Finding a perfect apartment or house to rent is hard enough as it is. However, if you also have a dog, then the mission becomes even more difficult. While more landlords are becoming pet-friendly, there's still plenty of apartment complexes that prefer not to allow dogs (unless you sweeten them up and convince your landlord).
There are several ways to increase your chances of having the landlord allow dogs into the apartment. But one of the surest ways you can depend on getting into a pet-friendly apartment in the apartment complex is to have a Pet Resume for your dog. While in most cases that won’t be necessary, it can sometimes be extremely helpful or even required.
What Is a Pet Resume?
Just like your regular resume for finding a job, a pet resume is a new way to present your dog and his best qualities to a landlord or a real estate agency. It also gives you a chance to present yourself as a responsible pet owner and tenant who cares about “the rules.”
According to one 2014 survey, more than 70% of tenants have a pet; however, that doesn’t translate to the number of pet-friendly rentals available. Fortunately, in the last couple of years, this is starting to change and one of the reasons for the way in which landlords view pets are pet resumes (and diligence of pet owners).
Landlords have valid concerns about dogs and other pets. They need to ensure that pets are well trained and that owners are responsible. This is why a well-written, informative and persuasive pet resume for the dog can demonstrate there's less to be concerned about and convince the landlord to accept your pet.
What to Include in Your Pet Resume?
While a pet resume for dogs is a new trend and it is hard to say exactly what works (we're yet to gather all the statistical data), there are a few things that must be a part of a good pet resume, some of which are similar to a dog modeling resume.
Start your dog’s resume the same way you would your own – by introducing yourself and then your pooch. Here are some of the basic facts you should include on a pet resume:
Your Information. While the landlord already has all your details, you want to attach your (a) full name, (b) phone number, (c) email address to your dog's pet resume just so that it's easier for the landlord to associate the dog with you.
Dog’s Name. The only thing important here is to change your dog’s name, at least for the purpose of the resume, if it contains violent or offensive connotations. But if you picked one of the coolest dog names for your pup, then you have nothing to worry about – print it in bold black letters at the top
Dog’s Breed. Whether it's true or not, landlords will always assume that a dog’s breed can tell a lot about pet's personality. Whether the dog is friendly or not, how prone the dog is to barking, and more. Those assumptions may not be always right but it's important to be honest here and include the breed with confidence. Of course, even if you have a breed that landlord views as having bad personality traits, like aggression or hyperactivity, that’s not the end of it. My tip? Write something like “the mellowest Pekinese in the world”.
Size and Weight. While your dog’s breed is often a good indicator of the dog's size and weight, that’s not always the case, especially if you have a mixed breed. Also, not all landlords are familiar with different breeds and the size and weight of your dog are often the most important factors landlords will consider.
Note: In most cases, landlords will want to stay away from large dogs since they can do the most damage to the property. If you have a large dog – and I'm not saying you should do this – technically, you can slightly lower the dog's weight number a bit to make him somewhat smaller and lighter by the numbers in the pet resume.
Age and Sex. Age is important because many landlords don’t like puppies or adolescent dogs. That is understandable since young dogs are often still learning how to behave or getting housebroken and may cause more trouble. Sex is generally not important, but you should still include it in your dog’s resume just to show diligence.
The most important part of your dog’s health information is proof of vaccinations, so include all the details that your pooch is up to date with all of the necessary vaccines and medications. You can also point out that you take your dog to vet often for regular checkups (writing down either how often, or dates of some recent visits) and include your veterinarian's name and clinic in the pet resume if the landlord wants to contact him for any additional information (very unlikely that they would).
Another dog health related fact landlords are interested in is your dog’s spay or neuter status. Landlords know that this can affect a dog’s level of aggressiveness, as well as the dog's “odor levels,” and they would generally prefer a spayed/neutered dog. If your dog is not fixed, that can also signal the intention of breeding. If you don’t want to breed your dog, consider a spaying or neutering procedure before you start looking for an apartment.
Make sure to point out your dog’s good behavior in the pet resume. Some of the things you should mention are:
- Dog's temperament – make sure to point out the details of the temperament (not just “it's a good dog.”) Include specifics such as “quiet and calm,” “doesn’t bark without cause” and “obedient and non-aggressive.”
- Dog's training – note that your dog is well-trained and great at obedience, socialized and friendly towards other animals and strangers. If you have a certificate from a dog training course to prove it, all the better. If you don’t have it, arrange for your dog to get a training certificate if you can (always helps).
- Dog's energy levels – write that your dog is not hyperactive, constantly trained and exercised, and you keep him active or that you walk him regularly.
- Dog's likes and dislikes – in the final “additional notes” section, writing about the things that your dog likes to do, like solving puzzles for treats or playing with his favorite toy (instead of chasing after neighbors) can endear him to a potential landlord.
It doesn't necessarily mean that the landlord will specifically care about all these aspects on a pet resume, but the more you can include, the better you and your dog will look.
To further expand the pet resume (which would generally be pretty thin) you can include additional information which helps the landlord to familiarize with the dog and start liking him just from the dog resume alone.
Your Dog’s Photo
Choose a great (read: friendly) photo of your dog. It is best to use an outdoors photo since that sends a message that your dog is not cooped up indoors all the time. Find a photo where your pooch looks adorable and sweet rather than aggressive, and place his photo at the top of the resume.
If you have already rented an apartment with your dog before, say so in the pet resume and include the rental dates (or any other pet related additional information). You can add a small note that it was a great experience for both you and the landlord. If you can provide a reference or a letter from your previous landlord with contact details, that would be a massive bonus that's likely to win your landlord over.
Even well-behaved dogs can turn into a menace if the owner is not a responsible person. Write down all the things you do to make sure that your pooch is always on his best behavior for the landlord's piece of mind:
- You have a regular daily walking schedule and routine, and always clean up after your dog.
- You spend enough time with your dog, playing with hi, exercising him and grooming him regularly.
- You have arrangements in place for your dog when you are away from home.
At the end of the dog's pet resume, mention anything else that you deem important, like being a member of animal organizations or charities, or if you have renter's insurance that specifically covers pet damage.
If you are not sure how to write a pet resume from scratch, you can find examples online or use a template like this. You can even find professional writers for pet resumes if you find it necessary but the site is usually good enough.
Having a well-written pet resume for your dog can help you get your favorite apartment to rent and live there with your best friend. Even if a pet resume is not necessary, it can be a factor that tips the scale in your favor – your landlord may not even look at it, but knowing that you've gone through the trouble will give you extra points.