By William R. Nadeau
As a professional dog trainer, I am often asked for pet advice for all sorts of doggie dilemmas. One question frequently comes up among clients who are selling their homes: “What do I do with my pets if my home has a showing?”
Since moving to Dallas, in addition to my dog training business, I have been involved in real estate staging. I often think of home staging solutions for pet owners because you are, of course, trying to sell your house — but you love your pets and care about their well-being!
Here are a few options:
Crates and Kennels
For dogs who are not reactive and are reliably crate-trained, this is the best option if you cannot take your dog for a walk or don’t have enough advance notice before your showing. Your dog’s crate should be a safe haven and should not be used for time-outs.
To minimize the chance of nuisance barking at the strangers who are touring your home, there are several things you can try. First, you should cover your dog’s kennel with a blanket. This can give a sense of security and will not allow strangers to make eye contact with your dog, as eye contact can be considered threatening.
The use of a chew or rawhide is great, but you should definitely consider stuffing a Kong toy with some peanut butter and dry kibble. Freezing this distracting snack makes it last even longer! A busy dog in a crate will be less likely to disrupt the showing process.
Take a Long Walk
On average, I’ve found that a real estate showing can last about 30 to 45 minutes. If you are home with your dog when the Realtor shows up, that’s your cue to go for a long walk. This will not only give you and your dog some exercise, but there will be no chance that your dog could ruin the chance of a contract!
Daycare and Dog Walkers
If you’re lucky enough to have advance notice of a showing appointment, or your Realtor has scheduled an open house, it would be in your best interest to look into doggie daycare. Daycare is a great solution for dogs who are well-socialized to other dogs, and gives you the added benefit of bringing a happy, tired dog home at the end of the day.
If your dog is older, or not too keen on other dogs, boarding at a veterinary office, groomer, or kennel facility is your best choice. Hiring a local dog walker to take your dog for a 45 to 60 minute walk may also be a viable option, however, once appointments are booked, they are not as flexible if the Realtor happens to show early, late, or if the showing takes longer than an hour.
For Cat Owners
One of the most important things you can do is to be sure that your litter boxes are sparkling clean! You wouldn’t want an unpleasant odor to put off a prospective purchaser, so be sure to scrub them well before each showing. Many pet sitting companies offer litter box cleaning service if you don’t want to do it yourself or don’t have the time. For those of you who have “indoor only” cats, it is always a good idea to kennel your cats in a carrier during showings to minimize the risk of your cats slipping out the door.
William R. Nadeau is a Dallas-area dog trainer and works with dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. If you need a trainer to help your dog’s behavior, contact Park Cities Pet Sitters at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-828-0192 to schedule a training appointment.
[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared here on CandysDirt.com on Feb. 21, 2013]