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Animal Fearing Guests


We clearly state in our listing that we have a dog. We put it in the “Other Things to Note” section (top line), we put a photo of our dog in the listing photos, and we checked the box saying “Pet(s) live on property” that guests must acknowledge prior to booking. We even state in the comment for that check box saying, “We have one 12 pound Maltipoo that is super friendly and adorable! **Please do not book our place if you or the guest joining you is afraid of dogs.**”

So, last night we had some new guests self check-in while we were out at the movies. Our dog, Coco, was at her grandparents house visiting so she wasn’t at home during their check-in. By the time Coco got home, the guests were already in the room for the night. Then, this morning, the male guest opens the door and sees our dog and quickly tries to close the door because the female guest was absolutely deathly terrified of our 11lb, white, fluffy Maltipoo. The male guest eventually squeezes his way through the door and quickly shuts it behind him. The female guest wouldn’t even crack the door open until I picked up our dog.

This annoys and frustrates me to no end! We see our dog as a part of our family and often refer to her as our daughter. She is the most friendly, adorable, fluffy little dog you’ve ever seen.

To those hosts that have pet(s) on property, do you ever have guests that are deathly terrified of your pet(s)? Does it bother you when they are? Do you do or say anything about it?

Here is a photo of our terrifying Coco…


Oh dear @sirvin this is so frustrating for you and highly unfair for your supercute dog. Unfortunately the one thing we know is that guests don’t read and now apparently can’t see either if they missed the photo of your dog.

In your situation, I would have a chat with your guest. Say you are a little confused as to why they chose your place, which clearly has a pet, if the wife/girlfriend is petrified of animals?

I don’t think it would be fair for you to restrict your dog because of the guest’s phobia.

Personally, I would be inclined to suggest to them they cancel and find a pet free venue. Do make sure you follow up your chat by messaging them via Airbnb so there is a record.


So, one of the issues is that, so far, every guest that we’ve had that is afraid of our dog has been Chinese (and it’s always only the Woman that is afraid of her, never the guy). It could be a language barrier issue (aside from the photo of her in the listing).

They’re here for 3 days and don’t really want to lose out on that income nor do I want them to. I just simply told them that there may be times where they are coming and going and we won’t be here but our dog will and they’ll have to live with it (didn’t word it exactly like that). And I mentioned to them that we clearly stated in our listing that we had a dog. I don’t know how much they understood because of the language difference though.


Frustrating and not much you can do. Language barriers are sometimes really difficult. I just had great guests from Argentina. One of my house rules is that they MUST remove all trash upon check out. Do not leave it in my carport recycle bins. Where do I find their trash!?? Guess. The carport recycle bin. Such nice people but… they may not have read everything. Language issue?


PS. Coco is adorable! Now I get to show off my Winter, a PB Maltese. :rofl::rofl:


Thanks! Winter is adorable!! (She looks almost as terrifying as our Coco :wink: )


I thought Airbnb had a function which automatically translated listing copy and communications with guests. Perhaps I am mistaken?

Perhaps it would be worth having a few key phrases translated into Cantonese and Mandarin if you have lots of Chinese guest?


They do have that feature. I think the main problem is simply guests not reading the entire listing or even the house rules/acknowledgements. They just click through as quick as possible.


We do the same as you (pics of the cat, box checked, cat in house rules)… And have the same problem.

And our cat thinks that any closed door is blocking him from a mouse feast so he parks himself outside the guest room, which is great if the guests like cats, but…

The only thing that i worked out (at the very end of last season, so it was only available for the last 2 guests but i hope it works going forward) is I’ve put an airtight container of cat treats in the bedside cabinet drawer. if the cat gets inside or just too close, they can toss a few treats down the hall for the cat to chase.

It’s not perfect, but I’m hoping that the guests feel empowered rather than trapped.


Rat hunts are a nightly occurrence around here! This bruiser leaves them all over the place.


What?! Doesn’t she know it’s year of the dog? She should see Coco as an auspicious sign! Sigh.

There are so many threads here on the forum where the “guests not reading” is a theme. I have ranted about guests not parking where I want them to. I’ve worded it and pictured it in every possible way on the listing but it has no effect, people park where they want or think best.

I board dogs in my home and when I started Airbnb the guests were in my part of the house so they had to be cool with dogs. My initial title was “K9 Karma Casa now open to humans.” I loved it but it was too way too clever for the average American, never mind foreigners. I got a few guests who chose my place because of the dogs and that was always wonderful. But there was than one time where a couple asked for check in before I got home from work. I gave them the lock box code knowing the dogs were behind a baby gate in my bedroom. First they have trouble operating the key in the proper locks. They try calling but I’m a teacher and have my phone off during class. They get in but are upset by the dogs barking at them. They stayed two nights but canceled a third night for a week later. They also gave me a 3 star review. So I learned no checking in when I’m not home. Now I have added a bathroom and separate entrance so they aren’t in my part of the house.

Message every guest who inquires with a message about the dog. Don’t put it with other stuff. Say “First question: are you okay with staying in a home with a dog?” If they instant book, message them and tell them you have a dog.

Move the Coco picture up in the picture stream so they see it even if they only look at the first 3 or 4 pictures.

Take Coco back to grandma’s if you need the money that bad.



Winter sooo knows she’s a cutie-lootie!


Pffft no sympathy for animal fearing guests. I’d tell them to get a grip or get out (well, maybe I wouldn’t say it quite like that. I’d definitely be calling Airbnb to move them on asap)


Just did that :slight_smile:

Nah, I just told them they had to deal with it.


Unfortunately some guests don’t take responsibility for their choices. So they may ding you in the review, and with all your great reviews it won’t make a dent in your overall. And their Chinese review will show up first to Chinese guests, hopefully they will mention the dog and it will help alleviate the problem in the future.

Still, it’s unpleasant to get an unfair review.


It’s possible, but luckily with other guests we’ve had that are afraid of our dog, they didn’t write a bad review. So, hopefully this will be the same.


Here is a picture of Spike, my “terrifying” Yorkshire Terrier who weighs less than five pounds.

Guests don’t read. They also don’t look at the listing pictures. If they did, they would know I have a dog, since it’s mentioned at least FIVE TIMES in my listing. I’ve also got it in my house rules. I also send a message after they book to remind them. People still show up and look surprised. I’ve also noticed it’s the Asian guests who seem to have the phobia. I’m not sure why…

On the upside, when people have tried to cancel or shorten their stay because of the dog, AirBnB has always sided with me and paid me for the stay.

On a side note, I had a guest book last minute via Booking.com who mentioned in the review that he hadn’t realized that he had booked a private room in a shared home. The title of the listing is “Private Rooms in NE Edmonton Home”.



So pretty much like guests from around the world then, including our own domains…


I do everything you do including the photo of the “house staff” of my dog and one of the cats. I point out when guests arrive that the cat is very friendly and will try and get into the guest residence if the door is left open. Many guests turn up already knowing their names from the listing and looking forward to meeting them as they can’t keep pets in their own rental apartment. I remind the furry friends to be super friendly and “on song” as guests payments keep us all in quality kibbles. Then occasionally I get: “can you get your cat out of the flat my boyfriend is allergic to them!!!”. Occasionally though: “I am allergic to cats but really liked your place so I booked anyway and dosed up on antihistamines before I arrived”. So far no bad reviews but if they did I would just use it as an opportunity to remind people that as I say in the listing “if you have an aversion to cats or animals in general then this may not be the place for you”.

That’s my 13yo BC girl Jadey.


Oh god. My deepest sympathies. I don’t think this has anything to do with your doggie. I think your guest is insane. Definitely an unreasonable and irrational fear. I would just ride it out and let them be on their way. Thank god it’s only for three nights.

They probably won’t leave a negative review (especially in English), but even if they did, you know what to do. Response: ‘We are pleased to offer our adorable pet as a bonus to our guests. We are sorry that a guest with an apparent animal phobia chose a listing that clearly states there is a dog on premises. We hope this was a valuable learning experience and wish them well in their travels.’