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."
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.
All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.
Here are the topics that will be covered:
1. Using a Crate as an Important Training Tool
2. Dogs Need to Have Their Own Space
Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog
Does your dog have any experience in being in a crate for long periods of time?
Using a Crate as an Important Training Tool
Training your dog to use a high impact plastic airline-style kennel or a wire crate in your home is of great benefit for housetraining, provided it is of the appropriate size. When purchasing a crate for housetraining purposes, you should first need to make sure that the size of the crate fits the size of the dog. The crate should be just big enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie back down. If the crate is purchased specifically for housetraining, it is important that the dog does not have enough room to relieve him or herself in one end of the crate and then have room to sleep or eat at the other end. It is unnatural for dogs to want to relieve themselves near where they live. Dogs have a built-in motivation to hold themselves until you take them out. Because dogs have this built-in motivation, you can teach them bladder and bowel control for longer and longer periods, if you are very clear to them that you will be there to take them out.
In addition to being a housetraining aid, a crate works really well to give your dog a space of their own away from the activity of the home and away from other animals. Despite the general perception of a crate being a means to punish a dog, a crate is intended to be more like a safe haven. For your dog, it is like having his or her own room to retreat to for food, for sleep, or for quiet play with a favorite toy.
Dogs Need to Have Their Own Space
I have four brothers and sisters, all in very close age range of each other. Until I was in high school, I shared a room with my older sister, who is a year and a half older than me. I remember the little spaces I would find in the room we shared where I could hide out even just for a short time. Sometimes I would move things around in the closet and build a small hideaway with my desk chair and a blanket from my bed. Sometimes I would put a blanket over my desk and hide out under the desk, reading my newest book from the library or writing in my diary with a flashlight. Sometimes, I would do nothing. Just try to be still and be quiet. To this day I remember those precious spaces and others I found and designed in the house when I was too young to leave on my own. When I got older, I found places of refuge from a chaotic household outside in parks and other places.
These thoughts come back to me when living in an apartment with two dogs plus other animals. Even now, I establish certain spots that are off limits to the dogs, like the bathroom and the kitchen. I used to have the bed off limits, but my dog, Scout, slowly took that over. The kitchen has strict restrictions for safety reasons in case I happen to be holding a hot pot of water. I eat a lot of pasta.
I firmly believe that your dog also needs to have spots all to themselves that are off limits to humans and other pets. I have found my dogs going to these spots all by themselves when they want to rest or just get away from the commotion in the house. Some examples of types of favorite spaces that work well for apartments are crates or kennels, either with or without a door, allowing the dog free access as they choose.
Another idea is to give your dog its own bed and put it in a spot that will remain consistent. One benefit of having a portable bed is that it can be taken with you if the dog boards at a kennel, travels with you in a motel, or stays with family and friends. Having this bed gives your dog a consistent, safe spot he can always turn to in any kind of environment.
You can also designate a piece of furniture like a chair or under a table, and have the dog’s bed in that location. If you choose a piece of furniture, it should be furniture that is no longer being used by the humans in the house. It should always be there for the dog, and not have the bed move from one place to another when somebody wants to use that furniture.