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10 Tips for Apartment Living with Your Dog

Dog looking out window

Living in an apartment isn’t always an easy situation when it comes to dog ownership. You typically don’t have a backyard to let your dog go potty in or run around and play. Plus, if your pup is a little mischievous, you could end up losing your deposit thanks to doggy damage. Then, there are the neighbors that likely don’t welcome your dog’s howls while you’re away at work.

Of course, these are all examples of the potential downsides of apartment living with your dog. The keyword here is potential, meaning the good news is, these situations aren’t inevitable. In contrast, think of them more as a picture of what you can avoid with some simple tips and tricks.


dog sitting next to owner at table

Apartment Living with a Canine Roommate

If your home sweet home is an apartment, then you undoubtedly have a few more restrictions when it comes to having a dog as your roomie. After all, you’re living in someone else’s property, which means, ultimately, what they say goes. If you’re fortunate to find a place that welcomes pets, the respectful and considerate thing to do is abide by the complex’s rules. It’s also vital to respect your neighbors and the complex’s common areas, like meeting rooms, rec centers, and outdoor spaces.

Here are ten ways to make your apartment the perfect place for you and your canine companion to coexist.

Don’t Slack on Training

Training your pooch is of prime importance no matter where you live, but it's imperative in an apartment. Primarily because when you live in an apartment, it's not just about you and your dog; it’s also about all the people who live around you.

Ensure you devote adequate time to potty training and basic training, teaching your dog simple commands, like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Crate training your pup is also a great idea. While it’s ideal to start training your pet as young as possible, you can still teach an old dog new tricks. If you're struggling, talk to your vet about recommended obedience classes in your area or see if she recommends any professional private trainers.

Establish a Schedule

Dogs thrive on routine, so if you don't already have a schedule, now is the time to start one. Start the day with a brisk walk and some playtime with your pup so that your dog’s more likely to rest while you start work. This is especially important if you, like so many others recently, are working from home. Establishing a schedule can also help train your pup’s bladder to take bathroom breaks at certain times, which is especially nice when you're in bed for the night.

Stay Organized

An organized home helps life run more smoothly, whether you live in a huge house, a small apartment, or something in between. When your house is organized, you're calmer, which means your pup will be more relaxed. Organize your dog’s belongings in a way that makes sense for your lifestyle, so tasks like grooming, feeding, and other essentials are easy to do.

Doggy-Proof Your Apartment

Of course, you always want your pup to be safe, and doggy proofing is vital whether you rent or own a home. However, it becomes even more critical to puppy-proof your home in an apartment since you want to avoid dealing with a lot of damage. Therefore, take measures to keep both your dog and apartment safe. For example, keep the trash can in a closed cabinet and use a child safety latch, so you don't come home to garbage all over the floor. Tie up long curtain cords so they don't pose a hazard for your pup. Also, keep breakable items and things that could make a mess out of your dog’s reach.

Limit Your Dog’s Access While You’re Away

The fewer places your dog can get to while you're away, the less mess and trouble your pal can get into. Choose a special place for your pup to stay while you're gone. For example, you could put a safety gate across the doorway of a spare bedroom or bathroom and let that be your pup’s perch while you're away from home.

Provide Ample Opportunities for Play and Exercise

Obviously, the more opportunities your dog has for exercise and playtime, the more willing he'll be to rest at other times. Taking your dog for a walk and playing together are ideal, of course, but you can't do it all day long. Therefore, make sure your pup has access to toys that help with mental stimulation and are engaging, like the Rolly Cannoli. A lick mat is also a great way to reduce boredom. This way you won't have to worry about your precious pal interrupting your Zoom call.

Consider a Dog-Walking Service

If you're swamped with work and, let's face it, who isn't nowadays, consider hiring a dog walking service. You can find recommendations through sites like or talk to your vet. You can hire someone to come walk your dog if you’re away for work, but it's also a great idea if you're working from home. This way, you don't have to miss a beat or a deadline because you need to stop for a puppy potty break.

Potty Train Your Pup to Use the Patio or Balcony

Taking your dog for a couple of walks a day is a great way to get exercise and bond. However, you don't necessarily want to have to snap on the leash every time your pup needs to use the bathroom. If your apartment has a balcony or patio area, you could try training your dog to use an outdoor potty pad area. If anything, this could be a solution to avoid late-night bathroom excursions. 

Discourage Barking

Your dog might be the equivalent of your fur-covered child, but your pup's voice is not music to everyone's ears. It’s no secret that when you live in an apartment, you hear sounds from above, below, and next door, which means your neighbors hear you too. Of course, training your dog is the ideal way to discourage excessive barking. There are also several gadgets, like the Furbo dog camera, that enable you to communicate with your pup and even dispense treats remotely.

Start a Doggy-Damage Fund

Yes, of course, your dog is the most well-behaved pup on the planet, however, even the best of us have bad days. Therefore, it couldn't hurt to set aside some extra cash if your dog does some major damage. At the least, you won't stress out about the possibility, and if your dog doesn't destroy anything, then you've got extra cash. Not a bad thing at all.


Dog at front door

What If an Apartment Isn’t a Good Fit for Your Dog?

Sometimes an apartment might not be a good fit for a dog. And it's not necessarily your dog's fault. For example, larger breeds that need a lot of exercise and physical activity, like German Shepherds and Labradors, generally don’t do well in an apartment. No matter what the reason, if it doesn't seem to be working out or your dog seems miserable, you'll have some choices to make. And some of them will likely be tough.

But don't worry, it doesn't automatically mean you need to find another home for your pet; that would be the absolute extreme. Instead, think of other possibilities. For example, are you willing to move? Maybe you can find a complex that's more pet-friendly or a more dog-friendly neighborhood with lots of dog parks and doggy daycares, etc. Or, are you at a point in your life where you can purchase a home? Or if you still want to rent, maybe you can find a house for rent that accepts pets.

Whatever your living situation, it’s important to ensure both you and your pet are happy and safe. Apartment living with your dog can be a wonderful experience as long as you take a few extra steps. Check out our blog for more helpful tips on living with your furry friend. There are tons of useful tips to guide you through the winding roads of pet-parenting.

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