Living happily in an apartment (or anywhere, really) with a dog takes work. A dwelling in such close quarters with other people presents it’s challenges, especially when you have a dog. When living in an apartment with a dog, it is crucial to take the time and effort to train your dog properly, to exercise them regularly, and to groom and maintain them.
Training your apartment dog is critical. A dog living in an apartment must understand that they cannot run out the front door whenever it is opened, they can’t bark when you are gone (or when you’re home), and they can’t relieve themselves on the carpet.
If you live in your own home, these behaviors are a problem, but in an apartment, these behaviors will cost you money in damages, and could even get you evicted. If you don’t have time to train your apartment dog, don’t get one. You will regret it.
Keeping your apartment clean is also important when living in an apartment with a dog. I allow Johann to roam the apartment when we are gone, as opposed to locking him in his kennel. This makes it so he can play with his toys while I’m gone and it helps me feel less guilty about leaving him. That being said, if I leave clothes or a mess on the floor, he is likely to chew on things that he shouldn’t, so I have to keep things put away or up high. At the very least, the floor needs to be free of clutter.
Grooming your dog regularly helps keep your apartment clean. If you’ve read my other articles, you know how I feel about grooming your pets. When you groom your dog, it removes dead hair that will otherwise end up on your carpet or sofa. It also provides opportunity for you to notice any unusual lumps or marks on your pet that may require veterinary care.
Besides, who wants to live in close quarters with a messy, stinky dog? Not me. Your guests won’t appreciate it, either. No one wants to come to your apartment if it’s covered in pet hair and smells like the dead bird that your dog rolled in last week when you took him to the dog park.
Taking your dog outside is especially important when living in an apartment. Taking walks and regularly exercising is healthy for both of you. If you keep your dog cooped up in the apartment all day, they can become overweight, which presents a myriad of health problems and vet bills. In addition to regularly exercising your dog, make sure to watch how much they eat and keep them on a healthy diet.
Feeding your dog a quality dog food not only saves you money in the long run and keeps your dog healthy, but it also makes it easier to clean up their poop, which is something that owners of apartment dogs are constantly doing.
There are a few other dogs that live in my apartment complex, and we are always getting in trouble for other people not picking up their dog’s poop. I always know which turds are Johann’s and which ones are not, because Johann’s poop is brown and fairly solid. It’s small and easy to pick up. The other dogs’ poop (aside from being much larger), is runny and greenish colored. This is because I feed Johann a quality dog food, and they feed their dogs a cheap dog food.
Do you want to pick up runny dog poop? If not, avoid it by feeding your dog a quality dog food. Which brings me to my next point:
Clean up your dog’s poop. Other dog owners in your apartment building, the yard crew, and your landlord will hate you if you don’t. You can get away with letting your dog out to go potty and then leaving it alone if you have your own yard, but when you share a courtyard with 100 other residents, you can’t do that. You should follow your dog outside, watch them poop, pick it up and dispose of it, then follow them back inside.
Choose the right breed. While living with a large dog in an apartment can be done, it is more difficult. Be prepared for more exercise trips, higher food costs, and larger poop to clean up. From what I’ve seen, the happiest apartment dog owners are those that keep small, non-shedding breeds. These breeds are typically more content in close quarters with their owners. The downside is that many small breeds are prone to separation anxiety and may have a tendency to bark or cause damage when their owner leaves.
I have met several apartment dwellers who keep dogs of a larger size, such as Huskies, Pit Bulls, or Border Collies, in an apartment and are able to keep them happy and healthy. As long as the owner takes them out for regular exercise, it is perfectly feasible to live with a larger breed in an apartment, if your landlord allows it. It all depends on the temperament of the dog and the dedication of the owner.
I have written an article on great dog breeds for apartments, which you can read here.
In conclusion, while you should still train, groom, and exercise your dog if you live in your own home, it becomes twice as important when you live in an apartment. Any behavior problem or concern that would be difficult to deal with in a house becomes much more difficult to deal with in an apartment. Think it over and do your research before bringing a dog into an apartment. That being said;
Johann and I have found our apartment to be an especially excellent environment for cultivating a strong bond between owner and dog. If you are up to the task and willing to work and learn what works best for you and your dog, I would not discourage anyone from bringing a furry friend into their home (or apartment).