How about living in a an apartment with a dog? Is that something that is easy to do, and if so what do we need to know.
I was lucky enough to grow up my entire life in a house. Even as an adult, I have only lived in an apartment once. I have always either lived in a part of or a full house. Much of the reasoning or mindset I had was due to my love of animals. For some reason, I always thought that I could only have animals if I had my own house.
Now in saying that, this was 30 years ago and apartment buildings and suite rentals were far stricter with having pets in their buildings than now. We really have come so far.
I have always wondered about what living with a dog in an apartment is really like. Can it work and is it OK for the dog?
The reason I find this such an interesting topic is in part to myself getting older. Owning a house for most of my adult life, was always something I completely enjoyed.
In my future however I see me starting to consider a big life change. That change does not have owning another house on the menu. I don’t want the responsibility or work that goes into owning and maintaining a house. I’m thinking more minimalistic lifestyle to be honest.
That being said, we aren’t done owning a dog. Getting another puppy is already on the brain, so I have a personal stake in the reason for this post. LOL!
The right choice
Whether you already live in an apartment and want to get a dog or are considering downsizing in the future. Making the right choice in a dog breed, is one of the key factors to success.
Why is choosing the right breed so important, well that is easy. A high energy dog breed, generally means that unless you are going to be committed to walking your dog basically 2 times per day, than living in a small place maybe harder. Harder for you and harder for your dog.
I am not saying that this can’t work or be successful. I just want to ensure that you are realistic about what the dog breed you have chosen really needs for exercise. I know plenty of people that have big dogs and live in small spaces with no problem. Just remember that dogs do need the ability to let loose and burn off than pent-up energy they are storing.
The right choice in a dog is critical but so is fitting the right dog with who you are. Your lifestyle and routine are also super important in the amount of time your dog will be alone without interaction or exercise. Long hours away is tough on any dog, so adding the lack of space to that, can magnify the issues.
A dog can start to display bad behavior as a type of reaction to the circumstances. Making sure that your dog is living a well-balanced life, will help ensure you have a good healthy and well-mannered dog.
The great outdoors
Having close access to a dog park, with wide open space to let your dog really let loose and give their legs the stretch they require is imperative. Play a game of fetch with a Frisbee or ball, is always a good way to get your dog running in bursts. This fast movement really helps to allow them stretch out properly.
There is also the much-needed socialization and play time that your dog will get in a dog park environment. Being with their own kind and really just being dogs, lets them get back to who they are.
Just like when we are not around people for a length of time, you do crave that interaction. Our dogs are the exact same way. They have a pack mentality and that means having your dog around other dogs whenever you can.
Long walks and hikes are also a great way to get your dog out and moving on a regular basis.
Now yes all these things are important, but green space really boils down to your dogs bathroom. You don’t want to be going far to allow your dog to do their business. Remember the early am pee times, the before bed times, and everything in between. Be really aware of where that space is in proximity to your door. That distance is important.
The great thing about moving into a pet friendly building is that some landlords have even gone so far as to provide a dog park right on the property. Larger housing companies like Homestead in Ontario provide this for their tenants. They want families to live in their buildings, and as we know most families these days have pets. I think this really shows how in tune the landlords are with the type of renter they are looking for.
To make it even easier, especially if you have a puppy or senior dog but really for any dog, there is now a product that will allow your dog to go right indoors or on your patio.
Yup, I am not kidding. Have you ever heard of Doggie Lawn? It is an environmentally friendly dog grass patch, that can be used indoors or on your patio. You just let your dog do his business on it when needed just compost or garbage it and replace.
You simply sign up for a subscription and have your Doggie Lawn delivered right to your door. It really is that easy. This product is a perfect addition to living in an apartment with a dog.
We know providing dogs with physical exercise is super important. Making sure we are keeping our dog’s mental well-being in check daily is also needed.
A walk provides a way to allow them to stretch their legs, but it also stimulates their brain. This stimulation keeps them sharp and engaged.
A dog can get down and even depressed when they feel like their life is boring or always in the same routine. Breaking up the routine and doing activities that challenge your dog will help snap them out of that boredom.
There are many ways we can do this. There are some easy ways to accomplish this.
- Something as simple as changing out your dogs toys every few days. Keep some put away and rotate them so they don’t see a specific toy for a while. Then when you re-introduce a toy, it will seem like you are giving them a new toy.
- Buy a puzzle feeder for your dog that makes your dog work for their food. This activity is very mentally stimulating.
- Provide interactive dog toys that the two of you can play with together. Toys like PupPod, Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, and Outward Hound Hide Squirrel Toy just to name a few.
Sometimes dog will get so bored that they can get into trouble by chewing or becoming destructive in your home. Always remember that if your dog appears bored and is constantly looking for trouble, you will need to change things up.
Get them out and about with you when you can. Even easy things like taking them with you to go run errands in the car. Take a drive on the weekend and go to a different location than you normally go. Just anything to break up the routine. Walk them in a totally new location then you have before, as this allows them to have new smells and see new things that aren’t familiar.
Our dogs are left alone for hours when we go to work, so we need to remember how lonely and boring that can be. Anyone that has been laid up themselves for any length of time, can understand this. Cabin fever as I call it can set in quickly and is a real thing. It mentally affects how you feel. This same situation can happen with your dog. Beware!
Living in any type of shared housing whether it is an apartment or suite in house, we need to remember that we have neighbor’s.
We have all heard stories from friends or families about living in a building with a loud barking dog or dog that is just constantly misbehaving.
A dog that suffers from separation anxiety, or is in emotional stress can be a very loud disruptive dog for your neighbors. Remember that before you decide to move into an apartment.
Think about this when you are choosing a new puppy or dog if you already live in an apartment. Select a quiet breed of dog that is not known for barking. Yes dogs can learn to bark, but it is no secret, that some breeds do bark more than others.
You also need to know how your dog behaves when you are away. There are a few different ways you can do this and one of the easiest ways is to leave your house and stand in close enough proximity to hear how your dog is behaving now that you are gone.
One of the other things you can do is befriend your neighbor and when you see them in the hall, ask them if your dog is being disruptive to them at all.
Having a dog that howls or barks constantly is going to cause you trouble within the building you live. It is a lot to ask of your neighbors to live next to that daily.
The goal with making sure your neighbor also likes your dog, is to make sure that you always clean up after your dog. Being a responsible dog owner goes along way in showing your neighbors that you are committed to being a respectful neighbor.
Living with a dog in an apartment is absolutely doable, but you need to be smart about it. So whether you are in an apartment now or like me thinking of downsizing, make a checklist of all the important issues that I’ve talked about.
Go through that list one by one and see how your current dog measures up to the potential issues. If you don’t have a dog yet, but are considering getting one. Make sure you think about what type of dog you are considering and how they will stack up with living in an apartment.
As with many of the situations that dog owners encounter as a dog parent, the responsibility and decisions fall on us to make sure we make the right ones.
Everyone loves a puppy and they are all so darn cute, but remember they don’t stay that size. Know what you are getting yourself into by educating yourself before you just make a quick emotional decision.
Being a dog owner is one of the most rewarding and special things we can do, but remember to be smart and do the work. Success always falls on the dog owner, NOT THE DOG!
I hope that I have shed some light on the Do’s and Don’ts of dog ownership in an apartment and hopefully you have all the information you need to be successful. Best of luck!