Finding a place to live in New York City is no easy task. Finding a building that accepts your beloved four-legged roommate can make the challenge feel nearly impossible.
But what if you could prove your pal is a good canine citizen?
The American Kennel Club offers a special test and Canine Good Citizen certification for dog owners to show they are well-trained and prepared for life in the big city. There is a nominal fee for the test.
“We are finding more condo associations and co-ops want to know dogs will be safe,” said Mary Burch, director of the Canine Good Citizen program at the American Kennel Club. “A lot of people even bring resumes for their dogs during interviews.”
To receive Canine Good Citizen status, dogs must prove they can walk without pulling on their leash, show they can sit and stay, as well as be handled by veterinarians and other important behaviors.
Burch said the test was unveiled more than 25 years ago, partly because of the hysteria over pitbulls being viewed as a dangerous breed.
“We wanted to show that all dogs, if they are trained and in the hands of responsible owners, can be good citizens,” she said.
Christine Longcore, a Brooklynite who started The Doberman Gang of NYC, said some dog owners need all the help they can get when trying to convince boards and management companies. Her Doberman named Lucy, is a lovable mush, despite the breed’s bad reputation as guard dogs.
“Lucy is the friendliest dog on the planet,” Longcore said. “But I’ve had members’ landlords see Dobermans on paper and won’t even consider them.”
She encourages her members to attend training sessions with their dogs and then take the Canine Good Citizen test.
Over the years, more than 889,000 dogs across the country have passed the test. American Kennel Club also offers Urban Canine Good Citizen for pooches who live in a city environment like New York.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are 75 approved instructors and evaluators in the city who conduct about 2,500 tests every year.
“We always meet dogs when we are filling apartments in a building as part of the process,” said Douglas Wagner, a licensed associate real estate broker with Bond New York Properties LLC.
Wagner said potential tenants or buyers who have the Canine Good Citizen certification can help make a good first impression.
“It shows you are trying to be a good member of the community and you want your dogs to get along with everybody,” Wagner said. “It makes a big difference in how you are perceived.”