Even the fanciest New York pups aren’t always onboard with the private-jet-and-yacht life. So posh pet parents hire pricey trainers to school canines in the finer things: learning how to sit still on an Italian mega-yacht without jumping in the onboard pool, say, or to stay calm when a helicopter’s propellers start whirring.
“Some dogs start to shake when they see a life jacket. Max would get so nervous,” said Edward Alava, the “canine concierge” who now treats the Yorkie every summer Thursday for $300 a session. “I give him a spa treatment.” Before he heads into his yacht-bound weekend, Max gets a two-hour massage and a lavender bath while blueberry and grape candles from France perfume the air and New Age music chimes softly in the background.
It works, Maranghello swears. “[Max is] a scene boy, but without the treatments, he would be a wreck.”
Even when pups don’t get nervous, they need to be taught how to behave in A-list settings.
Besides teaching dogs not to poop on luxe rides, “they literally need training not to scratch a boat,” said Manhattan trainer Andrea Arden, who charges $200 per 90-minute session. “Do you know how many stories we have of people who brought dogs [on a yacht] and destroyed it?”
Desperate clients have even been known to helicopter Arden out to the Hamptons for help. “It’s especially fun if they have their own private plane or helicopter.”
But helicopters and private planes can be nightmares for dogs.
Valerie de Boni, wife of former Coach and Armani head Graziano de Boni, said that schlepping out to Water Mill from the East Side on a chopper with even a few of her seven Malteses used to be “nerve-wracking. It’s shaky, and they didn’t really take to it.”
Now they get special treatment from Alava, who also owns the Dog Store on the Upper East Side and in Wainscott, and his staffers. “The training really helps, but the helicopter is not a good move with them.” On hubby Graziano’s Cobalt day boat, Alava will walk them and help with the life vests. “He makes them calm. And he makes them understand it’s a safe place,” said Valerie.
I'm not necessarily advocating that these people be sent to la guillotine, but it would be nice if they'd shut the fuck up.