Glenwood dog trainers team up to offer pet-friendly services for landlords, tenants | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood dog trainers team up to offer pet-friendly services for landlords, tenants

High Tails Pets owner Laurie Raymond, along with Tracey Yajko head out to walk dogs Fergie and Annie on a chilly winter day.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

A decision for the new Six Canyon Apartments in Glenwood Springs to be pet-friendly was just smart business, Property Manager Cicely Crampton said.

“It opens up our potential renter base quite a bit,” Crampton said of the new apartment complex on Highway 6 in West Glenwood where six of the 116 units are now occupied and leasing for the remainder of the units is underway.

“It also creates a community of renters who are more likely to stay longer, because if we don’t allow pets they end up leaving when they find someplace that is,” she said.

The challenge for landlords and property managers like herself comes when they have to police things as conflicts arise between tenants who do have pets and those who don’t, she said.

That’s why Six Canyon is taking a close look at the menu of services offered by a group of long-time dog behavioral experts in Glenwood Springs who’ve started a new business.

Pets Are Welcome Here, LLC, or PAWH, is the brainchild of longtime High Tails Pets owner Laurie Raymond and local trainers Tracey Yajko and Heather Wilkinson.

They are currently working with landlords and tenants in the Glenwood Springs area to make the trend toward pet-friendly renting more neighborly. They eventually plan to expand to a larger region, serving everywhere from Aspen to Rifle.

“Property managers have a financial interest in things going smoothly when they become pet-friendly, but they don’t necessarily have the background to know how to facilitate that,” Raymond said.

Instead of landlords having to take a surveillance approach or adopt punitive three-strikes-you’re-out-type policies, PAWH can work as a liaison between landlords and tenants, and even between tenants directly to try to solve problems.

Among the services offered by PAWH are property inspections to advise as to how a rental complex can be more pet-friendly, problem-solving evaluation and intervention, education about best pet socialization practices, and various administrative assistance when it comes to rules compliance. 

“The new trend in rental housing is toward accepting tenants with pets,” Raymond said. “Property managers see the traditional ‘no pets’ stance as forfeited opportunities. But landlords’ concerns about damage, liability and the enforcement challenges remain to be reconciled.”

Raymond said the impetus to start such a service in Glenwood Springs came as the Roaring Fork Regional Housing Needs Analysis was released in 2018, which identified a need for more multifamily rental housing.

The new Six Canyon Apartments and the nearby Lofts at Red Mountain, as well as several smaller apartment complexes that are in the works, are likely just the beginning.  

“The study really showed what kind of a crunch we’re in, and how we need to change the way we think about housing,” Raymond said. “With that, dog owners need to understand their place in the world that we’re coming to inhabit.”

Yajko, a longtime dog trainer who currently works at Dog Holliday’s Resort pet boarding and daycare, said urban dogs are often better behaved than country dogs.

“The dog that gets let out in the backyard to be on its own isn’t really exposed to anything” that can help them be better social animals, Yajko observed.

The urban dog, on the other hand, learns how to react appropriately to noises and smells and close interactions with humans and other dogs.

“They’re often more confident and better-adapted,” she said.

Managers of larger rental complexes can easily go into it a bit blind, Yajko said. PAWH can assess a particular property, its layout and facilities, and foresee problems before they arise, Yajko said.

Properties that charge a rent premium for tenants who have pets, rather than the traditional upfront pet deposit, also are likely to have more buy-in for pet owners to play by the rules, Raymond and Yajko offered.

“We can work with landlords to help them set appropriate rent premiums, which I think is a better way to do it that just a deposit,” Raymond said.

Added Yajko, a renter could also work with a pet behavior specialist to earn points, and maybe have that premium lowered over time.

“I do know of landlords and property owners who have been fully burned, and I get it,” Yajko said. “But the research shows that most pet owners, if they’re happy where they are, they’re likely to stay three times as long as a non-pet-owner.”

Raymond and Yajko said they are also working to schedule a public education forum this spring about the responsibilities that come with being a pet owner.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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