Getting Your Puppy Ready for Apartment Living
Having a dog is pretty awesome but there’s also a lot of responsibility. Apartment living is unique for dogs, as it often restricts their space. There’s also the issue of exercise, as many apartments do not offer enclosed spaces for puppy-play. Let’s take a look at the big issues and what to do about them: Respecting landlords, crate-training, and exercise.
Landlords’ pet policies
“Because I have pets of my own, I could see the need for pets,” one landlord said. “They are my family, and I wouldn’t want to put prospective tenants in the position of giving up part of their family in order to rent.”
“The words ‘pets okay’ sure bring in the calls,” said one San Francisco property owner. Some landlords have even found pet owners to be more stable tenants.
Many landlords carefully screen prospective tenants who have pets. They ask for references and check them out. They also look at the pet to make sure it is well-groomed and socialized.
Not all apartment complexes are pet-friendly. If you’re moving into a new apartment with a strict no-pets policy, you have three options: give up the pet, give up the apartment, or change the landlord’s mind.
The third option takes a lot of work, if it’s even possible. Keep a level head: You’re entering a business arrangement, not a personal relationship. Consider the reasons your pet could enhance the community. You may also want to provide training documentation, references from previous landlords, or even veterinary records. If the landlord wants to see an obedience class certificate, either go to a class, take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, or demonstrate your dog’s ability to obey the simple commands learned.
Consider compromise options: Would you be comfortable with a landlord checking in to ensure your pet’s behavior is as promised? Or the living space remains in good condition? There really is no reason to expect fleas. That said, responsibly use flea-deterrents year-round.
Puppies and dogs like crates because of their “den-like feel.” Because dogs naturally avoid using the bathroom where they dwell (and sleep), crates also are a great tool for house training. Crates also reduce separation anxiety, prevent destructive behavior, and keep a puppy away from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons, electrical wires, etc.).
Most dogs which have been crate-trained as puppies grow up to prefer their crate to rest in or “hang-out” in. It is for this reason a crate, or any other area of confinement, should never be used for the purpose of punishment.
Puppies continue enjoying their crates into their adult dog-hood. Save space and increase the “den-like feel” by keeping the crate under a table or desk.
I have to be honest: I didn’t do a lot of research when it came to adopting my dog, Cooper. In fact, both the Humane Society and I weren’t exactly sure which breed he even was! I later found out my dog’s predominate breed is a Rhodesian Ridgeback: Known for their energy, love of socializing, and need for formal training. As I later read, “A Ridgeback should be able to adapt to apartment/condo living, assuming the foregoing exercise principles are strictly adhered to.”
I’m not huge on running (unlike Sara, our marathon blogger!), but I do love being outside. Because Cooper was formally well-trained with recall (coming when called), I’ve been able to take him hiking through forests. We’ve also discovered large dog parks in the area with paths perfect for leash-less strolls! If all else fails or the weather is just too dang cold, we head over to my mom’s fenced backyard for a solid visit with her dogs (leaving mom and I indoors with a cup of coffee!).
Just for fun…
10 popular dogs for apartment living:
- Airedale Terrier
- Doberman Pinscher
- Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)
Love pets? Here are a few additional resources:
- Ideas for releasing energy: High Energy Dogs in Small Apartments
- Considering a different pet? Favorite Pet Choices for Apartment Living
- Sanity: Keeping Your (& Your Pet’s!) Apartment Healthy & Happy