Book Blast and Giveaway: Pistols and Petticoats

book-cover-pistols-and-petticoats

Genre: Mystery, NonFiction, History
Published by: Beacon Press
Publication Date: February 28th 2017 (1st Published April 26th 2016)
Number of Pages: 248
ISBN: 0807039381 (ISBN13: 9780807039380)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

A lively exploration of the struggles faced by women in law enforcement and mystery fiction for the past 175 years

In 1910, Alice Wells took the oath to join the all-male Los Angeles Police Department. She wore no uniform, carried no weapon, and kept her badge stuffed in her pocketbook. She wasn’t the first or only policewoman, but she became the movement’s most visible voice.

Police work from its very beginning was considered a male domain, far too dangerous and rough for a respectable woman to even contemplate doing, much less take on as a profession. A policewoman worked outside the home, walking dangerous city streets late at night to confront burglars, drunks, scam artists, and prostitutes. To solve crimes, she observed, collected evidence, and used reason and logic—traits typically associated with men. And most controversially of all, she had a purpose separate from her husband, children, and home. Women who donned the badge faced harassment and discrimination. It would take more than seventy years for women to enter the force as full-fledged officers.

Yet within the covers of popular fiction, women not only wrote mysteries but also created female characters that handily solved crimes. Smart, independent, and courageous, these nineteenth- and early twentieth-century female sleuths (including a healthy number created by male writers) set the stage for Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski, Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta, and Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, as well as TV detectives such as Prime Suspect’s Jane Tennison and Law and Order’s Olivia Benson. The authors were not amateurs dabbling in detection but professional writers who helped define the genre and competed with men, often to greater success.

Pistols and Petticoats tells the story of women’s very early place in crime fiction and their public crusade to transform policing. Whether real or fictional, investigating women were nearly always at odds with society. Most women refused to let that stop them, paving the way to a modern professional life for women on the force and in popular culture.

Read an Excerpt

With high heels clicking across the hardwood floors, the diminutive woman from Chicago strode into the headquarters of the New York City police. It was 1922. Few respectable women would enter such a place alone, let alone one wearing a fashionable Paris gown, a feathered hat atop her brown bob, glistening pearls, and lace stockings.

But Alice Clement was no ordinary woman.

Unaware of—or simply not caring about—the commotion her presence caused, Clement walked straight into the office of Commissioner Carleton Simon and announced, “I’ve come to take Stella Myers back to Chicago.”

The commissioner gasped, “She’s desperate!”

Stella Myers was no ordinary crook. The dark-haired thief had outwitted policemen and eluded capture in several states.

Unfazed by Simon’s shocked expression, the well-dressed woman withdrew a set of handcuffs, ankle bracelets, and a “wicked looking gun” from her handbag.

“I’ve come prepared.”

Holding up her handcuffs, Clement stated calmly, “These go on her and we don’t sleep until I’ve locked her up in Chicago.” True to her word, Clement delivered Myers to her Chicago cell.

Alice Clement was hailed as Chicago’s “female Sherlock Holmes,” known for her skills in detection as well as for clearing the city of fortune-tellers, capturing shoplifters, foiling pickpockets, and rescuing girls from the clutches of prostitution. Her uncanny ability to remember faces and her flair for masquerade—“a different disguise every day”—allowed her to rack up one thousand arrests in a single year. She was bold and sassy, unafraid to take on any masher, con artist, or scalawag from the city’s underworld.

Her headline-grabbing arrests and head-turning wardrobe made Clement seem like a character straight from Central Casting. But Alice Clement was not only real; she was also a detective sergeant first grade of the Chicago Police Department.

Clement entered the police force in 1913, riding the wave of media sensation that greeted the hiring of ten policewomen in Chicago. Born in Milwaukee to German immigrant parents in 1878, Clement was unafraid to stand up for herself. She advocated for women’s rights and the repeal of Prohibition. She sued her first husband, Leonard Clement, for divorce on the grounds of desertion and intemperance at a time when women rarely initiated—or won—such dissolutions. Four years later, she married barber Albert L. Faubel in a secret ceremony performed by a female pastor.

It’s not clear why the then thirty-five-year-old, five-foot-three Clement decided to join the force, but she relished the job. She made dramatic arrests—made all the more so by her flamboyant dress— and became the darling of reporters seeking sensational tales of corruption and vice for the morning papers. Dark-haired and attractive, Clement seemed to confound reporters, who couldn’t believe she was old enough to have a daughter much less, a few years later, a granddaughter. “Grandmother Good Detective” read one headline.

She burnished her reputation in a high-profile crusade to root out fortune-tellers preying on the naive. Donning a different disguise every day, Clement had her fortune told more than five hundred times as she gathered evidence to shut down the trade. “Hats are the most important,” she explained, describing her method. “Large and small, light and dark and of vivid hue, floppy brimmed and tailored, there is nothing that alters a woman’s appearance more than a change in headgear.”

Clement also had no truck with flirts. When a man attempted to seduce her at a movie theater, she threatened to arrest him. He thought she was joking and continued his flirtations, but hers was no idle threat. Clement pulled out her blackjack and clubbed him over the head before yanking him out of the theater and dragging him down the street to the station house. When he appeared in court a few days later, the man confessed that he had been cured of flirting. Not every case went Clement’s way, though. The jury acquitted the man, winning the applause of the judge who was no great fan of Clement or her theatrics.

One person who did manage to outwit Clement was her own daughter, Ruth. Preventing hasty marriages fell under Clement’s duties, and she tracked down lovelorn young couples before they could reach the minister. The Chicago Daily Tribune called her the “Nemesis of elopers” for her success and familiarity with everyone involved in the business of matrimony in Chicago. None of this deterred twenty-year-old Ruth Clement, however, who hoped to marry Navy man Charles C. Marrow, even though her mother insisted they couldn’t be married until Marrow finished his time in service in Florida. Ruth did not want to wait, and when Marrow came to visit, the two tied the knot at a minister’s home without telling Clement. When Clement discovered a Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Marrow registered at the Chicago hotel supposedly housing Marrow alone, she was furious and threatened to arrest her new son-in-law for flouting her wishes. Her anger cooled, however, and Clement soon welcomed the newlyweds into her home.

Between arrests and undercover operations, Clement wrote, produced, and starred in a movie called Dregs of the City, in 1920. She hoped her movie would “deliver a moral message to the world” and “warn young girls of the pitfalls of a great city.” In the film, Clement portrayed herself as a master detective charged with finding a young rural girl who, at the urging of a Chicago huckster, had fled the farm for the city lights and gotten lost in “one of the more unhallowed of the south side cabarets.” The girl’s father came to Clement anegged her to rescue his innocent daughter from the “dregs” of the film’s title. Clement wasn’t the only officer-turned-actor in the film. Chicago police chiefs James L. Mooney and John J. Garrity also had starring roles. Together, the threesome battered “down doors with axes and interrupt[ed] the cogitations of countless devotees of hashish, bhang and opium.” The Chicago Daily Tribune praised Garrity’s acting and his onscreen uniform for its “faultless cut.”

The film created a sensation, particularly after Chicago’s movie censor board, which fell under the oversight of the police department, condemned the movie as immoral. “The picture shall never be shown in Chicago. It’s not even interesting,” read the ruling. “Many of the actors are hams and it doesn’t get anywhere.” Despite several appeals, Clement was unable to convince the censors to allow Dregs of the City to be shown within city limits. She remained undeterred by the decision. “They think they’ve given me a black eye, but they haven’t. I’ll show it anyway,” she declared as she left the hearing, tossing the bouquet of roses she’d been given against the window.

When the cruise ship Eastland rolled over in the Chicago River on July 24, 1915, Clement splashed into the water to assist in the rescue of the pleasure boaters, presumably, given her record, wearing heels and a designer gown. More than eight hundred people would die that day, the greatest maritime disaster in Great Lakes history. For her services in the Eastland disaster, Clement received a gold “coroner’s star” from the Cook County coroner in a quiet ceremony in January of 1916.

Clement’s exploits and personality certainly drew attention, but any woman would: a female crime fighter made for good copy and eye-catching photos. Unaccustomed to seeing women wielding any kind of authority, the public found female officers an entertaining—and sometimes ridiculous—curiosity.

Excerpt from Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction by Erika Janik. Copyright © 2016 & 2017 by Beacon Press. Reproduced with permission from Beacon Press. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

erika-janikErika Janik is an award-winning writer, historian, and the executive producer of “Wisconsin Life” on Wisconsin Public Radio. She’s the author of five previous books, including Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Catch Up With Our Ms. Janik:

Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Wisconsin Public Radio

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Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Erika Janik and Beacon. There will be 5 winners of one (1) print copy of Pistols and Petticoats by Erika Janik. The giveaway begins on March 3rd and runs through March 8th, 2017. The giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only. Enter the drawing here.

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Partners in Crime Book Tours

It’s a Dog-Meet-Dog World

I’m editing scenes from Dangerous Deeds in which my protagonist Maggie Porter is leading a Good Dog! class to help owners and their dog prepare for their Canine Good Citizen test. I first wrote those scenes before Sasha came into my life, so I had to rely on information from the AKC, training blogs, and YouTube videos. And while the test items seem relatively simple, achieving consistent results with a dog of my own is a bit more complicated than I envisioned.

Take, for example, test item #8, Reaction to Another Dog. If we take our test indoors, Sasha will (probably) pass this one with flying colors. She’s been close to other dogs in indoor training situations and in retail stores, and she’s been calm and quiet every time. And those of you with Shelties know quiet isn’t common behavior!

But life as we know it isn’t confined to indoor interactions, and many evaluators prefer outdoor venues as shown in the video above. We’ve made progress in reducing Sasha’s over-the-top reaction to leashed dogs but there’s still work to be done. If I see the dog in time I can move us out of the way and put Sasha in a down-stay or a sit-stay until the dog and handler pass by. (Mind you, she usually has something to say, but she tends to mutter rather than bark.)

Our current challenge, though, is the off-leash dog.

Maybe that’s happened to you in the local park, along a trail, or even in your own neighborhood. We’ve been accosted by off-leash dogs on multiple occasions, and most recently just this past week.  We were less than a block from home after enjoying a casual afternoon walk. Two Australian Shepherds bolted through an open garage door and came in low, fast, and silent. If I’d known they were in there I would have crossed the street to give us some distance, but I didn’t see them in time to take evasive action. They ignored their owner’s commands and came straight for us. They’re young, well-muscled, and already bigger and heavier than Sasha. And she most definitely Did. Not. Like. Them.

It didn’t help to hear the owner say “They’re friendly. Just stand still.” Seriously? I have no interest in taking advice from an irresponsible owner. I saw nothing to suggest this was a friendly meet-and-greet, so I backed Sasha up while staring down the dogs. The owner struggled to get handfuls of hair (no collars!) and held them long enough for me to get Sasha safely past them.

In the days since, I’ve worked to reduce Sasha’s renewed hyper reactions around dogs in general and I’ve done my best to keep her away from known trouble spots. Just this morning, though, we came across a dog who was loose in an unfenced yard. Sasha saw him as he headed our way and, predictably, reacted by barking fiercely. The dog’s body language suggested interest but no overt aggression, perhaps because we were in the street and about 20 yards away. I put Sasha in a sit-stay between my legs, held up my hand in the classic “Stop” gesture and said “NO! GO BACK!” The dog halted and immediately turned away when his owner called him. (Excellent recall demonstrated there!) Other than her initial outburst, Sasha sat quietly and, once we moved along, looked to me for approval—which of course she received, along with lavish praise and treats. She looked back just once (a big improvement over previous behavior), tossed out one last bark and then moved on.

If you come across off-leash dogs in your own neighborhood or park, you may find a flexible response strategy to be the most helpful. Consider, for example, these excellent suggestions offered by Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA in her 2015 dogster.com article “What to do when an off-leash dog approaches your leashed dog.”  And you can find more suggestions at VetStreet.com, where dog trainer Mikkel Becker talks tactics in her 2013 article “Managing confrontation with an off-leash dog.

We’ll keep working to build Sasha’s confidence when meeting dogs, whether they’re leashed or loose. Every day brings new encounters with different dogs, and that’s great training for my Canine Good Citizen in training!

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Dangerous Deeds, the second book in the Waterside Kennels mystery series, weaves a tale of mischief and mayhem that sets neighbor against neighbor and disrupts the quiet life Maggie Porter longs for. A major part of the plot revolves around a proposed ‘dangerous’ dog ordinance that’s based on breed-specific legislation (BSL) enacted in hundreds of communities across the country and in multiple countries around the world.

For the record, my protagonist Maggie Porter shares the AKC position that BSL doesn’t work, in part because it fails to address the issue of owner responsibility. Unfortunately, some nefarious community members have targeted Maggie’s opposition to the proposed ordinance to further their own agenda. Their efforts generate ripples of dissent throughout the community, leading to boycotts, threats, and death too close to home.

Dangerous Deeds is on track for publication this year. Stay tuned!

One Joyful Year!

For seventeen years after losing my beloved spaniel Alix, I didn’t believe I had enough heart left to offer another dog. Then a year ago, a volunteer sent me this photo of a dog surrendered to a rural county sheriff’s office:

I took one look at that sweet—and oh, so frightened—dog, and put everything on hold to cross the prairie plains to bring her home. It was a long journey and a heart-wrenching one at that. What was I getting myself into? I knew next to nothing about her situation other than the sad details shared by the volunteer, and I knew even less about adopting a rescue dog. Was I making the right decision for her, for us? How would Buddy the Wonder Cat react to sharing his family? And what would happen to her, to us if I couldn’t make this adoption work?

If you’ve been following Sasha’s story, you know her most challenging issues included generalized anxiety, fear of strangers (and men in particular), and extreme hyper-sensitivity to noise. We still have work to do, but overall she’s made tremendous progress along the way. That progress might be best summed up using our experience with the coffee grinder.

In her early months with us, loud or unusual sounds sent Sasha scurrying for cover.  That included raised voices, applause, and the sound of clickers, which proved problematic during obedience class. She was wary of anything and everything in the kitchen that made noise, to include the coffee-bean grinder which left her trembling with fear and barking wildly. It was quickly apparent that this dog took hyper-sensitivity to sound to a whole new level. We tried showing her what it was so she wouldn’t be scared. Tried distracting her, supplied extra love and attention. Nothing worked.Fresh-roasted-coffee-beans-and-grounds

Then I got smart and turned it into Extra-Special Treat Time. Using Fromm’s big oven-baked biscuit treats  I put her in a sit-stay where she could see the grinder, praised her, and gave her a treat. Repeated the process when we measured the beans into the grinder, again when the grinder started and yet again when the grinder finished. Yup, lots of treats, with plenty of time to chew before we moved on to the next step. Since we don’t use the grinder daily it took several weeks to condition her to the sound and cutting back on treats at the same time.  And then one day she came running into the office, whined softly to get my attention, and then trotted back to the kitchen just as I heard the coffee grinder in action. The message was clear: it’s treat time! 

We successfully reduced her fear in favor of excitement. That success, however, came with an unintended consequence. She reached the point where she’d hear the kitchen drawer holding the coffee supplies slide open (and yes, she’s smart enough to differentiate between the sounds of different drawers!) and would begin barking. We’re talking the piercing, full-volume bark only a Sheltie can manage; it’s enough to hurt your ears and earn a disapproving glare from Buddy the Wonder Cat. Oh, and she added the word coffee to her vocabulary, which had reduced us to spelling the word to avoid the inevitable manic barking.

So….enter conditioning, phase two. These days, she has to work to earn that treat. At a minimum we go through the no-bark, down-stay, sit, and off-leash heel while the grinder’s being set up. Then, and only then, does she earn that treat. And since this is the only time she gets the Fromm’s treats, she’s been quick to pay attention.

I’ve used the coffee-treat time to build her interest in our indoor obedience sessions. Even though the treats are different, she knows if she works well she’s sure to enjoy some tasty tidbits. The indoor sessions are becoming a favorite activity on cold mornings. I use the same martingale collar and leash we use for our neighborhood walks, but Sasha clearly differentiates between my outside and indoor clothes and runs into the hall where we routinely start our workout.

And we have an audience for our indoor sessions, too. Buddy the Wonder Cat watches all the action from his perch and will follow us as we go through the house. We finish with a 3-minute out-of-sight down-stay. (The Supervised Separation is test item #10 for the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test.) Buddy is the supervisor most of the time. Inevitably, we’ll hit the 2:30 minute mark and Buddy comes trotting to find me. I’m not sure if he’s reporting that Sasha is still holding the down-stay or if he’s asking if I forgot about her, but he follows me back as soon as the timer goes off and signals the end of our session. As that’s always followed by play time for Sasha and Greenies for Buddy, everyone’s happy!

Happy might be the best word to sum up our year together.  The scared little waif who came to me a year ago is now officially known as Ozark Summer Highlands Sasha. We’ll be back soon with more news of Sasha’s ongoing adventures. Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot tour highlighting our year together. Enjoy!

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Have Fun While Training

February 5th marks one full year since Sasha came to us. We don’t know much about her life before she joined our household other than the bad situation that ended with her being surrendered to a county sheriff’s office.  We can surmise, however, that she had minimal attention and/or was neglected based on her appearance and behavior in early days with us. Daily doses of love and regular obedience training sessions helped strengthen her confidence, and learning new things added enjoyment to her days.

While Sasha was quick to master the commands routinely taught in basic and intermediate obedience, teaching her “the art of play” has proven more challenging. We took her with us to PetSmart for treats and toy selection, but the noise and people made those early trips less than successful. Still, we collected some toys in a basket just for her, and added an incentive to explore by dropping a few treats among the toys. The treats were a big hit. The toys? Not so much. In fact, she ignored all of them until we went to the Humane Society of the Ozarks‘ Dogwood Walk in May and fell in love with the Sock Monkey squeaky toy that came in her goodie bag. Here’s proof:

 

Since then, Sasha’s interest in toys expanded to her Squeaky Duck and a sausage-like fabric toy, also a squeaker. It’s only been in the past month that she’s begun carrying those toys from one room to another, and in just the past two weeks she finally caught on to retrieving! I can’t say I followed any particular training techniques to reach this point other than focusing on fun. It’s been months in the works, but seeing my Sasha girl happy as she learns something new makes the whole adventure worthwhile!

If you’d like to coax your pup into retrieving, you might be interested in The Whole Dog Journal’s tip this week written by author and WDJ’s Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA. If you’re in the Fairplay, Maryland, area, you can meet Pat at her Peaceable Paws training center. She offers dog-training classes and courses for trainers as well as writing books focused on positive dog training. Her newest is Beware of the Dog: Positive Solutions for Aggressive Behavior in Dogs (Dogwise Publishing, 2016).  And if you’re interested in more great tips and articles, consider subscribing to the Whole Dog Journal. I’ve found it a terrific resource!

Here’s the lead-in to Pat’s article. You’ll find a link to the full article below, with additional links at the end of the post. Happy training!

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Teach Your Dog to Fetch by Training Him to Love Retrieval

Dog won’t fetch? There are several reasons why. Whole Dog Journal is here to teach you how to train your dog to retrieve – whether it be for honing obedience skills or just for fun.

Whether you’re interested in an informal fetch or a formal retrieve, your task will be easier if you encourage rather than discourage retrieve-related behaviors early in your relationship with your dog. When he has something in his mouth, praise him; tell him he’s a good dog! If it’s something he’s allowed to have, you can sometimes praise him and let him be, and other times, you can say “Trade!” and trade him a treat for the item. Or, trade him a treat for the item, and then give him the item back again. That’s quite a reward!

Continue Reading

If author and trainer Pat Miller’s credentials seem unfamiliar to you, I’ll translate. (The protagonist in my Waterside Kennels series is working toward these, so I had to look them up!) These credentials are issued by the independent Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) after rigorous testing.  CBCC-KA stands for Certified Behavior Consultant Canine, Knowledge Assessed and CPDT-KA means Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed. To learn more about these credentials or to find a professional trainer near you, visit the CCPDT website and click on the directory of certified trainers.

Party Time, Sheltie Style

Note: I’m reblogging this post with the express written permission of Dawn Kinster who writes the blog Change is Hard…But Change is Certain.  I’ll be following up soon with my own thoughts about the “nipping” issue–and why I don’t put Sasha into situations that bring dogs too close for her comfort. (Sasha, by the way, is in full agreement with Katie’s comment that “We got along just fine by ignoring each other.” I suspect if we’d attended this dog party Sasha and Katie would have been just fine together under that picnic table, each in their own space. )

For now, I hope you enjoy this “dog POV” about a day in the park with Shelties. My sincere thanks to Dawn and Katie for sharing this great tale!

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A sheltie party!

Posted on June 27, 2016 at https://dawnkinster.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/a-sheltie-party/

All content including photographs are copyrighted materials and may not be reproduced without permission.

See me? I'm about 4 dogs in from the left.

See me? I’m about 5 dogs in from the left.

Katie here. Well! Mama said she’d top our last camping trip and this just might have done it! She took me to a sheltie meet and greet where there were close to 25 other shelties. And do you know what? They were at one of my parks! MY park!I did not invite all these other beautiful dogs to my park! I am supposed to be the supreme princess! The most beautiful sheltie around! It’s supposed to be all about me! Me me me me me!

One lady. Lots of shelties.

One lady. Lots of shelties.

Ahem.

I had to go to the groomer to get beautiful just for this party, and that’s not fair either. But I’ll stop complaining now.

Emily Ann was the star of the party!

Emily Ann was the star of the party!

Because actually it was pretty interesting. My dad even went! I mostly sat under the picnic table while he talked to some people that had two shelties. The three of us hung out together under the table. We got along just fine by ignoring each other.

Lots of sheltie smiles.

Lots of sheltie smiles.

In fact I was content to ignore all the other shelties but not my mama! Oh no, she had to go meet them all. I watched her sit down on the ground with some of them and pet them and tickle their tummies and I wasn’t jealous at all because I had my dad.

One of the only pictures of ME!

One of the only pictures of ME!

My mama didn’t even take very many pictures of me! Can you imagine that? She was busy taking pictures of all the other shelties. She kept saying things like “Wow, that’s a beautiful dog!” and ” oh look at that one!” You’d think I’d get a complex or something.

Sheltie kisses.

Sheltie kisses

But I didn’t, because lots of people thought I was beautiful too, and offered me treats which I politely refused. Until my mama took me for a walk and I met one lady sitting on a blanket. There were dog treats on that blanket! Her dog Sadie hadn’t eaten them, so I scarfed them up. Always willing to help out you know. Then she gave me a big treat and I chopped it right down.

Lots of sheltie lovers.

Lots of sheltie lovers

But then I did a bad thing.

Sadie came by and sniffed my butt and I turned around and nipped at her. My mama was mortified. And as our parents were pulling us apart I nipped at her again! Well! Sadie is only a puppy and my mama said I should have had better manners.

Sadie and her mom.

Sadie and her mom

I was getting tired and hot by then and when we went back to daddy I nipped at another dog. So mama and daddy said that was quite enough and we went home. Mama says I have shown my true colors and now she knows to keep better watch on me.

Whatever that means.

I thought the party was interesting but I just got too warm and too tired and that made me cranky. A princess does not like to be sniffed so much. A princess is supposed to be kept cool and hydrated and well fed. I didn’t even have my princess pillow! I mean really, what were they thinking?

Sadie and a new friend.

Sadie and a new friend

Anyway. I’m sorry I nipped at those dogs and I’ll try to be a better sheltie-citizen in the future. Meanwhile, I think all the dogs had a good time and I’m glad mama and daddy took me.

Cookie has the right idea. Time for a nap!

Cookie has the right idea. Time for a nap!

Time for a nap now.

Pet me! Pet me!!

Pet me! Pet me!!

Home Sweet (Rented) Home: The Dog Challenge

Dog with Computer

Photo Shutterstock via Curbed San Francisco

Many years ago, with a new job waiting several states away, we grabbed a weekend to find a rental close to the university where I’d be teaching. We scouted a few places and were lucky to find one that fit the bill, mailed in our application along with the requisite funds, and got the keys by return mail with a note welcoming us to town.

Fast-forward to 2016 when nothing’s casual about the rental property business. And if you have a dog—particularly a big dog—finding a pet-friendly rental can be downright challenging. If the rental ad suggests the landlord/property manager will consider pets, you’ll want to do everything you can to make the best impression possible. How? By creating a dog resume, of course!

Realtor.com suggests dog resumes “might be the next big trend in renting. And even if a potential landlord doesn’t ask for a CV for your canine, you might want to have one ready.” The goal, of course, is to demonstrate that you take your responsibilities seriously and have a well-behaved canine companion.

As a landlord myself, I’m happy to have tenants with dogs. My insurance company doesn’t discriminate by breed (some do, so check with your own agent), and their sole exclusion—no dogs with bite history accepted—matches my own preference for minimizing liability.  That’s a reasonable standard many (most?) landlords and property managers might agree with provided other criteria are met. So, assuming your dog doesn’t have a history of aggression (which may require much more documentation to even be considered), let’s highlight the basic content you’ll want to include in your dog’s resume.

Get personal: Include a photo or two that shows your dog in the best possible light. Literally! No dim shots, or big dogs curled up in such a way the prospective landlord can’t easily see the whole dog. Add the dog’s name, age, weight, breed details, temperament, etc. Housebroken? That’s a must, and landlords will want to know. (Soiled carpets, damaged flooring, and dog waste left in the yard are unfortunately common problems in rental units.)

My insurance agent strongly suggests I require tenants to carry renter’s insurance with sufficient liability. Amounts and exclusions can vary by insurance company and locale, so check requirements in your own area. Let prospective landlords know you’re insured and that their property will be well cared for.

Some landlords and property managers place restrictions about breed, age, size, and weight. Be truthful and as accurate as possible. Misrepresent the facts and you risk violating the terms of your lease, losing your deposits, and even facing eviction.

Focus on wellness: Identifying your vet clinic is a good start. Note the name, address, phone number, website, and Facebook link (in other words, make it easy for the landlord to reach them). Include your veterinarian’s name; this helps demonstrate that you have a relationship with someone who’s important to you and your dog. Add in health status, flea/tick preventatives, vaccination info (including tag #), and microchip info (company name, chip #). My community requires all dogs be microchipped; consider this even if it’s not a “must” where you live.

Is your dog spayed or neutered? The Canine Journal suggests spayed/neutered dogs exhibit “overall behavior improvement” and are less likely to roam. That can translate into fewer headaches for landlords.

Have a groomer? Provide their name and contact info. Well-groomed dogs have shorter nails and that can reduce the chances for badly scratched floors. Plus, a regularly groomed dog won’t be riddled with fleas. (Trust me on this; flea infestations can be a serious headache for everyone involved.)

Oh, and add in contact info for an emergency caretaker, someone not living with them who’s able and willing to care for the dog if needed. You’re demonstrating care and attention to detail, and that’s something prospective landlords will appreciate!

Highlight training & activities: While obedience training isn’t a cure-all for behavioral issues, it can certainly reduce the potential for problems. If your dog completed a formal obedience class, list those details. If you or someone else trained the dog informally, list the specific skills and abilities that demonstrate good canine behavior. If your dog has earned the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification, you should absolutely highlight this, and be sure to add “CGC” after your dog’s name at the top of the resume.

As a landlord, I want to know your pet is well cared for. How do you keep your dog in shape and happy? Well-exercised dogs tend to be happier and quieter than those left alone too long. If you enjoy daily walks or playtime with your pet, mention that. If you’re away from home for long periods, do you have a family member, friend, or a dog walker who can spend time with your pet?

Share testimonials: You could attach references and letters, and that might be necessary if your dog has a documented history of aggression. Otherwise, consider short “blurbs” from your veterinarian, groomer, and neighbors as well as current and former landlords or property managers. Include the person’s name and contact info so landlords can follow up as part of their screening process.

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Learn more: Whether you’re searching for an apartment, a condo, or a single-family residence, you’ll find good info in this 2012 article by Alex Bevk.

Here are two samples you might find helpful (click on image to go to original website):

Dog Resume

Rent With Pets Dog Resume

And if all this seems too complicated, here’s a fill-in-the-blank template from RentLingo.com with cue questions to help you create your own.

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Okay, dog lovers: have a renter’s experience of your own to share? What tips can you suggest to help others with dogs?

Landlords and property managers: what did I forget? What would you like to see from applicants and prospective tenants? Inquiring minds want to know!

Dog Training and Time

Nancy Tanner and Friends

© Nancy Tanner

This week’s post comes to us courtesy of the exceptional writer and dog trainer Nancy Tanner. Check her website and you’ll see she’s the Founding Owner at Paws & People, the Scent Project, and The World Treibball League. Nancy is the recipient (twice) of the Dog Writers Association‘s prestigious Maxwell Medallion, with a total of eight impressive nominations to her credit. She generously allowed me to repost this blog entry in its entirety (thanks, Nancy!). Please note all photos and text are the exclusive property of Nancy Tanner.

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the misunderstanding of time

nancy Tanner dog 1 photo

When I am asked what is the biggest problem I see in dog training today, it is the same problem I saw  fourteen years ago, and thirty years ago, it is the misunderstanding of time.

Nancy Tanner dog 2 photo

It takes time to learn how to be a teacher to another species.
It takes time to learn how to learn from another species.
It takes time to build understanding.
It takes time to learn how to observe and how to apply what you observe.
It takes time to build a relationship with trust.
It takes time to get to know one another.
It takes time teach.
It takes an enormous amount of time to build skill on both ends of the leash.
It takes time to learn.
It take time to learn about humility.
It takes time to learn how to work together.
It takes time to learn about the things in training you don’t even know that you don’t know yet.
It takes time to learn about your own short comings.
It takes time to forgive your own short comings and learn how to move on with your dog.
It takes a life time to practice compassion.
It takes time, all of it.
Nancy Tanner dog 3 photo
You cannot rush a relationship.
You cannot rush the teaching or learning process, on either end of the leash.
You cannot rush maturity or the lack there of.
You cannot rush your skills, or your dogs understanding of your skills.
My advice to new dog owners, seasoned dog owners, and want to be dog owners – learn how to settle in, learn that nothing will happen over night. Learn that if you try to take short cuts and try to make it all happen to fit your schedule, or your desires, or your needs, it will come back to bite you in the ass, figuratively or literally.
                                                                                                 ~ Nancy
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If you’re interested in sharing Nancy’s post via your own site or other social media, see the copyright notice on her site for details. And while you’re there, be sure to read more posts; she’s a terrific writer!