Expert Advice on Hosting an Open House with Dogs

At Coldwell Banker, it’s clear that we believe a pet is Home’s Best Friend…

And while we truly believe a pet does make a house a home, we wanted to get the inside scoop on proper Open House etiquette for homes with pets. Here is what our Coldwell Banker experts had to say…

“Want to Go Bye Bye?”

Yes, the #1 tip from nearly every one of our agents was “take your pet out of the home during open houses.”  Christina Koch of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate put it best with “No Family Member Left Behind.” And while some may consider finding a “safe room” for their pet, Deborah Wynkoop of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Badenton, FL offers this advice…

Please take your pet with you during an open house; strangers can be very upsetting to your pets even if they are secured in a garage, etc., people want to see the entire property and no matter how careful everyone is, there is always a chance a pet can escape.

Safety and creating a stress free environment for all parties on open house day plays a major factor.  Heather Ostrom of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Roseville, CA echoes Deborah’s Advice…

Nobody wants a prison break of furry critters, nor limiting access to parts the home, it’s best to make a pet family day out of the home. Whether it’s a hike, walk, visit to the (dog) park or friend’s house. This also  helps with keeping all windows “nose-smudge-free.” 

Andree Hurley of Coldwell Banker BAIN in Seattle, Wa rounded out the idea of removing a pet during open houses with this remark:

While crating is a wonderful training tool and can be a humane way to keep a dog contained for a short time, it always causes me sadness to see a crated dog while I am touring. Consider your open house a time for everyone to take time-out to play! Find a new hike, go to a dog park or window shopping!

The Nose Knows

We laugh at the Febreze® commercials that over dramatize common household odors from cooking and pets but during an open house those smells can be a real turnoff for prospective buyers. Patricia “Patty” Spinner of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Westfield, NJ says:

Keep a bottle of Febreze® handy. Even though we don’t notice our own pets’ smells buyers can be very sensitive.

And while you’re at it, pay special attention to putting away dog beds, toys, etc. Not only are these items distracting but they could also cause your open houses guest to have allergy attacks.

And last but not least, some good news for our friends with gills :)

Dava Behrens with Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers in Corvallis, OR finished off our survey with…

Fish can stay.

For more expert selling advice click here.

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Finding Puppy Love at Home

Guest post from Darren Hoffman, Senior Manager of Products and Platforms for Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

I challenge you to find anything cuter than a cuddly, tripping and tumbling little puppy. We all love those oversize paws, floppy ears and let’s not forget about that adorable puppy breath. But to find puppy love, do you really need a puppy? Or, is an adult dog your perfect match?

If you’re thinking of welcoming a new dog into your home and have already determined which breed is best for you, your next decision should be if you should adopt a puppy or an adult dog. There is a lot to consider and it is not a choice to be made lightly. I’ll concede that the cuteness edge will almost always go to puppies, but here are three good reasons to consider adding an adult dog to your home.


Your Lifestyle

Are you a homebody or an on-the-go type of person? It is important to take a look at your lifestyle and determine if you truly have the time needed to raise a puppy. If your social or work schedule will keep you from devoting the time to take care of your little pup, you may want to consider a trained adult dog. This may help you avoid many stressful situations, including those little puppy surprises carefully left on your rug. Remember accidents do happen and we have found some cleaning tips to help keep your rugs and puppies happy.

Your Dog’s Personality

An adult dog’s personality is more developed and closer to what you can expect as a member of your family. Keep in mind, some behaviors that may have been established with a previous owner, good and bad, may be harder to change. So consider adopting an adult with a personality that fits your family or take home a pup and start molding them from day one to become the perfect match.


Your Family

If you have your own little toddlers or youngsters running around the house, you may want to wait before bringing home a puppy. Depending on their age, you may even want to consider if it is the best time to introduce a dog into your family circle. Unfortunately, too many times curious kids and dogs can accidently hurt each other. Consider this carefully, and if you do choose an adult dog, look for one that has been raised with and are comfortable around kids.

Over the years, we have brought both puppies and mature dogs into our home and found that they both require substantial investments in time and money. The rewards however are endless, as our faithful companions provide so much enjoyment and unconditional love to our family. As an added benefit, our children were able to help with the dog raising responsibilities. Let’s face it, kids will agree to almost anything to bring home a new dog and this was a great opportunity to teach them what it means to be a responsible pet owner.

Choosing to bring home a puppy or an adult dog is and should be a big decision, but taking the extra time to consider what’s best for you will help get the relationship off on the right paw.

To see what real puppy love looks like, check out the newest Coldwell Banker TV commercial, “Home’s Best Friend.”


Darren is Senior Manager of Products and Platforms for Coldwell Banker Real Estate.  With an awesome wife, three boys, two dogs and two cats, he is never bored.

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Homes for Dogs: The Story of Victor

It doesn’t take much to make us dogs happy, we aren’t complicated at all! Give us the companionship, food and love that come with a caring forever home and we will not only be grateful, but we’ll also be the best friend you’ll ever have.

I didn’t have a lot of either of those things at the start of my life. If you’ve ever watched “Hoarders” on my second favorite television channel A&E (my first is Animal Planet of course), then you’ll appreciate how crowded my “house” was as a puppy. Get this…I was one of 75 dogs that lived on a property in Lancaster! Oh, and we shared a “home” with 15 kittens, 30 chickens, 2 tortoises, a few dozen rabbits and a even few horses.

Feeding and sheltering all those animals is pretty impossible, so my diet consisted of stale bread donated from bakeries and spoiled leftovers. With a diet like that, it was hard to pack on the pounds to keep warm during the winter, so you can imagine how cold it was sleeping outside at night while keeping an eye out for coyotes.

A worker from the Cage Free Canine Camp in Culver City rescued me from that place and let me stay at her house while they tried to find me a forever home…which is funny because I already felt like I had found it. Luckily for me she felt the same way! My new “mom” is an actress but she treats ME like a star, I really couldn’t be happier. If you want to see just how happy I look, check out the new Coldwell Banker TV commercial – you can find me at the 36 second mark!

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Homes for Dogs: Max’s Story of Finding Home

Hello. My name is Max. It wasn’t always my name, but it’s the name that suits me best. It’s what my mom calls me (she’s the human in my home) and it’s the name that saved me. My first given name that I know of was actually, Breezy. Yes, Breezy. Did they not realize I was a male? Frank, Fido, or Fin would have been better, but you’ll see my name, much like my story, improves with time.

Sure I’m going to be on the Academy Awards as part of the new Coldwell Banker TV commercial, but the road to get there wasn’t an easy one for this two and a half year old Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mix.

My story begins a few years ago when I was found by animal control in a field and picked up as a stray because I had no collar, ID tag or microchip. I’m not quite sure who my owners were, but if you think being abandoned in a field is bad where I was headed next wasn’t much better.


Come on. Who could resist me?

You see I got sent to a “high kill” shelter in an area with a lot of animal cruelty and abandonment. Not cool at all, but because of this reality, the shelter only keeps the dogs they find for a total of 5 days. If I wasn’t claimed by the end of the fourth day, then I was scheduled to be euthanized on the 5th day.

My “time” at the shelter was nearing a close when I unfortunately caught a cold. Not a big deal, right? Well, evidently dogs with colds are deemed unadoptable (which surprisingly isn’t even a real word) and I was put back on the “kill” list for that day. Not good…

But that’s not the end of my story thanks to The Dexter Foundation, a local non-profit dog rescue and adoption agency. The Dexter Foundation called to check on my status as they had previously been informed about my situation, and after hearing I was about to be euthanized, they swooped in quickly to rescue me. They found temporary foster care for me while I was put up for adoption and given the name “Breezy.” Again, not the greatest of name choices, but these folks did save my life so I have to cut them some slack. While with the Dexter Foundation I got a microchip, was fixed and received all the necessary vaccinations. They even shaved my coat as I was extremely matted.

My owner (a.k.a. Mom) found me on as she was looking for a male dog to rescue/adopt and just happened to be searching for a dog my breed and age. Thank you fate for stepping in! As soon as she saw my picture she just knew I was the perfect pet for her. As you can see, I’m very photogenic.

She contacted the Dexter Foundation and arranged to go and meet me in person the next week at a local pet adoption event. I fell in love with her immediately and I could tell the feeling was mutual, but sadly she couldn’t take me home there and then…as much as I wanted her to. My owner had to go through a home visit and interview process to ensure she was a qualified owner for “Breezy” and that her home was pet friendly.

This is me after a long walk with mom.

This is me after a long walk with mom.

They were very concerned that I would escape as I had a few times before while foster care. Within a week, “Breezy” (or the dog soon to be named Max!) was now living with a new mommy! I will admit it was a very stressful first few weeks, more for mom than me, but we soon fell into a routine and it’s been bliss ever since. Now, I couldn’t imagine life without her and I know she feels the same way about me.

I get to go to work with her every day at the Siltanen & Partners ad agency, and I know I’m a part of a really big family there.

Who knows what my life was like during those first two years. I don’t like to think about it. Pretty soon after being adopted they discovered a lump on my leg, which when removed and biopsied was found to be a pellet from a bb gun. Yes, I was shot in my early life out in the “field.”

Sure I have a little skip in my step from this wound, but I’ve got an even bigger “spring” in my step now that I’m in a healthy, loving environment that I can truly call home.

If you want to give a dog a home, take a look at what Coldwell Banker is doing with their Homes for Dogs Project.

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Homes for Dogs: The Story of Layla

Howya! That’s how we Irish Setters say hello. My name’s Layla. I can hardly believe a little farm girl like me is now a dog star on the Coldwell Banker TV commercial on the Academy Awards! In case you didn’t catch my debut, check out my cameo at 00:14.

I’m a true country girl. Born on a farm near Toronto, I was bred to be put to use as a hunting dog. While most Irish Setters like myself have hunting ability in their genes, I just don’t have it in me. I’d rather hang out with people and keep them company! When my birth home realized they had no use for me, they decided that putting me up for adoption was the best option.


A young couple on tour with a Broadway show stopped by a shelter near the farm. They had been looking for an older dog to adopt, as they didn’t think they had time to train a puppy. As chance would have it, they overheard the call from the farm house saying they were going to put me up for adoption. Because the couple was already close by, they volunteered to drive out to the farm and pick me up for the shelter, though they agreed that a young pup like me wasn’t what they were looking for.

Unlike my hunting brothers and sisters on the farm who couldn’t get enough of the outdoors, I spent most of my time in the house. I really like people, so I stayed where I could hear voices and nuzzle humans to pet me. I was in the kitchen when the couple arrived and I was so excited to greet them, I couldn’t control my tail from slapping the floor. I decided I would adopt these two adorable humans on the spot and gave them my best puppy dog eyes.

The couple couldn’t resist my cuteness and decided to adopt me. We fell in love instantly and my new Mom and Dad took me home on the spot. On the drive home, Mom and Dad put on some Clapton and jokingly called me Layla. Well, the name stuck!


Now, home is a place always filled with people, music and love. And, happily for me, the only hunting I do these days is for more hands to pet me!

Thanks for letting me share my story. I hear that there are a lot of other dogs out there who are looking for humans to adopt. Learn more about the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project and search for a dog to add to your home.

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13 Spook-Free Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids & Pets Safe this Halloween

Halloween is full of tricks, treats, ghoulish games, frightening frocks, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, pumpkin packed parties, and of course spookiness! Unfortunately, all of the frightening fun has dangers lurking behind them. Whether you are a parent of two-legged loved ones or four-legged furry loved ones, it is critical to be aware of the true spookiness that is hiding behind all the ghostly fun. So I called upon two experts that have simple tips for a safe, scare-free Halloween to keep your children and pets safe.

First up are the experts in keeping your little pumpkins safe. They may have “boo” in their name, but there is nothing scary about Boo Boo Busters. As a leading professional childproofing service they know a thing or two about keeping your kids safe. Following, are Halloween safety tips for your pets from Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist. He has been taking care of all kinds of pets for over 20 years and his tips are sure to keep you furry friends from howling at the moon.

Kid Halloween Safety Tips

1) Choking Hazards

As a good rule of thumb, a choking hazard could be considered as anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. So, taking that into consideration, look closely at all the items that you are putting out to display. From bats and ghosts to pumpkins you roast. Hazards lurk everywhere!

2) Flashlights

Child safe flashlights should have a child safe battery door on them that is secured by a screw to prevent removal of the battery, thus preventing a choking hazard. Use flashlights or electric candles to light up your pumpkin too, flames and kids don’t mix.

3) Halloween Lights

Look for Halloween light strings that have tamper resistant bulbs that can’t be removed easily and remember cords pose a strangulation hazard. All cords should be kept short and tight. Consider taking the excess that you might leave hanging and bind it up with a zip tie.

4) Pumpkin Carving

Remember to only use child safe cutting tools while carving pumpkins, even as an adult. Kids learn by watching you, so if you use real knives you must know that they will want to do the same. As soon as you turn around to grab something you forgot… little hands wander.

5) Costumes

As a kid it’s mandatory to dress up. Our job is to make sure dress up is safe. Costumes should never obstruct movement, never cause visual impairment and never pose a trip hazard. Stick to material that is form fitting. If it’s loose, baggy or long it could create a trip hazard. Avoid masks that can impair vision. Face painting is the safest mask.

6) Glow at Night

Make sure your child’s costume is visible or is is equipped with something that makes them visible. Glow sticks are great and kids love them, but remember, never hang anything around their little necks unless you are using a child safe breakaway lanyard. A couple glow sticks secured to shoes can be seen from a long way away. Flashlights are a good addition as well.

7) Halloween Treats

Remember to make sure you go through and check all the candy that you are keeping. The candy should be in name brand with sealed packages. For candy bars, be sure you cut them into small pieces that are easy to chew. This also helps to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Unfortunately, ghouls are sometimes disguised as regular people.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

1) Pet Costumes

Yes, your pet looks absolutely adorable in that costume! Keep in mind, your fuzzy family member might not be as thrilled with the outfit. Feel free to get that amazing photo, but respect the fact that your pet may want to get out of those duds as soon as possible. Make sure the outfit is comfortable, and pay special attention to straps that may impinge upon the neck and areas where the extremities meet the body. Never leave a pet unaccompanied in a costume to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions!”

2) NO chocolate

Most people know chocolate is toxic to their pets. Chocolate contains methyl xanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. At high doses, chocolate can lead to collapse and even death. Generally speaking, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. There are helpful charts available (for instance, that can tell you what doses are dangerous for your pooch. If in doubt, always best to contact your veterinarian to see if treatment is indicated.

3) Sugar Free Danger

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found commonly in sugar-free gum as well as other products, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a significant release of insulin, which can lead to extremely low blood sugars. At high doses, it can also lead to liver failure. If your pup has ingested this substance, always best to contact your veterinarian as your pet may likely need treatment and supportive care.

4) Healthy Treat Dangers

If you’re offering healthy alternatives this Halloween, keep in mind that grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs. Some pets are more sensitive than others. In some animals, the toxin can lead to stomach upset initially, followed by kidney failure within 24 hours. It is always prudent to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested these substances.

5) Burning Jack O’ Lanterns

Flames and Fur don’t mix. Just as you do for kids safety, consider replacing that Jack-O-Lantern candle with a flickering LED light.

6) Trick-or-Treating

During trick-or-treating it is best to keep your pet inside, safe from all of the scary costumes, noises and lights that might frighten your pooch or feline. You might even want to consider locking your sweet little pal in a room so they don’t get spooked and run out the door when your trick or treaters arrive.

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

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10 Things You Need To Know Before Moving With Pets

By Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

Moving? Let’s be honest, moving is stressful. But, imagine if you can’t read, understand all of the chatter around you and all you see is the chaos of boxes, your home in an upheaval and stressed out humans everywhere. Sounds even more stressful, right? That’s why it is vital to look after your furry friends during the moving process.

Moving doesn’t have to be a dog-gone cat-astrophy. The good news is that with a paw-ful of wise tips you can ease their trauma. Here are ten tricks that have been approved by Dr. Sara Sheltren, veterinarian at the East Padden Animal Hospital, in Vancouver, Washington to keep Fluffy and Fido cared for during the moving process:

  1. Before Moving Day: Become familiar with pet rules and regulations. Landlords and homeowners’ associations may have specific pet rules. Become familiar with your new area’s leash laws, pet ordinances and/or pet licensing requirements. Your pet may need additional vaccinations, medications or certain certificates depending on where you are moving. A call to the local animal control facility should answer your questions.
  2. Talk To Your Current Vet:Your veterinarian is a great resource. If you have an animal that dislikes traveling, your vet can suggest behavior modification techniques or medication that can make traveling less stressful for your pet. When talking to your vet, also discuss getting Fluffy or Fido micro-chipped. Dr. Sara Sheltren, a veterinarian at the East Padden Animal Hospital says getting pets’ identification microchips can be a vital step in reuniting pets with their owners.
  3. Find A New Vet: Find a new vet in your new area before moving day. Your current vet may be able to make recommendations for colleagues he or she knows in your new area. When finding a new vet, it is recommended to set up an appointment as soon as you move in order to get established. It always important to make sure you are comfortable with their practice before they are needed in an emergency.
  4. Get Medical Records: Before you leave your old home, make sure you get a copy of all of your pet’s medical records to give to your new vet and be sure to find the closest emergency animal hospital and keep that phone number handy.
  5. Update Your Address: Don’t forget to have new identification tags with your new address and phone number made for your pet’s collar, and if your pet has an identification microchip, remember to update your contact information in the database. Dr. Sheltren also recommends carrying a picture of your pet with you in case they get lost.
  6. Keep Things Normal:Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time so that your pet thinks everything is normal. This will keep their stress level down. If you are moving with cats, it can help to bring out their carriers out a few a weeks before the move. Put their favorite treats and toys inside their carriers so they can get used to it before the big moving day. Don’t pack the food away! Keep your pet’s food, water, bowls, medication and any other important supplies (like that favorite squeaky toy) off the moving truck and with you.
  7. Moving Day: During the actual moving day, where boxes and furniture are being moved, pets should be removed. Find a friend who wouldn’t mind pet sitting or find a place away from all the noise of moving such as a doggy day care or cat care center. If you can visit them during a spare moment, it can help reassure the pets that nothing is going on.Keeping pets locked away in a room during moving day can make them anxious from all the noise and new people that might be in your home. If you must keep them locked away, find a quiet room, water bowl and put a HUGE sign on the door.
  8. Travel with Your Pet:Unless your move is long distance or international, your pet will likely be traveling by car with you nearby. By driving them yourself you can care for them and give them a sense of familiarity as they move. To prepare your pet for this trip, drive for short distances with your pet to prepare them before the final move. Also, remember to plan ahead for any special carriers your pets may need for transportation. There are even special seat belts for large dogs.
  9. Air Travel: If you are moving your pet by air or internationally, check all rules and regulations far ahead of the day you plan to leave and remember to keep your pet’s special documentation at hand.
  10. After Moving Day: Don’t let pets roam around the neighborhood until they are acclimated. Take them out on a leash to explore their new territory and show them how to get home. If you let them out in a new place right away, they might get lost or run away due to stress. Make sure your pet’s new identification tags are secured to their collar.

Now snuggle up with your furry friend and enjoy the new home!


Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

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DIY: Installing a Pet Door

If you have a pet, you probably know the little story called “In. Out. Repeat.” Want to stop playing doorman for your dog or cat? Maybe it’s time to consider installing a pet door in your home. Here are a few things to think about before taking on this pet project.

Start outside
Before you start doing any research on pet doors, you’ll first need to address what your pet will do with his new-found freedom. Does your dog or cat have a tendency to run away? Do you live on a busy street? Will your neighbors mind if your pet is outside unattended? Keep all of these things in mind before installing a free pass to the outdoors. Whether you opt for a physical fence or an invisible one, a barrier will give you piece of mind that your furry friend won’t get lost or hurt.

Choose the Right Door
Now that we know your pet will be safe once he gets outside, let’s discuss what kind of pet door is right for you. Just as there are many things to consider when choosing a front door for your home, there are plenty of elements to consider when selecting a pet door. A pet door can be installed in the wall, storm/screen door, garage door or sliding glass door. Cost of installation and complexity of the project varies with each, with storm door installation being the most cost-effective.

You’ll need to take your pet’s measurements before making your door selection. Consider that your pet will duck his head when entering and exiting, so you’ll want to find a door that is slightly taller than your pet’s shoulder height and at least two inches wider than his body. Creating a mock door out of cardboard is an easy way to test your measurements.

Ready to install? Hire a professional, or follow this step-by-step guide from Lowe’s.

Consider Resale
Most “tips for resale” lists recommend removing anything that says “a pet has lived here,” but according to the Humane Society, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet in 2012. Needless to say, there is a large population out there that may appreciate the upgrade. That said, if you don’t want to commit to a permanent pet door, consider opting to install the pet door in your storm door or screen door, so it can easily be removed or replaced should you no longer need it.

For me, home isn’t home without a furry friend. It appears many agree, just check out some of these other pet-centric home upgrades.

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