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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Renting an Apartment: The Best Dog for Living in an Apartment

The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."

Jackie Phillips
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.  


Here are some topics that are covered:

1. All dogs can successfully be taught to live in an apartment.
2. Some common breed differences when living in an apartment
3. Small size dogs
4. Medium size dogs
5. Larger size breeds
6. Some Good Habits to Establish If You Live in an Apartment with Your Dog

Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

The Best Dog for Living in an Apartment

All dogs can successfully be taught to live in an apartment.

The success rate among dogs will be in the extra amount of time and effort that some dogs will need from the owner. Some dogs require more physical and mental exercise like herding, sporting and working dogs. Some dogs have longer coats which will require more brushing.

The breed aside, some individual dogs may have issues with being left alone in a house without causing destruction. If this behavior is known prior to moving in or develops later on, then some behavior modification and training will be needed. The dog can be taught how to be inside without causing destruction. Perhaps some time at a doggie day care a couple of times a week to relieve some of the tension would help the dog to adjust to the new environment.

If the dog is not 100% successfully housetrained that issue must be dealt with separately. Perhaps working with a professional dog trainer or behavior consultant will help during the transition period.

If an owner is committed to daily exercise, stimulation with training and games, trips to the dog park and regular grooming, than this is the kind of dog that will do best in any apartment environment.

Some common breed differences when living in an apartment

Below is a generalization of dog sizes and their energy needs.

Small size dogs
Small dogs, generally dogs under 15 pounds, are a deceiving group of dogs to automatically assume any kind of standard behavior. This group range from a sedate Pekinese to high maintenance Yorkshire Terriers to nervous Chihuahuas to strung out Jack Russell Terriers. One breed is so unlike another in exercise needs and energy levels that it is close to comparing apples and oranges when comparing the breeds in dogs less than 15 pounds. Unfortunately, due to the discrimination and ignorance of many property owners, who wrongly feel any dog less than 20 pounds is acceptable in their minds, this is the group of dogs that most commonly are in apartments.

I think a broad generalization could include the use of the name Terrier as an indication of demanding, high energy needs. Also if you look at the history of the breed to see if they are a working breed, like the Jack Russells or the Dachshund, and are they still being used for this work, like the Jack Russells, that might give you a better indication of the dog’s energy needs.
Compare this to the Pug or the Pekinese, who original purpose was for companionship.

Medium size dogs
This group has a wide range of sizes anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds all the way up to 50 pounds, and the breeds vary from all herding dogs (border collies and cattle dogs) to spaniels (brittanys, springers), to bull dogs (English Bull Dogs and American Pit Bull Terriers).

Let us not forget the Dalmatian, which is considered to be a non-sporting breed group, but is one of the most demanding breeds for exercise and training and direction of any breed that exists today due to its history as a hunting and carriage dog.

Any breed with “spaniel” or “pointer” in its name will have high energy automatically built in with demanding amounts of exercise on a daily basis. If these needs fail to be met you may find holes in your doors, complaint notes from your neighbors from the barking and claw marks on hardwood floors.

This category also includes most American Pit Bull Terriers (APBTs) and related “bull breeds,” which have about as much variation in personality and temperament as there are dogs. Some of the bull breeds can be sedate, some can be medium energy levels and some can be super high energy, and these can also change from day to day. APBTs and their relatives can generally be classified as dogs that need training, a leader as an owner, and a channeling for their intense focus and emotions. These breeds typically need daily exercise such as walks, supervised play sessions with other dogs and a lot of mind stimulation like games and training classes. APBTs and other bull breeds need a great deal of mental stimulation to keep them from creating mischief.

Larger size breeds
This breed group would include dogs from 50 pounds up to about 100 pounds. Any breed that weighs over 100 pounds would be classified as a Giant breed, a group that consists primarily of Mastiff-type breeds and larger sighthounds.

The most popular of the large breeds are the retrievers (Goldens and Labradors), which are two of the most high energy and exercising demanding breeds that exist. Yet many property owners will say “OK” to these breeds because of the stereotype that these dogs are so friendly. However, one additional drawback to the caring of these breeds is their coats, which need daily grooming and brushing to prevent excessive shedding and matting.

Like the smallest breeds, the larger breeds of dog can be misleading. Many property owners mistakenly believe that a large dog requires constant exercise and would be unable to live in an apartment. Again, dogs are only as adaptable as the degree of time and effort that an owner is willing to put into the dog. Any dog of any size that is exercised and socialized properly can live anywhere. If a 10 pound Jack Russell is not exercised daily and a 90 pound Rottweiler is, then the Rottweiler will be more adaptable to the apartment.

Some Good Habits to Establish If You Live in an Apartment with Your Dog

Living in an apartment can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog. The following is a suggested list of good habits in order to keep an apartment experience fun.

1. Teach your dog a specific word for bathroom breaks so when it is pouring rain or you are traveling, you will need them to go quickly or in an unfamiliar location.

2. Keep your dog on a consistent and regular food because if your dog suddenly has a bout of diarrhea due to a sudden change in food they will not have much control to wait until you can take them out.

3. Provide daily physical and mental exercise for your dog.

4. Designate a space in the apartment that each animal can call its own that others do not share.

5. You can also designate your own space in the apartment that the animals are not allowed into such as the bathroom or kitchen for safety reasons or certain pieces of furniture. Baby gates are very helpful to block access to certain locations.

6. Since an apartment is small and limited on space and storage compared to a house, you will end of sharing a lot of space with your pet simply due to the fact that there is very little space to begin with. For example, it will be difficult to prevent your dog from being on certain pieces of furniture, especially if you don’t have a crate for your dog.

7. I have been able to apply the same rule to other locations that a blanket must be in a certain spot for the dog to lay on it, or they are not allowed. When the blankets get washed, then these locations are off limits. I will enforce this. I figure my dogs can wait a couple of hours until the blankets are cleaned and they do. The use of the blankets does seem to give the dog a clear understanding of when they can be on a piece of furniture and when they cannot.

Renting an Apartment: Benefits of Living in an Apartment with Your Dog

The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."

Jackie Phillips
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.

Here are some topics that are covered:

1. Improves Your Relationship
2. Better Health for You and Your Dog
3. More Training and Socialization


Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

Benefits of Living in an Apartment with Your Dog 

When you and your dog live in an apartment you will be sharing very close quarters. Since you don’t have a backyard in which your dog can spend a lot of time, you both spend more time inside together. Your relationship with your dog may start to feel more like a roommate with him expressing needs of his own and a desire for equal space and time. Since you will be going together on walks several times a day, you will be spending even more time together, exploring your neighborhood and going to dog parks. If you are able to take your dog to work with you, you will be spending more time together than most husbands and wives. When you live in an apartment with a dog, your relationship blooms from that of a standard owner and dog relationship to that of being close friends, roommates and inseparable buddies.

For some people and dogs this is the type of relationship they are accustomed to having with their dogs, and it does not seem unusual. When I first moved out of my parent’s house at the age of 19, I took the family dog, Prezo, with me. I moved into a large house with several roommates and Prezo lived in my room with me. Since my parents did not allow Prezo in the house (he was only allowed in the garage due to my dad’s allergies) Prezo was unaccustomed to living inside. However, he was always housetrained and quickly adjusted to life inside a house. I remember realizing the changes he needed to go through and how I could help him through all that.

That is not to say that if you live in a house with your dog that you won’t have a deep relationship with your dog. Absolutely, you can. However, living in an apartment adds a deeper level of commitment and understanding that can easily be taken for granted if you live with a yard.

If you want to take your dog on a driving vacation with you instead of leaving him or her in a kennel or with a friend or family member, he or she will be more adjusted and better trained coming from living in an apartment. Living in an apartment adjusts your dog to staying in motel/hotel rooms and other small spaces comfortably. Your dog should also be familiar with being in a crate in the car for long car rides. Since you walk your dog daily in your neighborhood your dog will be more used to being calm and better behaved around a variety of people and other pets so you can walk your dog in new cities and on trails with a lot less stress. Your dog can more easily adapt to going to new dog parks and strange situations. Finally, your dog will already be familiar with having to relieve themselves in a variety of environments which helps a lot while traveling. And, of course, your dog is much happier to be with you than in a kennel.

You will get more exercise for the both of you because you and your dog will be going for walks several times a day. Of course, if you are smoking while out on your walks that doesn’t count. A brisk walk will be better for your health than a slow one will be. Since dogs walk at approximately four miles an hour and human beings typically walk at only two miles an hour, try to adjust your pace to your dog’s pace instead of the other way around.

Your dogs overall stress level will be reduced when encountering anything new or a change in its routine because the dog will already be fully adjusted to coming across on a daily bases all the different and challenging experiences he or she encounters in their daily life at home. This stress reduction will also benefit his health over the long term.

If you take your dog to dog parks for exercise, you will meet other dog people. As a result, your dog will become more socialized automatically as they meet more people on their walks. They will become more adapted to noises, machines and other animals. Compare this kind of experience to the experience of a dog that lives in a house with a yard. The house dog will rarely, if at all, be taken for walks, loosing out on the socialization and training opportunities.

You set an example for others to see what a well-behaved and well-trained dog can truly be like. I meet people all the time who were once extremely afraid of dogs eventually look forward to seeing my dogs, and my dogs loved to see them everyday, also, which made these people very happy.

Renting an Apartment: Four Myths of Having Dogs in Apartments

The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."

Jackie Phillips
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.

Here are some topics that are covered:

1. Myth One: Dogs need a lot of space with a big house and a yard
2. Myth Two: Only certain breeds can live in an apartment
3. Myth Three: Dogs can’t be happy in an apartment
4. Myth Four: One might be OK, but more than one is just too many


Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

Four Myths of Having a Dog in an Apartment

This section is one of my favorites because I have been hearing these myths for many, many years. I think these myths originate from a person’s individual perspective. One of the reasons I am writing this book is to expand a person’s perspective on what can be done and to give a dog and owner the chance to experience a whole new perspective, and to say, “Yes! These things can be done.”

Myth One: Dogs need a lot of space with a big house and a yard
Actually, having a large yard to keep a dog prevents the owner from spending quality time with the dog. If left outside, dogs will find their own entertainment which commonly comes in the form of digging, chewing, barking and fence jumping.

If you provide adequate outside, one-on-one exercise with a dog, the dog will come home and rest or sleep anyway.

Many owners use a large yard as an excuse to not spend time with their dogs since they feel that the dog is getting adequate exercise in the yard.

Myth Two: Only certain breeds can live in an apartment
Some people believe that some dogs cannot live in apartments due to their size, coat, breed or mix and other factors. However, that is not necessarily so. Rather, it is better to say that some breeds will certainly require more work and attention on the owner’s part in order to live in an apartment. Some dogs such as those from the herding, terrier, working, and sporting breed groups, will require more exercise than others. Examples of these breeds would be Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers and Beagles. Some dogs will require more grooming to control shedding. This would include any of the Nordic breeds like Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and American Eskimo breeds, as well as German Shepherd Dogs and many other double-coated breeds. Some dogs will require more socialization due to inherent shyness or aloofness like Border Collies and Sighthounds like Afghans and Greyhounds. Another group of dogs that would need more socialization would be dogs with a previous lack of proper socialization around dogs, people and urban noises like buses and traffic.

All dogs can be properly kept in an apartment
Some dogs will need more of a time commitment from the owner with more exercise and mind stimulation and grooming. If the owner understands this ahead of time, then any size dog can be kept inside an apartment.

The reason why some apartments only allow small dogs is because they falsely believe that small dogs cause less trouble. Since all dogs can bite, no matter the size, a poorly behaved small dog can cause a lot of problems. Some property managers allow only small dogs because small dogs leave smaller messes behind. If the management enforced that all owners clean up after their dogs, than the size of the dog makes no difference. Many apartment managers also seem to agree that only small dogs can be kept in apartments because they believe that medium and large dogs need an abundant amount of exercise. However, many small dogs, like terriers and beagles, need a lot of exercise.

Myth Three: Dogs can’t be happy in an apartment
Many people believe that a dog is only happy when they are running loose on acres and acres of open land. This misunderstanding may come from a past lifestyle in which somebody lived on acres of land and the family dogs were allowed to run loose. That is what they knew. Certainly, that is an acceptable way of life for many people and their dogs. There is nothing wrong with that. And I believe that if those particular dogs were suddenly transported from their country home to an urban apartment, the dogs, as well as the people, would go into culture shock and many changes would have to occur. However, the changes could be made. The people would adjust and the dog would adjust with the proper guidance. The change certainly could take place if somebody followed the steps describe in this book.

Myth Four: One might be OK, but more than one is just too many
This myth comes from property owners who use this as an excuse to prevent renting to a possible tenant if they have more than one pet. Many property owners also believe that children can’t be happy in an apartment, but they can’t say that to a parent because it is illegal to discriminate against children in rentals. However, most laws don’t prevent a property owner from discriminating against a dog owner, unless you are elderly or disabled or living in assisted housing.Greyhounds. Another group of dogs that would need more socialization would be dogs with a previous lack of proper socialization around dogs, people and urban noises like buses and traffic.

Along the same lines are the restrictions that governments put on owners stating that only a certain number of animals can be allowed in a household. That restriction is illegal to make for children; however, it is not illegal to say about animals. Therefore, these restrictions are made because there is nothing stopping property owners from making them. The number of animals in a household has absolutely nothing to do with an individual’s ability to properly care for an animal. One person may not be able to care for a single dog on ten acres, but another responsible person can take care of five animals in a studio apartment.