Dogs have lived side by side with man (and woman) for thousands of years. There’s a reason why they’ve earned the title “Man’s Best Friend.” But when it comes to having an apartment dog, it can either be a hit or miss. Here are some important things to consider when moving into an apartment with a canine companion:
Finding the Right Apartment Dog
First and foremost, make sure that you talk with your landlord about getting a dog. There’s nothing worse than getting attached to pet and having to give them up, and it’s unfair to the pet you’ve promised to care for.
If you don’t already have a doggie friend to cater to, then consider your options wisely. You are in a good spot because you can select any breed that you want. However, be sure to select a breed that will respond well to apartment living. Dogs with a naturally high energy level that love wide open spaces — such as herding breeds like Border Collies — are definitely not the best option.
There are plenty of lazy and small dog breeds that will appreciate living in the more intimate apartment environment. Some of these breeds include Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers, Spaniels, Corgis, and, surprisingly, Great Danes (they are very low energy). Of course, also use common sense when selecting the size of dog you want. A gargantuan beast in a very small space will lead to a lot of broken objects and an unhappy dog.
A Room of Their Own
Dogs are social animals, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t require a room of their own. Placing a dog crate or bed in the area where people spend a lot of time will allow them to go off on their own, without entirely leaving the pack. It gives them an area to feel safe when you’re not home as well. Try to tuck the majority of the dog’s things into this area. Getting a basket or other open container to place dog toys in is a good idea as well. This will cut down on the mess, while still allowing your dog to easily access his playthings.
Covering Your Bases
If you’re new to dog ownership, then it’s good to know this one simple fact: Some dogs get into things just as much as cats. Dogs are like awkward teenagers when it comes to their tails, so be conscious of your more precious items. Are they in the hazard zone? Could a swing of a tail or a curious nudge push an item off a table edge? Dogs can also be quite messy, so make sure you reserve a special area in the kitchen for their food and water bowls. Putting a mat under the bowls will make clean-up a lot easier as well. Also keep in mind that no matter how well-trained, most dogs have a difficult time resisting the appeal of an open trashcan. It might be worth investing in a covered waste bin, just to prevent any possible spills from occurring.
The Bathroom Problem
Though this might seem like a no-brainer, make sure you house-train your apartment dog properly. If you decide to get a puppy, take precautions and roll up any soft rugs until you feel that he’s fully trained. Although it’s important to go on frequent walks, most dogs should be able to stay home for about four hours without visiting a fire hydrant. However, return home as often as you can to let them out and let them exercise.
Train, Train, Train
Your dog can never be over-trained, particularly if you’re living in a small space. To prevent the most accidents, destruction, and general mayhem, make sure you invest the time and energy into training. Training doesn’t have to be limited to sit and stay. Most dogs relish the opportunity to learn intricate and mentally challenging tricks. This will keep you happy and carefree, which will make your dog happy by proxy. After all, all dogs want in the world is love, food and a daily run!
If you’re ready to take the plunge, read through our complete guide to pet-friendly apartment living.