Are you moving with your dog from a house to an apartment? Or wondering if you should get a dog if you don’t have a fenced-in backyard?
As it turns out, your dog’s happiness and well-being is not dependent on whether you have a yard or not. In fact, many apartment dogs have more fulfilling lives than those who live in houses with yards.
Why Your Dog Doesn’t Need A Yard To Get Exercise
A fenced yard is a wonderful thing – but it’s not the only way your dog can get exercise and mental stimulation.
In fact, dogs do not necessarily get adequate exercise from being let out into a yard on their own. It’s not unusual for dogs to find destructive ways to entertain themselves in a yard. For example, they may develop a habit of “fence-fighting” or barking aggressively through the fence with a next door neighbour’s dog.
Not having a yard means you will need to actively take your dog outside and interact with them. You can go on a long, relaxed walk, or go for a quick jog when you’re short on time. You can even use a step tracker app on your phone to track your dog’s daily activity.
Entertaining Your Dog Indoors
You can play all of the games you’d play with your dog in a yard in your own living room. It will just take a bit of creativity while you work with a smaller space.
Hide-and-seek, nosework and free play with toys are all fun to do indoors. Remember, you do not always need to use strenuous physical activity to provide mental stimulation and lessen unwanted behaviours. You can also fill your dog’s schedule with long-lasting chews, puzzle toys, and teaching new tricks.
Alternative Ways To Get Off-Lead Time
Though your dog may get plenty of exercise on walks, you can use safe, fenced-in areas to practice recall and play fetch. Off-lead time is also a good way to give your dog an opportunity to sniff and explore freely.
Playtime At The Dog Park
Dog park experiences are hit-or-miss. Your dog could make wonderful new friends. They may enjoy playing with other dogs. But just one scary interaction with an aggressive dog park visitor can lead to fear-based issues like reactivity.
If you’re going to go to a dog park, you may want to go when there are no more than two or three other dogs around. Dog parks tend to be very crowded on weekday afternoons and weekends. You can get up early and try taking your dog before work, or going on your lunch break.
Make sure you’re well-versed in dog body language before taking your dog to play. If your dog is bullying other dogs, or has become a bully, be prepared to leave right away.
Stay Safe With A Long Line
Some areas have posted signs that specify that your dog must be on a standard length lead, while others do not specify. To give your dog more freedom without the risks of going off-lead, you can use a long line, a lunge line, or a few leads clipped together.
Use your long lead in a wide open area where you won’t risk getting tangled. No matter how friendly your dog is, be careful of letting them run up to people and other dogs. Dog-friendly beaches, fields and other open spaces are perfect for using your long lead.
Need Help Getting Your Dog To Adjust To Apartment Living?
Having a dog in an apartment does come with its own unique challenges. Your dog may not be used to the sounds of people moving about the building, and they may bark while you’re away, leading to noise complaints from your neighbours.
Not to worry – you don’t have to do this on your own. Working with a positive trainer is the best way to understand your dog’s issues and help them learn to love living in your new space. Contact Healthy Houndz for positive training in Toronto and North York.