Raising Your Dog in a Small Apartment

Living in the London definitely has its benefits (work opportunities, wonderful transit, culture and world class shopping!) but it can be difficult to know whether or not owning a dog in the city will work for you. As somewone who just got a Beagle pup from a licensed breeder, I have my story and tips to share to all of you. Apartments tend to have smaller square footage than houses in the suburbs and back yards are few and far between.  Luckily, that doesn’t mean that owning a dog is out of the question for you.  On the contrary, with proper care and lots of exercise, you too can have a dog while living in a condo or small apartment.

While it is recommended to have a large yard and spacious house for your furry family member, we know that it isn’t always possible to live that way—especially in an urban setting.  If you have a choice on where you will live when you bring home your dog or puppy, try to choose an apartment located in a pet friendly neighborhood with parks or a walking path nearby.  Dogs, particularly those who live in smaller homes, need to feel confident and able to get plenty of exercise on a daily basis. Sometimes, when a dog is feeling uncomfortable or doesn’t get proper exercise or socialization, bad behaviors can result. If you find your dog acting strangely when you are gone out or reacting strongly when you return home, be sure that your dog is being socialized properly, exercised regularly and has his own space.

Sometimes, dogs find it more reassuring if they have a place that is only theirs in the home so they know where to go when they are feeling overwhelmed or tired.  Having his own bed with his own toys and his own dish for water and food separate from your personal items may help him to feel comfortable during stressful times, or if he just wants to relax. As always, if your dog knows what is expected of him, it is easier for him to follow your directions effectively.

If you have to live in a small apartment with a dog, don’t fret!  It can work out with patience, lots of love and exercise, and a good understanding of personal space for each family member.

beagle puppy adopting to living in a city apartment

Importance of Socializing Your Dog

Whether you realize it or not, dogs (yes, even your precious little fluffy) are pack animals.  They live their lives according to the specific order that they belong in and at home they are trained to understand that they are not the leader of the pack.  Even when they comprehend that fact, your dog’s natural inclination is to strive for leadership over other animals and people, so getting them used to being around other dogs can be challenging. 

Your dog, like you, needs to socialize with other dogs to form relationships, play, and feel secure in a group or even to possibly mate in the future. Antisocial dogs can sometimes bite out of fear, can be aggressive toward other dogs and can make a simple visit to the vet a big challenge. The best time for a dog to learn proper socialization is when he is during puppy training.  Studies show that dogs are most effectively socialized up until 3 months old. After that, it can be difficult and time consuming to do without extensive training. There are several ways for your dog to learn how to be successfully socialized with other dogs he may encounter.

One of the best ways to ensure your dog is safe and happy around other dogs is to take him to group obedience classes. Not only will you get a chance to get outdoors and spend time with your dog and other dog owners but your dog will get a chance to meet many other dogs in a safe environment where an instructor will be nearby to correct impolite behaviour.

Another effective method is to introduce your dog (or puppy) to new animals or people in the comfort of his own home where he feels safe and comfortable. Remember that if a puppy is fearful or traumatized by a situation when he is young that he may react aggressively to the same situation in the future. If you see that your dog is distressed, try to remove him from the situation as peacefully as possible.

Finally, be sure to introduce your dog to all sorts of people of different ages, races and genders. Dogs can react unfavourably if they do not have effective interaction with a variety of people. 

Having a confidant and happy dog that is well socialized will ensure that he is the best companion for you and your family.