Know the Rules… and Other Tips for Condo Dwelling Dog Lovers

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Opening your doors to the new furry family member is always exciting. However, when you live in an apartment or condominium, chances are your pet may be infringing on someone else’s quality of life. Here are a few tips to keep your dog from becoming one of the 47% of canines rehomed due to perceived pet problems that are actually owner errors.


Know the rules

All multi-housing complexes have rules regarding pets (if you happen upon one that doesn’t, keep looking). The Humane Society of the United States has a long list of recommended pet policies that building managers may or may not adopt. Each community will have different rules, so always ask for a copy in writing before you bring home a new animal.


Offer plenty of physical activity

Dogs need to work off their pent up energy. Depending on the age and breed, your dog may need several hours of exercise each day. While you’re single-family-home-dwelling friends have a yard where Fido accomplish much of this on his own, you’re stuck with early morning PT with your pet. If you dog becomes destructive while you’re at work, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker to take up the slack and give your dog the time and attention he needs.


Pick your pet with care

Whether your dog is an AKC-registered purebred or a mutt of unknown origin, you must choose one well-suited to living in a confined space. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just small dogs who do well with apartment life. notes that many large breed dogs, including mastiffs and Great Danes, make great roommates no matter how large those rooms may be.


Socialize your dog

The importance of socialization, especially for pets that live in close proximity with other humans and animals, can’t be underscored enough. Dogs who are well socialized during puppyhood are less fearful of new circumstances and tend to bark less than dogs kept in isolation. PetMD lists four more reasons why socializing your dog is important in this post by Dr. Ken Tudor. If you don’t currently have other pets at home and don’t have access to a dog park or other social area, consider enrolling your new pet in a doggy daycare a few days a week. This will give him a chance to learn how to manage his emotions around dogs of all ages and stages.


Consider location and level

Apartment Therapy, a blog dedicated to city life, explains that the level of your apartment or condominium building should play a part in your decision to get a dog. First-floor units often provide direct access to outdoor spaces and make midnight bathroom breaks a relative breeze.


Be courteous to your neighbors

When your outdoor area is a communal space, always keep your dog on a leash. Learn to control his barking indoors and keep tabs on his grooming – when you have shared walls, his noise and smell can affect your neighbors. Keep common areas clean by picking up your pet’s waste and wiping up muddy pawprints. Avoid the temptation to bring your pet to the pool, hot tub, tennis court, or other common areas.


Crate train responsibly

Once your dog has become fully acclimated to condo living, you may feel comfortable leaving him home for long periods of time. If you trust your pet completely, leave him to lounge on the couch. If not, consider crate training but only once your dog no longer shows signs of anxiety. Whole Dog Journal says it’s important to identify and eliminate unpleasant conditions and teach your dog to love his crate before leaving him alone.

Thankfully, living in an apartment or condominium doesn’t mean you have to give up sharing your home with man’s best friend. It can be a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you, your dog, and your neighbors if you employ courtesy and common sense.


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