gets to come out in the living room on zero days. Dogs aren't like cats - there are a lot fewer potential guests who are allergic.
You could make your 2BRs dog friendly and leave the main house dog free. Most people traveling with dogs either have kids or want more space. We don't have a fence on the property or a dog run, and we require guests to keep their dogs on leash (you never know how even the nicest dog will interact with another dog).

Walking your dog is a good thing, better than a run or dog-door. We have a 4pm walk every day and it helps us clear our heads and reconnect in the middle of check-in crazy.

Good luck!

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InnDeep

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InnDeep: I'm not currently a pet owner and we don't allow pets at the motel, you may choose to discount my thoughts, yet maybe a view from that side is useful.

We have health/allergy/breathing issues, we personally shy away from pets with those thoughts in mind, but I'm a believer that your inn should reflect YOU and attract guests of a like mind, may be slower getting started, but in the long haul, both you and your guests are happy.

Your pets or allowing guests to bring pets, your choice, having a dog yard might well be a plus to you and your guests. I don't know your season, but ours gets quiet after October, maybe not that much to worry about this year, if your guests don't like dogs, you may lose them anyway.

Website and physical plant. I'm no web expert, but manage my website, it is sure an advantage to be able to make quick changes yourself when needed, you would find that a plus. In the past we accepted pets, and like guests, there were good and bad. I think accepting pets opens an additional market to you, but I would think through room design and furnishing, the better you can make it for guests and still have it efficient and easy on yourself, those things pay off in happiness.
Thank you For your honest feedback! I particularly like what you said about the Inn needing to reflect us, and that the guests we lose over the dogs we were going to lose anyway - we are who we are. I can appreciate that guests with allergies must stay elsewhere, I have violent asthmatic reactions to cats, so I get it. I have a web programming background so get frustrated with paying InsideOut to do our website but just don’t have time yet to do anything myself, and I’m 8 years out of the game, so wouldn’t really know where to start to do it myself anymore - although I applaud you! Doing your own site is smart!
 
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