Good Dog’s Guide to Apartment and Condo Living

Just because you don’t have a backyard or even a second story doesn’t mean you and your pup can’t be perfectly happy in your home.

Many condos and apartments are nearby dog parks, and some even offer their own off-leash area. Other small-space amenities can include pet washes, grooming stations, treats in the office, and dog walkers.

Whether you’re an apartment or condo dweller thinking about adding a four-legged family member, looking to downsize with your pooch, or just hoping to bone up on your small-space petiquette, these tips will help your pup love loft life as much as you do.

Size doesn’t (always) matter. It’s common sense that the larger the dog the bigger the home needs to be, right? Not necessarily. As long as you’re exercising your dog properly, there’s no reason you can’t welcome a large dog—with the right temperament—into your apartment. At the end of the day, it’s about each individual dog’s needs, not pure poundage — and that’s true for both lap-loving Yorkies and loafing Great Danes.

Give yourself a leg up. When in the market for a new apartment or condo, you may encounter more no-pets policies than pet-friendly places. Even those that allow pets may have restrictions on certain breeds or sizes. Start by checking out our Twin Cities apartment directory or condo directory for dog-approved digs, then give yourself plenty of time to scope out each space. Hone in on places where your dog feels comfortable walking and that can accommodate your dog’s preferences (i.e., does the surrounding area accommodate off-leash romps?).

To thy own landlord be true. When welcoming a new pet into your current home, double check the policies and be up-front with your landlord or association to avoid hassles down the road.

Stick around. Be sensitive as your dog adjusts to her new digs. Surround her with comfort items and, most importantly, try to be around as much as possible until you both start to feel at home.

Get walking. Daily exercise is a must no matter where you call home. Since apartment pups often don’t have the advantage of a fenced-in yard or spacious enclosed run, be intentional about getting out. Good news for TC dog-owners: There are scads of dog parks and pet-friendly walking trails where you and your dog can get your move on.

Establish a routine. For apartment- and condo-bound dogs, routines are key. Be consistent with feeding and walking times.

Take a bite out of boredom. Create a cozy corner with favorite blankets or a bed, and leave a basket of chew toys out and accessible. Push a bench up to a window to give your buddy a view of the street. If your dog likes background noise, leave the TV or radio on low while you’re away.

Be a good neighbor. When walls are thin—and shared—it’s important to work towards a relatively quiet environ. Keeping Fido well fed, exercised, and entertained should cut down on excessive barking. Consult with your vet or trainer about humane and effective ways to curb a bad barking habit to make sure you (and your dog) stay on your neighbors’ good side.

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