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8 Reasons Dogs Shouldn’t Sell Real Estate

best dog in costume

I love my dog – I truly do. Sophie has been my dedicated companion for almost fifteen years. To me, everything she does is cute. I even excused the hole in my Persian rug as an accident (aw, com’on – there was a stuffed toy involved.) Nonetheless, when she brought in a mangled foreign object with a tail and laid it at my feet today, I was completely underwhelmed by her cuteness. Eventually I revived myself and decided, out of necessity, that Happy Hour would begin early in the Banta household. 

It turns out that the rat-looking object was a stuffed something she had buried in the yard until it had been appropriately seasoned.  I was consoled (the Scotch helped), but it did occur to me that there have been many incidents involving man’s best friend that should serve as reminders of why we should demand, and I mean DEMAND, that the little bowsers not be present at an open house. The following incidents – all true – make my case:


 1)      One seller had an amorous dog that had an obsession with humping. (I never caught the dog’s name, so I will call him Charlie Sheen.) This provided many nervous laughs at one open house, but it is probably not the most dignified presentation a Listing Agent can offer. In fact, a dead body in the corner with a cooler and a sign that says “Have a Cold One” might cause less discomfort. Unless he’s bearing flowers and a diamond, put humping Charlie in the dog house.

2)      There was a dog named Bob with a penchant for lifting his leg on foreign objects. Apparently he considered visitors “foreign.” Let’s be honest folks, no one needs pee on their leg – not even if it’s their own.  Sure, maybe you could offer hip boots to the guests or give Bob a Bobbit, but a better choice would be to show Bob the door.

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3)      Scooter did exactly that – he scooted.  Everywhere. From tile to Berber, Scooter liked to scoot the pooter. This is not usually appetizing. Of course, it would be worse if the Listing Agent did it, but it is tasteless nonetheless. Unless you can put a Swiffer cloth on his bottom and get him to do the hardwood, demand that cheeky Scooter launch his haunches outside.

4)      My client, Lori, had the cutest German Shepard puppy you have ever seen. Cuter than an Easter peep. Unfortunately, his new food did not suit his plumbing. Just before one open house, as Lori was about to leave, Bowie suddenly left a pile. And another. And yet another. It was like an explosion in a Hershey factory. As Lori tried to clean up and get him into his cage, visitors began to arrive. I was frantic as I directed people where to step in order to avoid the strategically placed land mines. Bowie and Lori are still my friends, and the house did sell, but I learned that “cute” is not a synonym for “fragrant;” and digested food is not a good decorating choice.


5)      Okay, this one involves a cat. But the paw count is the same. My partner was holding an open house, when he decided to show of the hand made custom cabinets in the kitchen. He opened the pantry, and a cat jumped down from the shelf, landing on him like Cato Fong in The Pink Panther. My partner screamed like a girly man, as did the prospective buyers. Thus I conclude that cats, too, should be sent to Club Med during an open house…unless the seller has a defibrillator handy.

6)      One woman had a dog who loved to turn in circles. Unfortunately, the dog would make himself dizzy and then fall on the ground in a heap. I was told this was very entertaining…but not when witnessed without explanation. It seems an agent was showing the property to several people when the dog decided to do its cabaret act in the back yard. The dog spun, flopped, and lay there in a heap of fur. Those who witnessed the stunt all screamed as the agent quickly called 911. When the paramedics arrived, they were directed to the back yard. The dog, excited to have a new audience, popped up and launched into an encore. Everyone had a great laugh, but the agent never got to pitch the house. The dog, however, got his own reality show.

7)      I heard about a dog that was left in the yard during showings – certainly a better choice than being inside. The dog, however, had had its vocal chords operated on to remove a growth. He still barked, but his bark was more like a gargle. When the listing agent followed up with the agent of a prospective buyer, he was told that the client loved the house but, “could never live next door to the old guy who was constantly hacking up phlegm.” (On the positive side, at least the old guy wasn’t mistaken for a scooter.)

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8)      Blanchie is now in doggie heaven, but she was a good ol’ girl – very loving and sensitive. Her masters, my clients, had already purchased their next home and were packing up to move while their house was on the market. As I was showing the house, I detected a peculiar, and somewhat offensive, odor in one room. After the open house, I mentioned it to my client. She was baffled and began to search the area. It seems that Blanchie, when fearful of abandonment, always had dyspepsia. Upon seeing the suitcases set out in the room, she had promptly walked over and vomited on top of the clothes. 

Blanchie made her point…and I hope I did, too. Our furry creatures, no matter how adorable, do not belong at Open Houses. Yes, a case can be made that they behave better than some people, which is the subject of my next blog. If you thought pets were a challenge, the best is yet to come…

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Written By

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.



  1. Matt Thomson

    November 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Cute stories, but I thought I’d throw in the one reason dogs SHOULD sell real estate just to stand up for our friends.
    People (some anyway) love ’em. In photos, they attract attention. Without wanting to open up an old debate, I was convinced about 5 years ago to use the photo of me and my dog in much of my marketing. I went through the whole thing about professionalism, non-dog lovers, etc, but was convinced to try it.
    6 referrals specifically due to that photo in 5 years. I can’t say I’m proud that other real estate agents’ perception of doing their homework on finding a solid referral agent consists of “My clients are dog people and your dog is so cute,” but whatever works!
    Would I ever take my dog with me and have him try to sell live? No! But the photo works wonders!

  2. Joe Loomer

    November 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    In February, Sherri and I adopted Bob’s twin – Rebel. He won’t pee ON you, but he’ll claim every dad-blamed other piece of furniture in the house.

    I once scolded him and put him out on the back patio, only to watch him walk over and claim my grill. When I scolded him about the grill, he claimed the cooler. Seeing how this was going, I stopped scolding him and let him back in. He claimed my slippers, my wife’s purse, two of the dining room chairs, and our other dog’s bed. Frustrated, we resorted to doggie diapers. They worked great, he stopped – that is, until diaper graduation day.

    This has nothing to do with selling or buying homes, but it does have to do with the amount of flooring I’ll be out when we DO finally sell our house.

    We’ve changed his name to “Ole Yeller” in the meantime. He’s a miniature pinscher.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Gwen Banta

    November 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I love dogs, Matt – and I love that photo of you and your buddy. In spite of the incidents referred to in my blog, I must admit that some dogs may be better at sales than a few people I know. If my dog had opposable thumbs and could take the written test, she’d make a good go of it. She’s a math whiz who knows exactly how many treats she can ask for before I lose my cool, and she can tell time – witnessed by the fact that she starts licking my face before the alarm goes off. I am not sure what kind of food selection she would muster up if she were conducting an open house, and I am sure she would sleep through it anyway. Caravan would be no problem for her, and I am convinced she could be trained to drive better than I do. (But so could Stevie Wonder.) If I can teach her to expel gas privately rather than in the middle of a dinner party, she could be a good agent. After all, a few of my colleagues haven’t even learned that trick yet.

  4. Gwen Banta

    November 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Joe, your household must be hilarious…and fragrant, too. I think Ole Yeller is the perfect name for your dog. Due to his size and penchant for baptizing the furniture, I might also suggest “Squirt.” Let’s be honest, our dogs get away with more than our kids. My nephew urinated on the wall once in his sleep, so now he’s known as “Rainman.” God needs to re-design the male member with sites so he can learn to aim.

  5. Gwen Banta

    November 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Welcome back, Tempe!

  6. Bob Gibbs

    November 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Great article and i’m still laughing. Anytime you have a picture of a Golden Retriever to start, I’m in.
    Your points are also correct. Dogs, as cute as they are, need to be gome when a home is being shown. We lost our 15 year old golden last year and our new little dog, his name is Kumar, shows his excitement for meeting new people by peeing on their shoes.

  7. Gwen Banta

    December 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    That’s a nice, warm fuzzy greeting, Bob. I’d like to pee on a few shoes myself.

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