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13 Tips For Living in an Apartment with a Dog

Are your current living arrangements making you second-guess the practicality of dog ownership? It doesn’t need to be this way! Just because you live in an apartment, you don’t have to rule out the joys of sharing your space with a happy pooch. With proper planning and a dose of common courtesy, your rental could be the perfect home for a canine companion. Check out these tips to ease the stress of living in an apartment with a dog.

1. Choose your dog wisely

Of course, this advice only applies to folks who are in the market for a new dog. The truth is, some breeds are better suited to apartment life than others. You may have your sights set on an active Border Collie, but this type of dog could find such confined quarters to be stressful. 

When searching for your new pupper, keep in mind that size is not the chief concern here. A giant Greyhound, for instance, can thrive in a smaller space just as well as a teacup-sized Shih Tzu. The thing you need to pay attention to is the breed’s energy level—a feisty dog (no matter his size) will be miserable if he’s unable to stretch his legs regularly. A bored dog will often resort to destructive behavior to release his frustration. 

Whether you’re looking for a puppy or a senior rescue, you should consider the breed’s exercise needs, chewing habits, and tendency to bark. Your neighbors will thank you.

Here are a few breeds that make ideal apartment roommates, according to CertaPet:

  • Boston Terrier: These dogs aren’t yappy, they don’t shed a lot, and they’re easy to train. Plus, they’re adorably fun-sized.
  • Pug: Clownish charmers at heart, pugs are a perennial favorite among dog lovers. They don’t have an aggressive bone in their body, making them ideal residents in apartment buildings.
  • Great Dane: Yes, you read that correctly. If you have a larger apartment, Danes make great roommates. They’re easy-going, don’t bark a lot, and are frequently referred to as “the world’s largest lap dog.”
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Cavalier’s are famously adaptable, docile, and quiet dogs.
  • Chihuahua: These portable pups don’t need a lot of exercise and they’re enormously loyal.

  • Basset Hound: This medium-sized hound is conveniently low-energy, making him a hit with renters.

  • Mastiff: For people who prefer larger breeds, Mastiffs are an excellent choice. These gentle giants are mellow couch potatoes, so you won’t need to worry about them getting antsy in a smaller space.

 

2. Make sure dogs are allowed

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Before you commit to puppy parenthood, clear things with your landlord first. You’ll probably have to pay an extra fee to cover any dog-inflicted damage, so make room in your budget accordingly.

If you plan to move in the near future, remember that it can be challenging to find a dog-friendly apartment. Have realistic expectations to protect yourself from disappointment down the road.

3. Socialize and desensitize your pup

Apartments can be bustling places with people—and pets—constantly coming and going. Obedience classes and social interaction can help your dog get comfortable living in such a busy environment. 

Loud noises are another factor that can lead to a stressed-out pooch. While white noise can usually drown out boisterous neighbors, sometimes it just doesn’t cut it. When this is the case, try treats. Every time a door slams or a loud argument occurs, toss your dog some treats. Before you know it, he’ll learn to associate noise with good things, and his stress level will diminish significantly.

4. Set aside an emergency “destruction” fund

Even the best-behaved dogs have slip-ups from time to time. If your little angel one day discovers he quite likes the taste of carpet—you’re in for a hefty bill. Be smart, and plan ahead.

5. Plan for potty training

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House training your dog is a whole different ball game if you live in an apartment. Unlike a homeowner who can simply open the back door to let a dog do his business, you may have stairs, elevators, and neighbors to contend with. 

Establishing a scheduled potty routine will make things run more smoothly. You may want to consider using puppy pads, especially if you live in a high-rise building. Setting up a balcony potty is a smart solution for emergencies. Faux grass is a life saver if your puppy needs to go in the middle of the night. 

And last, but certainly not least—ALWAYS pick up after your dog.

6. Find ways to exercise

Sure, you may not have a private yard to let Fido run laps, but there are other ways to get in his daily exercise needs. Set aside time every day for leashed walks, hit up the local dog park, or consider hiring a trusted dog walker to help him burn off steam. 

A dog without an energy outlet is prone to behavior issues like chewing or excessive barking, so don’t ignore this basic canine need. You’ll reap the benefits, too—walking your dog will get you outside, encourage you to explore your neighborhood, and help you meet neighbors.

7. Make sure Fido’s vaccinations are up-to-date

Be a good neighbor and ensure that your dog is vaccinated and parasite-free. This is especially important when you’re sharing outdoor space with children and fellow residents.

8. Control your dog’s barking

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A relentless barker can cause serious rifts between otherwise friendly neighbors. Be courteous, and find ways to curb your dog’s yappy vocalization before the complaints start pouring in. Regular exercise, puzzle toys, and removing stressors (ie: closing blinds and using white noise) are a good place to start.

9. Don’t bring him to the pool

If you’re lucky enough to live in a complex with a community pool, please don’t consider it an open invitation for your dog to take a dip. His nails could cause serious damage, someone could get injured, and it’s just not the most sanitary thing to do.

10. Create a sound barrier

If you live in an apartment where neighbors are just a thin wall away, find a way to block out the extra noise. Pro tip: play soft, soothing music while you’re away to keep your dog calm. A TV or portable fan can have a similar effect. The less disturbance your dog hears, the less likely he’ll be to sound his barking alarm.

11. Be careful when entering or exiting

If your dog always reacts to other people or pets, check to make sure the coast is clear before walking through doors. Maintaining a friendly rapport with your neighbor down the hall is easier when you’re not startling him everytime you come home with your dog.

12. Keep your dog leashed

It might be hard to believe, but not everyone is fond of your giant Boxer. In fact, there are plenty of people who consider him a threatening menace. Be sensitive to your fellow neighbors, and keep your dog leashed everytime you leave your apartment. 

This courtesy extends well beyond your neighbors—it also keeps your dog from getting loose or running into traffic. 

13. Consider hiring a professional trainer

Some dogs need a little extra help correcting bad habits. If this is the case with your pup, don’t be afraid to work with a professional trainer. A pro can help you with obedience lessons and mitigate nuisance barking.

Owning a dog can be one of life’s greatest joys. Don’t let your living situation keep you from experiencing it!