Sharing a home with a canine companion is incredibly rewarding and you don't need to live in a house that boasts a back garden for them to happy, healthy and content. If you live in an apartment and long to have a dog in your life, there's no reason why you can't, but there are certain things you need to sort out before you introduce a dog into your household.
If you rent your apartment, the first thing you need to establish is whether or not you are allowed to keep any pets. Once you know you can, the next thing you need to find out what sort of dog would best suit your lifestyle and the fact you don't have a back garden. It would be a mistake to choose a high energy dog, because being cooped up in a flat would be unfair on them.
Even breeds that are a great choice as apartment dogs need regular daily exercise. Dogs love being out and about, taking in all those lovely smells their owners don't pick up on. The other thing about taking a dog for walks on a lead is that it teaches them just who is the top dog in the household, namely you!
You need to be prepared for lots of healthy walks which is another great thing about owning a dog because they will certainly help keep you healthier and fitter too. Other things you would need to organise for dogs that live in apartments include the following:
It's important to set up a daily exercise routine and it has to be one you know you will have no trouble sticking to even when the weather is bad. When it is really bad outside, you may have to make the walks shorter, but you still have to take your dog out for a run at least three times a day or organise someone to do so for you if you are out a work during the week.
Having a realistic exercise routine in place is the foundation for not only a happy relationship with your dog, but it will also help them become well-balanced content characters that everyone likes to be around. The very first thing you should do when you introduce a new dog into your household, is to take them out for a nice long walk rather than let them run around the apartment. Once they are nice and tired, it's the best time to bring them back indoors so they can get used to their new home without all that excitement taking over the situation.
However, just taking your new dog out for regular walks is not enough because you need to get creative by taking them to new places which you can both enjoy exploring. Weekends are great because you will probably have that much more time to spend with your canine companion and it means you can take them out into the countryside for nice long walks. Until you get to know your pet and they start to trust you, it's best to keep them on a lead when you take them to unfamiliar places.
Even if it is not wet or muddy outside, make it a routine to wash your dog's paws when you bring them back indoors because they can pick up all sorts of nasty things on their feet which they then tread through your home. One solution is to keep some baby wipes by the front door which you can use every time you bring your lovely pooch back inside after a walk.
You need to take lots of poop bags with you when you take your dog out for a walk because not only would you be liable for a fine if you don't pick their mess up, it would be very rude not to. You have to think about all the other people who live in your neighbourhood and not just those who own dogs. Keep some bags by the front door along with your dog's lead, like this you won't go out forgetting to take any with you. You also need to dispose of the bags in the right “doggy bins”, failing that you should bring them back and dispose of them safely when you get home.
Setting up a routine for your dog will make life easier for you both. Dogs like a routine and get quite upset when things change all of the time. You need to feed your dog at the same time every day, but if you know you are going to be out for most of the day then you might want to give your dog their main meal when you get home in the evening and only give them a little in the morning before taking them out for their early morning walk. It would be very unfair to feed a lot of food to your dog and then leave indoors throughout the day.
Mature dogs generally need to go out to do their business at least three times a day, so if they are going to be left on their own when you are out at work during the day, you should organise a dog walker or take your dog to a canine care centre which is another option. Most towns and cities have doggy day care centres so you might even find one that's close to where you live.
However, you should always check out the centre before taking your pooch along to it and you need to get lots of references for any dog walker you entrust your house keys and canine companion to. By far the best solution is to have a close friend or family member take your dog out for a walk when you are unable to, but choosing a reliable and trustworthy dog walker is also an option.