Breed restrictions are unfortunately common in Austin and they can hurt the family, the pet, and the community. They are more about the perception of a breed than an individual pet’s behavior. 

As daunting as it is, it’s not necessarily hopeless, or a done deal. Owners may be concerned about property damage or neighbor relations and if you can demonstrate you and your pet’s positive track record, they may be more likely to give you and your furry family member a chance. Here are some ways to approach it with your landlord or rental company.

Be an advocate for your pet

1. Highlight your pet’s best qualities by creating a “resume”. This gives the rental company a snapshot into how great your dog is and how responsible you are as a pet owner. You can use a template like this one

  • Answer prompts about your pet’s characteristics, qualities, and special training or skills.
  • Upload a photo of your pet smiling or in a cute costume.
  • Write a brief summary of your and your pet’s history together and your daily routine
  • Promote your own responsible pet ownership and rental history.
  • Describe your day-to-day routine, how bathroom breaks are managed, and how you are present with your pet when outside. Showing that you are a conscientious and attentive owner will make a difference. 
  • Include references who can speak to your pet’s character and your own rental history, such as a veterinarian, previous landlord, and trainer if you have one. Make sure to let your references know that they may get a call! 

2. Give examples of how you've been a reliable tenant, taken care of a property, and paid rent on time. 

3. Offer to get insurance that covers pet liabilities. 

4. Provide vet records. 

5. Invite landlords to meet your pet. 

Our friends at Love-A-Bull also have many helpful tips on how to advocate for your pet.

Take us up on behavioral support

If you’ve already trained your pet solo, or worked with a trainer, make sure to include it in the resume.  If there are skills that you need to work on, we can help! The more you can do to keep neighbors comfortable and your property in good standing, the more welcoming the property manager will be to your pet- and even future pets. It’s well worth addressing scratching, marking, barking, reactivity to other pets, and jumpy-mouthy behaviors.

Behavior Library

Visit our AAC Behavior Library for fear-free training tips on behaviors like escaping, separation anxiety, leash reactivity, and more! We also recommend San Diego Humane Society's behavior and training articles and video library for behavioral info.  

Local Training

Friends of Austin Animal Center has a Behavioral Assistance Program which provides complimentary training support for eligible Austin Animal Center fosters, adopters, and anyone in the community needing behavioral support for their dog or cat. Friends of AAC can connect you with local, qualified positive-reinforcement based trainers. Learn more about their Behavioral Assistance Program here

Virtual Training

GoodPup is a training company that offers fear-free, on demand dog training over video chat, so that you can work with your dog from home at your convenience. This includes video-chat training sessions, trainer/medical support through an online chat system, webinars, and more. 

Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccines

Spay/neuter improves a pet’s health and behavior. Pets will be less likely to roam or be territorial, and male dogs and cats will be less likely to mark their territories. Learn more about vouchers for free spay/neuter and free day clinics.

Emancipet offers low-cost vaccinations on a walk-in basis; no appointment needed!

Find pet-friendly housing
  • Even if a landlord or leasing company advertises “no pets” some may make exceptions if it means that the tradeoff is a responsible and reliable tenant. It’s still worth asking! Use your pet resume to advocate for your pet. 
  • Look for properties that are owned by individuals or small local companies. 
  • Search Love-A-Bull’s list of pit-friendly properties
  • You don’t have to search alone. Look for realtors who specialize in finding pet-friendly housing. They can help you navigate rentals, properties, insurance, and HOA regulations. 
  • Before you sign a lease, read up on considerations by Texas Law Help and Humane Society of the United States.
Navigate resources, including financial assistance

If your landlord has already expressed concern or told you that your pet needs to leave, review Humane Society of the United States tips for renters. We can also offer a letter to your landlord explaining that you reached out for assistance and that we are working together.