Dogs & home showings are a bad combination!


Liz Jenkins


I love my dog.  She’s great.  Sweet, well mannered and not too smelly for a lab.  But come near my house, and all bets are off.

You probably love your dog too.  Maybe you think that she’s so cute that anyone looking at your house will just be enthralled with her.  Or that buyers won’t notice any doggy odor because she doesn’t smell.  And the dog poop in the backyard just adds character.  Think again.

Here’s my top 5 reasons for NOT leaving your dog at home when your house is being shown:

1.  It’s your dog’s house.  Any dog worth their salt is going to want to protect their property.  I don’t care if it’s a 150 Great Dane or a 6 pound chihuahua (personally I’d rather take my chances with the Great Dane), that dog is going to protect its turf.  No matter how sweet your dog may be when you are around, if a stranger (or group of strangers) comes waltzing in – watch out.  You are just asking for trouble.  It may be in the form of growling, charging, snapping or even a bite.  This isn’t exactly how you want people to remember your house!

OK, you say, I’ll put the dog in the backyard or a crate in the garage.  Not such a good idea either.  If the dog is in the backyard, then no one will go out there to see it and they will probably stand at the back door barking and scratching.  If they are in a crate, they will most likely be howling and barking.  This is not only stressful for the dog, but for the prospective buyers.  All they are thinking is, “that poor dog” and “why did those people (YOU!) leave them cooped up like that”.  At least that’s what I’d be thinking, being the dog lover that I am.

2.  Your dog smells.  Leave a dog in the house and you get the occasional accident, the inevitable scooting, the “I just rolled in something delicious” aroma, gassiness, and just general dog odor.  You may not notice it but your buyer will.  And they won’t like it.

3.  Your dog scares people.  I know, you love dogs.  Me too.  But a huge percentage of the population, a lot of whom are children, are petrified of dogs.  Do you want your house to be the one that makes a little girl hysterical?

4.  Your dog is annoying.  Even if your dog doesn’t go after intruders, chances are they will want attention.  I know mine does when anyone is in the house.  A wet nose up a skirt, slobber on dress slacks or knocked down by an enthusiastic golden retriever is not the way to make a showing go well.  Not to mention the continual dropping of (slimy, disgusting, barely recognizable) toys and balls at the feet of people trying to admire your crown molding.

5.  Your dog is distracting.  The main goal here is to sell your house.  If people are all busy playing with your dog or being scared off by your dog, they are not paying attention to all of the great features of your home.  Keep the buyers focused on how great your house is, not how great your dog is.

When I stage houses, I always ask about dogs and where they are going to be during showings.  Plan ahead!  Set up a dog sitter, a doggie day care or kennel, or a friend or neighbor who can run over and take the dog for a bit during a showing.  If you are home, take the dog with you – make sure your vehicle is empty enough to toss the dog in along with anything else you don’t want buyers seeing (dirty laundry or your lunch?).

Yes, that’s my dog.  And if you think you are getting in our house with us not home – think again.  And she smells.  And scares people.  And she’s really annoying and distracting.  We love her but if we were selling our house, she would NOT be there so someone could actually look at our house instead of being bombarded with slobbery tennis balls and mangled rope toys.