You may want to take a walk with your dog before signing those mortgage papers…
One of the most important things for me as a dog trainer and animal-lover when buying a home is finding a neighborhood with good walking routes and dog-friendly neighbors. You would be surprised how much the “dog people” can tell you about a neighborhood. And it makes sense since most of us are up super-early if housebreaking a puppy, and to fit in our daily walks before work. For that moment we stop, look and listen seeing the world through our dog’s eyes and slow down just long enough to take in our environment.
After a recent visit to an Open House I returned to walk the neighborhood. I not only met my prospective new neighbors and their dogs but also learned about great walking routes, where to not walk (a grumpy neighbor that disliked dogs), the history of the home, and even purchased Girl Scout cookies. And in the process I came to realize that this location would be perfect.
When sizing up a real estate purchase I also like to check to see there is fencing and that the neighbor does not have a dog that stalks and becomes aggressive at the fence. If this is the case it is necessary to add-in the cost of landscaping to prevent this behavior and keep the peace. Invisible fencing although popular is not my preferred choice as animals can come in and bother your dog and in some cases the shock of the collar from launching at the perimeter can build up aggressive tendencies in some dogs. I recently had a customer whose dog was trapped between two electric fields and was shocked repeatedly until the owner noted what was happening. Using these fences takes proper installation and caution.
Another consideration is open use of park and school grounds as some towns (Wyckoff) do not allow dogs in their parks but have larger backyards while Glen Rock and Ridgewood have compact downtown areas to stroll and great parks to walk. No matter what your preference, keeping your dog in mind may be one of the best decisions you will make for your lifestyle. When comparing homes that meet your needs, finding great neighbors and a lifestyle that suits you and your dog’s activities can be priceless!