We want to take a moment to drop the dog puns and speak seriously about dog-sharing.
Our mission at Social Paws is to increase the health and happiness of humans and dogs everywhere by creating connections that can result in lasting and fulfilling relationships.
We are so grateful to have you in our community, with an open heart and mind about sharing the dog care, whether you’re on Team Paws or Team Social.
On our way to our goal, however, we will be encountering many new humans and dogs and the reality is that things will happen. And we want to approach dog-sharing with open eyes to do so smartly and safely.
Dogs are dogs.
At their core, dogs are unpredictable animals. We also have limited communication with and knowledge of them. Even the sweetest dog can be provoked and surprise us with aggressive behavior. Sometimes, even friendly behavior can feel startling if a strong and energetic dog is happy to see us – yes, we have been head-butted during a dog greeting.
Put simply, dogs have moods, preferences, and triggers that we aren’t always aware of and this reality multiplies with dog-sharing – spending time with a stranger’s pup.
You are the vetter.
One of our most-asked questions is, “How does Social Paws vet people?” The answer? We don’t. Social Paws is an open source platform to help you match, message, and meet with neighbors who are open to dog-sharing, whether they are on Team Paws (dog-owners) or Team Social (dog-lovers w/o dogs). Our platform is open for everyone to join just like the dog-park is open for everyone to walk into. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to use your best judgment at every stage: matching, messaging, and meeting – to vet one another. Build trust over time with real feedback.
The criticalness of taking the real-life dog walk(s) together.
We intend for everyone to take a real-life walk together. And to do that as MANY times as necessary for all parties to feel completely comfortable and actually EXCITED to dog-share. You’ve connected with a lovely neighbor and the messaging is going well? Schedule a dog-walk together for the first mutual availability. Team Paws walks their dogs at least 2x/ day, so it shouldn’t take too long to connect this way. This is where the comfort can really be gauged, between dogs and humans.
It’s important to talk openly, ask questions, and share about how to best walk and care for the dog potentially being shared. Team Paws: this is the opportunity to have Team Social take the leash and guide them as they encounter various scenarios with your dog: other dogs, humans, stimulus, etc. A single walk together might be enough to activate dog-sharing. But everyone’s comfort-level is different. Ask yourself: is my dog excited to see Team Social? Does Team Social seem confident with my dog? Is Team Paws confident with Team Social? Take as much time as necessary to get to yes’s for all of these questions.
The importance of on-going communication.
Even with multiple dog walks, it’s impossible to cover everything inside of a walk. Questions will inevitably arise when Team Social is alone with a pup. It’s imperative that Team Paws is available to answer questions during shares, especially in the beginning. Even though dog-sharing is an amazing way to share the care and get a break from dog- parenting duties, we don’t want to be checked out. We want to always be available and communicative because we’re building a community and local friendships that help everyone. And we want to be a positive contribution in that.
Take a real life dog walk together to talk about your dog’s personality & tendencies. Then keep the communication line open!
The importance of reporting.
Social Paws is a decentralized and open platform. And that is awesome in that it’s free space by the dog-people, for the dog-people. And that also means that we are all in charge of policing the space to make it a safe one. As much as we believe that all dog-people rock, all open platforms have bad apples. With our community empowered to rate and report, we minimize risks together. Social Paws treats reports seriously and fairly. We read every report and assess the frequency and severity of incidents to inform our actions.
The importance of ratings and reviews
As you browse profiles, you will notice ratings and reviews on every profile. Everyone has the opportunity to rate and review one another. Use this to help add value to someone’s profile or provide fair warning to other members. User ratings and feedback are very important, as we have experienced with everything from Amazon to Airbnb. We inherently trust what the majority is saying about a given experience. So use this as a safety tool and Social Paws will keep this feature honest and free of ads and algorithms.
It’s all good.
With all of the safety mentioned, we want to close on the reminder that dog-sharing can be really, really wonderful. We have experienced wonder and joy along with these important lessons we just shared with you. So, we want you to know that there are dog-lovers willing to share the care right in your neighborhood. Simply share safely and you are on your way to experiencing the benefits of dog-sharing. We believe you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Check out our FAQs for more information on how Social Paws works, our safety measures, and more!
Download Social Paws & start Dog-Sharing now.