1. Selecting the right breed for your living space
There is no doubt that selecting the appropriate breed to suit your living space is the most important key to happy apartment living with your pet. Selection of the appropriate breed is not just important to keep you happy, it is essential for keeping a happy and healthy dog. Certain breeds are much more compatible with apartment living than others. If you were expecting that Border Collie that was bred for working in the field herding livestock, to be a good match in your 800 sq. foot apartment, you may want to reconsider your choice. Dogs chosen for apartment living don’t always have to be small, but you will want to choose a dog breed that typically has a lower energy level. Some breeds you may consider are: Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Dachshund, American Eskimo, Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog. There is a large selection of breeds that fit the criteria for apartment living and you can find a great list at www.canismajor.com/dog/apart.html
2. Communicate with your landlord
One very important step is to communicate with your landlord. Make sure that your lease agreement allows for pets and that the rules are laid out clearly to avoid future trouble. Some buildings will actually require that you provide a training certificate and or proof of vaccinations. You can end up in a messy situation that is bad for you and your pet, if the rules are not followed. Sometimes, people will try to hide their pets from the landlord, but this move does not come highly recommended. The consequences of getting caught could lead you to having to make a choice between your home and your pet, or perhaps being tied up in a court battle. Better off to just make sure that everyone is on board.
3. Schedule and devote time to walking and playing outdoors
In order to have a happy and healthy relationship with your dog, exercise is key! It is obviously important that at the very minimum, pets get to go outside for bathroom breaks a few times a day. However getting out for a walk and some play time every day is essential too. Getting all of that energy out will leave you with a much happier and obedient pet. Apartments tend to be small spaces so getting out to stretch the legs is great for the health of your dog and it keeps them out of trouble. If you are tight on time after work, or if you are gone for long hours in the day, consider hiring a dog walker. Professional dog walkers offer to stop by your place, take your dog out for a bathroom break, and will even take them out for a walk and some exercise. A very worthwhile spend for the health and happiness of your dog.
4. Take a basic training course
Getting your dog into a basic training course as a puppy will go a long way. Not only will it help with overall behavior, but it will also help to socialize your pet. Odds are that in an apartment/condo environment, he or she will be seeing lots of other puppy friends and they will have to get along. When living in a small space with your dog, you will want to be able to communicate as clearly as possible and set boundaries. Save your table legs and furniture by clearly defining what’s a toy and what is not!
5. Be respectful and pick up after your dog!
This one should go without saying, but seemingly there are lots of people that need a reminder now and then. It is very important to pick up your dog’s poop! Stepping in a pile will really ruin your neighbor’s day and certainly get a new relationship off on the wrong foot. Some buildings and communities have had so many problems with dog waste that whole buildings are banning pets! This is an easily avoided problem. Remember that in an apartment or condo complex, you are living in a shared community with shared space and everyone needs to do their part to maintain it!