You know how co-op board interviews are this intimidating New York Thing that rich people worry about? Well, it’s not just people — we read yesterday that people’s dogs are now having to pass these interviews along with their humans. It’s true! If you’re trying to get into a co-op and your dog is a bit barky or likes to jump — basically, if your dog sometimes messes up and acts like a dog — you may be out of luck. We asked around and found out some advice for making sure your doggy passes its interview.
Gordon Roberts, a broker with Warburg Realty, told us that “as a broker, I try to smooth the way for the meeting.” This includes helping the owners prepare a “profile” of the dog for the board to look at pre-interview.
“New York is so atypical of other real estate markets,” Roberts said. “This is kind of an ‘only-in-New-York’ thing.'” I’ll say!
We also spoke with Andrea Arden, a professional dog trainer. She said that demand for co-op board interview training has gone up in the past five years. She trains dogs in things like “elevator etiquette,” “walking nicely,” and being able to be quiet when they’re alone. Apparently, sometimes during an interview, the humans will just put the dog alone in a room to test whether or not it will bark. “There’s not always much you can do,” she said. Besides muzzling the dog, I guess.
Arden sets up sort-of “rehearsals” in which the dog is led through a series of situations that mimic a potential meeting. Dogs also take a “Canine Good Citizen” test that some co-op boards look at. “People are now doing things to build their pet’s résumé,” Arden said. Dogs! With résumés! Maybe we should just give up and consider them people now.
Let’s get servicey: What breeds are a better pick for this kind of thing? Arden said that dachshunds, beagles, and Yorkshire terriers, while small, are a pretty barky little group of dogs. Which, clearly, you’re not really going for. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some bigger dogs that “co-op boards will automatically raise an eyebrow about.”
Dogs are also taught something called “hand targeting,” which is basically a doggy handshake in which the dog uses its nose and gently nudges your hand. This is radically different from our family dog’s greeting method of knocking you down to the ground while licking your face, and much more appropriate for polite society.
Rich-people buildings are weird. Their doormen play Tooth Fairy, and your dog needs a résumé to get in. Maybe just get a cat? Though surely that’s a whole other can of Fancy Feast.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 7, 2010