Many dog owners live in apartments or other shared housing, and it can be very successful.
To have a good experience as an apartment-dwelling dog owner, ensure that your dog’s needs are taken care of and that you choose your dog and your home carefully.
Here are some of the best ways to make sure your dog and you (and your neighbors!) are all happy with the arrangement.
Make Sure You Follow the Rules
Don’t try to sneak a dog into your apartment. Make sure you follow the rules and pay the required pet rent or deposit fees.
Some apartments also have restrictions as to the size or kind of breed they allow.
Make sure you understand and follow these instructions as most property management companies take them very seriously.
Choose Your Breed Carefully
When you’re planning to get a dog to live in your apartment with you it’s important to make sure you get the right breed.
Before typing “puppies for sale near me” into your search engine, you need to know what you are looking for.
Some breeds are much better suited to apartment living than others.
Many apartment complexes only allow small breeds under a certain weight so this is something to keep in mind when you are considering a purchase.
However, small breeds are not the only ones that are well-suited to apartment life.
In fact, some large breeds are better suited for city living and apartment life than certain very active small breeds.
- Activity level
- Noise level
- Sensitivity to noise
- A tendency toward separation anxiety
- Guard tendencies (which may lead to frequent barking)
Crate training is a good way to prepare any dog to be left alone in the house and it is also helpful for house training.
Dogs do not mind spending time in a crate once they have been trained for it and have learned to see it as their den.
Dogs are naturally anxious when left alone and leaving them in a crate makes them feel safer than leaving them free to roam the whole area.
Make sure that your puppy learns to spend time in his crate when he’s small and introduce him to the crate slowly, so he never feels trapped or isolated.
If introduced correctly he will come to look forward to the calm and quiet private area the crate offers.
Crate training offers additional advantages to an apartment dweller as it helps minimize potential damage to the apartment if the dog gets scared or traumatized while you are away.
It also helps ensures there will not be any potty-training accidents on your floor or furniture if you’re delayed and can’t come home at your normal time.
It’s important to minimize barking if you have a dog living in an apartment. While barking is normal behavior, it’s not fair to your neighbors to allow it to continue or happen when you’re not home.
One of the best ways to minimize barking is to make sure that your dog is happy, exercised, contented, and has everything he needs.
Bored dogs are more likely to bark when they are left alone so exercise and mental stimulation are important to minimize this behavior.
Dogs who are insecure or frightened will bark at strange noises and socialization and training can help with this.
It’s also a good idea to leave a radio or TV running to help muffle noises from outside of the building and to help the dog not feel so alone.
Desensitize and Socialize
All dogs adjust better to living with humans if they have been desensitized and socialized.
Desensitization helps dogs learn not to be scared or startled by everyday things in their environment, such as loud people, honking horns, and sirens.
An apartment dog should also be desensitized to noises like doorbells, people talking in the halls, and other startling noises which could cause them to bark unnecessarily.
Socialization helps dogs be comfortable in various situations and with a variety of people and other animals.
For the best results, dogs should be socialized to as many new people, other animals, and situations as possible while they are puppies.
This has to be done in a way that doesn’t traumatize or frighten the puppy or it will have a negative effect and make socializing them even more difficult.
Many puppies go through a fear period during which they are frightened easily.
If your puppy shows signs of this, it is best not to overwhelm them with new situations during this time.
At all times it is important to protect your dog from people, other dogs, and traumatic situations which could cause your dog to develop phobias.
For this reason, many experts recommend not taking young puppies or sensitive dogs to dog parks as an aggressive dog could cause your puppy to be fright reactive.
Keep Them Busy
Happy dogs are busy dogs. Bored dogs seek stimulation through inappropriate means such as chewing and barking.
Make sure your dog has mental stimulation and entertainment while you are home and when you are away to keep him as healthy as possible.
One way to do this is through training and frequent interaction.
Puzzle toys that reward your dog with treats are a good way to entertain him while you’re gone.
Train Your Pup Consistently
One of the keys to living in an apartment with a dog is to have a well-trained animal.
Well-trained dogs are better suited to live in close company with humans, and dogs with good manners will be less likely to get you into conflicts with your neighbors.
In addition, training is a good way to keep your dog’s mind busy and help him from becoming bored.
Dogs who are allowed to get bored or have nothing to think about often develop destructive behaviors like barking, chewing, and destroying furniture.
All dogs, even those with lower activity levels, still need regular exercise. Dogs who have their exercise requirements met are less likely to develop behavior problems and will be happier and healthier.
Some breeds, specifically working breeds, have very high exercise needs and these dogs are often not well suited for apartment living.
If you have chosen your dog breed to be well suited for apartment living a daily walk with occasional more strenuous exercise a few times a week should be sufficient.
Be Ready for Wet Weather
Some owners even get little doggy booties and raincoats to help eliminate any potential mess on rainy or snowy days.
Get Into Routine
Dogs thrive on routine so make sure to be consistent, especially with feeding times and walks.
When dogs have consistent routines, they’re less likely to have house training accidents and are more comfortable being left alone because they know when you will be returning.
Consider a Dog Walker
If you can’t be home regularly or if your work schedule requires you to leave for the whole day you may want to consider hiring a dog walker.
Not all dogs can go 8 to 9 hours between potty breaks, especially puppies and small dogs.
If you have to leave a puppy home alone for more than a few hours, or an adult dog home alone for more than six or seven hours, you might have better success if you hire a dog walker.
One way to do this is to find another dog owner in your apartment building whose schedule is different from yours and trade dog walking times with them.
Find Doggy Friends
Finally, you’ll have a happier apartment dog if you find doggy friends for your pup to play with.
Hosting puppy playdates at a local dog park or right in your apartment can be a great way to meet other doggy friends and get your dog the socialization and stimulation that will help him be happy and healthy.