Answers from a Dog Expert

 The animal trainer William Berloni with Chico, who became a star of “Legally Blonde” on Broadway.

William Berloni, an animal trainer, has taken many dogs from the shelter to the stage, including Chico, above, who became a star of “Legally Blonde” on Broadway.

Following Elissa Gootman’s article on Sunday about what kinds of dogs are best for apartment living in New York City, readers submitted questions this week to our visiting expert, William Berloni, a theatrical animal trainer and the director of animal behavior for the Humane Society of New York.

Here is his first set of answers. The second will appear on City Room next Friday.

Some questions have been edited and condensed.


My 7-year-old niece has been longing for a dog and now that they have moved from Brooklyn to Connecticut and have a large yard her parents have agreed to letting her have a dog. And this is where I (the Auntie) come in as I will be giving my niece the dog as a present. … In my initial research I came up with a shortlist (really short!): labrapoodles and vizla. Would you be able to give some further guidance? Thanks!

PS: I don’t own a dog myself but am an avid fan and just know that I will fall in love with their family dog!pippi, brooklyn


Please, please please, please, please, please, please don’t buy your niece a dog! As well meaning as you are, you would no sooner adopt a child to give to your family or make an arranged marriage for them. The same goes for adding a four-legged living creature to their life style. The dog that is right for them is to be determined, researched, investigated by them. Getting a dog is a “Till death do we part” relationship and should not be gone into lightly.

If you want to be the loving aunt be a facilitator. Give you niece a gift certificate to help the family get their dream dog. Take her to the library, internet, shelter or responsible breeder and help them make the love match. Otherwise you will make a mistake that will leave the family heartbroken and a dog homeless.

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