My dog is a huge part of our family. He goes to my kids’ baseball games, he jogs with me every day, he lays next to me when I’m working and when I’m sick. We aren’t the only family who lives by the “Man’s best friend” adage!

Here’s a couple of tips to get the most out of your pet policy for your prospects and current residents:

1. Always be empathetic in delivering your pet policy. “Unfortunately, we do not accept dogs over 25 pounds.” The key word is “unfortunately”! Again, most people’s pets are part of their family and ultimately if you don’t accept their pet for whatever reason, say Brutus is a pitbull or 10 pounds over your doggy-weight limit, the end result is usually an apartment deal-breaker.

2. Write down the pet’s name on your Guest Card. Upon tour or visit, be sure to ask about Brutus, and if you haven’t already, what kind of a dog he is, his habits, stories about his doggy-birth, etc. Believe me, instant rapport builder.

3. Share 411 on the pet accommodations at your property. Are there walking trails, fields, a dog park and dog-stations for convenient clean-ups near by?

4. Have a contest that incorporates your residents’ pets. Ask them to submit a picture along with a story that is voted on by your community.

5. Start a weekly, monthly, or annual Dog-Fest or Walk. Another avenue for residents to meet not only neighbors’ pets, but neighbors!

6. Some Managers are brave enough to incorporate dog-sitting into their concierge style of management. Now that takes “wearing different hats in property management” to a whole new level.

7. If a share of your target market is directed specifically toward pets, ensure your advertising displays this information. Use pictures of pets and advertising channels, like

8. Review your pet policy to ensure you are competitive with the market; this includes your acceptance of pets, deposits and pet rent.