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Dogs and Apartment Life: What to Consider

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Dogs make great companions and have tons of personality, so it makes sense to become a “dog person”. Living in an apartment does have some considerations to make when picking out a new furry friend, so read through the guide below before deciding on a new dog.

Which Dog Breeds are Best for an Apartment?

A good rule of thumb is to avoid large dog breeds and stick with small and medium-sized breeds.

You should look for a dog that won’t require many hours of physical activity because you don’t want to climb three flights of stairs every hour to take your dog outside. You also don’t want a dog that barks a lot because this could disturb your neighbors and may ultimately lead to you being kicked out of your apartment.

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There are several dog breeds that fit these requirements:

  • English Bulldogs – These dogs are of medium stature and never grow to be too big. English bulldogs require just a regular amount of physical activity, so a daily walk and maybe the occasional play session in your apartment would suit this dog very well. English bulldogs make great guard dogs, but they don’t make a lot of unnecessary noise. English bulldogs are also known for being very loyal and friendly.
  • Pugs – Pugs are very small dogs, so they wouldn’t feel crowded or uncomfortable in an apartment. Pugs are fairly active, but because of their small size, you won’t break a sweat keeping up with them. A daily walk and an adventure in the park would keep a pug very happy. Pugs also have minimal shedding, so your furniture will stay safe!
  • Maltese – The Maltese dog breed is fairly popular, and you may have seen many in dog shows before. Maltese dogs are very small, but they do require daily grooming because of their long hair. However, any other upkeep is minimal: they’re generally considered lap dogs, and they only need a short walk once a day.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Cavaliers are another very common dog that are suitable for apartment life. They are small in stature, and they tend to make very little noise. These also make a great dog to play with children. A Cavalier only needs a walk once a day, but make sure to play with them and groom them multiple times per week.

There are many other dogs that would make great apartment pets, but these are some of the most common dog breeds.

How Do I Train My Dog for Apartment Life?

Training a dog for apartment life isn’t incredibly different from training a dog in any other living situation, but there are a few situations where some extra reinforcement is encouraged.

  • Barking – Each floor of an apartment is filled with several families, so your dog is likely to hear people passing the door multiple times a day. This means your dog is more likely to bark at passersby. Train your dog to know that this is just a normal part of his/her life by practicing walking past the outside of your door. Every time your pooch stays quiet, you should give them a treat. Enforcing good behavior will encourage your dog to reserve their barking when strangers walk by.
  • Ignoring other dogs – It’s very likely that there are other dogs living in other apartments in your building, and you’re bound to pass them when you are with your dog. Teaching your dog to be friendly and quiet when around other dogs is a very important lesson. You can practice this by introducing your dog to other dogs in an outside environment, like a park. Again, encourage positive reinforcement with treats. Your dog will slowly learn that being around other dogs, no matter what breed or size, is okay. Your dog may even become friends with the other pups in your apartment building!
  • Potty training – Potty training your dog is one of the most important skills to teach your dog, especially when they are a puppy. This comes with a couple more obstacles when you live in an apartment. Since your dog has no access to an outside area during the day, you will probably have to set up a pee pad in a secluded corner for your dog to use while you’re away at work or school. Train your dog to go potty in only that area by giving treats every time they use it. Also, be sure to reward your dog when they make it to their outside potty area before going to the bathroom.

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Are There Any Safety Concerns For My Dog in an Apartment?

There are not many safety concerns that increase with choosing to live in an apartment with a dog, but there are some general safety considerations you should keep in mind.

  • Allergies – Not everyone in your apartment building is going to have a dog or even like dogs. Be considerate that other apartment tenants may be allergic to your dog. Make sure you teach your dog to never run up to strangers. Every happy puppy loves to play, but make sure you speak to any person before allowing your dog to greet them. Also, don’t allow your dog to rub up against or touch any community areas in your building, such as lobby furniture, doors or wall trimmings. Your dog should feel comfortable in your apartment, but he or she should be respectful of all other areas.
  • Apartment Damage – Dogs, especially puppies, are naturally curious creatures. While you're away at work, your dog may want to explore and play with items around the apartment. Make sure you keep any valuable items out of reach and any breakable items that could hurt your dog are also kept out of sight. You don’t want your dog to hurt themselves and then be stuck for hours in pain, but you also don’t want to damage your apartment. Safeguard your apartment in a way to ensure you’ll have your safety deposit returned when you move out.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you in deciding what type of dog you would like to have in your apartment. Remember to check your apartment’s rules to be sure owning a dog is allowed and that there are no breed restrictions. Also, always check your local adoption centers first before buying a specific dog breed.

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