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Dogs in Apartments

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  • Dogs in Apartments


    So I live in a one bedroom apartment with a cat. I am active. I run/walk every night and spend the majority of my weekend outside. But I live in a one bedroom apartment. And I work from 8:30-6:30 every day and not super close to my apartment (Although I have a lovely boyfriend willing to come by on his lunch breaks).

    Is owning a dog out of the question? I have no intention of 1. getting a puppy (would get 1 year old or older) or 2. adopting a dog to a home it wont love.

    So shoot me straight, COTH. Is it fair for me to adopt a dog or is it unreasonable? If so, what breeds are best (preferably medium-larger breeds... I can't handle chihuahuas and the likes)

  • #2
    I think it's fine so long as dogs are allowed by your landlord. I have a whole house and my dogs are somewhat restricted to where they can go, but they are usually in my bedroom, kitchen, or my living room anyway. If your dog can get in a mid-day walk, that will make it a much better life. I would probably recommend an adult dog so that you don't have to house train with your work schedule, and also so that you could run with it (dogs under 2 years old shouldn't be run too hard, although obviously lots of breeds are able to do some running at these ages.)

    Lots of breeds would fit that lifestyle...what kind(s) of dogs do you like?


    • #3
      Yeah, it's doable.

      I would definitely consider having your BF come at lunch for a potty break/walk. Your work schedule is 10 hours and that doesn't include your commute. Or hire a pet sitter who could come and let the dog out/walk them if the BF thing isn't going to work.

      I don't work that long of a day but on the days I want to go to the barn after work, I have a pet sitter come in the middle of the day to let my 2 dogs out to potty and exercise. The barn is closer to my work so doesn't make sense to go all the way home and then turn around and go all the way back!

      Works for me.

      You will also want to be particular on the breed. I know you don't want a little dog, but if you are active and on the go a lot of the time and won't be home a ton... get one that doesn't require a lot of exercise and is a bit more independent. Unless you plan on taking the dog with you at night and on the weekends.

      And definitely get an older dog. One that is preferably housebroken, etc. And a breed that does fine w/ cats, of course.

      Don't knock all little ones. I have a spaniel mix that is just a doll. She's only about 23 pounds so not really big. But she is a hoot.

      May I ask... why do you want a dog?


      • #4
        Greyhound rescue. They're couch potatoes, used to being kenneled. My little senior cocker (recently adopted) would be perfect for an apartment. She doesn't bark, needs just a couple of walks a day and sleeps most of the day. My old cocker was the same way. She would just go into hibernation mode when I was gone.


        • #5
          I have a 500 sqft apt with a 60 lbs monster and a cat. I got the monster when he was 8 weeks. I am a full time student and I work part time. It is totally doable. The dog just needs to be exercised when I get home. I take him to our apt. complex's tennis court and toss the ball till he can't walk (in a good, worn out kind of way).

          He is a boxer/lab/pitty/mix/yellowdog so fairly large.


          • Original Poster

            This is all excellent insight and that is a wonderful question, LSM. I want a dog because they make a home feel whole! I grew up with golden retrievers and have been a life-long animal lover. Additionally, I believe I would feel safer having a dog around my apartment, being a single young woman living alone. I want a companion and friend, additionally. Also, the hours I quoted include my commute.

            I really like the idea of the greyhound rescue - I am definitely planning on adopting/rescuing... and that also makes me lean towards older dogs who don't get adopted as quick as the little pups.

            Other "couch potato" breeds I should take notice of? Also, any thoughts on bassets? I've heard they are loungers but some have mentioned that howling could be a problem.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hunter88 View Post
              I really like the idea of the greyhound rescue - I am definitely planning on adopting/rescuing... and that also makes me lean towards older dogs who don't get adopted as quick as the little pups.
              I have a good friend with a small brownstone in a city who has two greyhounds. They are truly the biggest couch potatoes, but are fabulous on the leash and love to go for walks. I imagine they would make decent running partners but depends on your running goals (they might not be good for too long of a distance). And wonderful, loving, sweet dogs. Definitely a breed to consider.


              • #8
                Very Very long time lurker and Begeezus trying to go through the dance of evening REMEMBERING my forum name was harder then I thought!

                Regardless, I had to poke in my head as your situation was VERY much like that one I was in. I work four days a week 10 1/2 hour shifts with a 15 minute commute. I had a one bedroom apartment that was quite large for a one bedroom with a huge field and playground less then 1/4 mile down the street from me and a lakeside beach 1/2 mile down the street and desperately wanted a dog as I felt a very very large void not having one.

                The Reality... When a coworker's son was sent to Iraq for 6 months I took in his Golden Retriever.. Win/win right? To get the dog the required exercise on work days I was up at 5am EVERY morning. Mile walk, home for breakfast/shower/etc. Back out to go run in the field for a little bit then home. Off to work at noon time, boyfriend would stop at home around 5 to feed dinner and give another walk. I'd be home at quarter past 11 at night to give another walk and to bed by 12:30am. Apartment living is NOISY. It took me a month to get her to stop barking at every bump, car, car horn from stupid neighbors who couldn't be bothers to get out of the car to KNOCK on a door, people coming and going etc. Just because you cannot hear it does not mean they cannot. When she did settle it was alright, but there were many days when she acted simply depressed. I really do not think it was because her Daddy was gone overseas either. Her seemly depressed days were always the ones I was gone for the shift and having someone stop over middle of the day was honestly.. Not enough.

                While my situation has changed and I am now the proud owner of a NSDTR puppy who is never home alone for more then five hours. If I was back in an apartment situation while I do think it is doable, a ten hour work schedule is really too long for a dog to be alone. And a middle of the day walk is not enough. If you are commited to the long days and willing to be active with the dog you could do it. But I would recommend looking into half day day-care so you can bring them there in the morning, the boy can pick them up and bring them home at lunch time then the dog is only home alone 6-8 hours a day with good interaction for the rest of it. Or a Pet sitter who would do a 2-hour activity/cuddle/company with them. But with any opinion.. This is just an opinion.

                Now that I have written a novel you asked for breeds. The only thing living in an apartment with a 10 hour work shift restricts you to... Stick with Medium - low energy dogs. Have fun, I'm heading back to Lurkdom!


                • #9
                  Totally doable with thought &amp; effort

                  I have two dogs and a roommate's cat -and a roommate! - in a small apt.

                  NHerGirl brought up excellent points about dogs needing to tune out the comings & goings of an apt building. You teach them this but it takes training and understanding neighbors.

                  What is the access to your unit? Stairs (Bassets not good there)? Elevator? How far from potty areas? What are your walking paths like? ie along what kind of roads? dodgy after dark? litter and refuse? where are trash cans you can deposit poop? Oh! Washer & dryer in unit is a huge help as dogs = more laundry.

                  The square footage doesn't matter (furniture placement might if you have a Lab whose tail clears coffee tables ) Physical and mental exercise matters. Dogwalker is worth the peace of mind, apt or not, if you work standard office hours without a doggie door.

                  What are your living plans after this? Renting is difficult: restricts your housing & roommate options, expensive deposits -which you don't get back- and/or monthly fees, mandatory carpet cleaning, etc.

                  Being single and apt dwelling, I commit to coming straight home every. single. day after work- more dedicated than many parents in my office (who have a partner). I commit to walking in all weather when I'm in any shape. When I must stay late for a function, I am fortunate to have a helpful sister in town. When I must travel, I must secure housing for the dogs. Think of yourself as single since you aren't married. If you and bf break up, can you afford a dogwalker? Boarding? Do you have family nearby that will help? A dog is a huge commitment to a renter and a single. Cats are so much easier! But the physical, mental, and social benefits are worth it to me.


                  • #10
                    Apartment living is totally doable, as everyone said, with the right dog

                    I think you're on the right track, that a puppy wouldn't be the right thing for this situation.

                    I'm lucky that I have a couch potato dog. She gets potty walks first thing in the morning, and again before I head out for work. She usually has to make it about 8 hours until I or my boyfriend can make it home again (we coordinate schedules between working late, barn time, etc). She usually gets a long walk after work (2 miles ish) so she can stretch her legs, another potty walk after dinner, and a potty walk before bed. This schedule is good for her, and when the weather is bad, she isn't really interested in being outside any more than that. If the weather is nice, we take extra time for throwing the tennis ball around and get her a little more active.

                    Don't knock all smaller breeds, I wouldn't be interested in a Chihuahua either, but my doxie mix is a wonderful companion. She just wants to be where her people are. If we are out at the barn, she'd like to be there, too.

                    Stay away from smaller high energy dogs, like beagles. There are a few in my apartment complex that truly seem unhappy. They can make it with the right committed owner, but I think they need more outside time than living in an apartment can truly provide.
                    "The best hearts are ever the bravest"


                    • #11
                      I am partial to large breeds and already had just such a dog when I moved from TX (with a big yard) to MI (condo and no real yard). With two walks by me per day plus a dog walker after school and weekends at the park, we managed with my then 2YO lab. But it wasn't exactly ideal. I think you're on track with an older dog and daily walking.

                      The barking point is a good one-but I'm not sure how different apartment living is from suburbia for the amount of traffic and noise. Good gravy we have kids and people and dogs back and forth in front of our house non stop. Not to mention the 4am paper.

                      As long as you are committed to exercising the dog and can spend some time with him/her rather thank working 12 hours, then going out partying, all the while the dog is just stuck there? Well, I think it's doable.

                      But one more thing--if you do much travel, even short 3 day trips, remember that you'll have to hire someone to either stay w/ your pooch or you'll have to board. They're not quite as easy as cats in that regard. That has been the hardest thing for me--trying to get out of town and know that my dog is (now dogs are) okay.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        I live in a large apartment complex that is loaded with dogs of all sizes. My apartment complex is located next to a tract of McMansions. Frankly, I think most of the "apartment dogs" get more exercise and attention than the McMansion dogs- most of them get stuck into the fenced backyard and there they stay, forevermore, bored and undersocialized and unfit.

                        While the apartment dogs get out for walks three to four times a day, many get taken to the parks to play most days, and many of the owners of more active dogs do things like run marathons and take the dog along on jogs.

                        Also many of the people I know who have houses + yards don't have fenced yards, so the dog never goes out into the yard so the dog might as well be living in an apartment. OR there is this disturbing trend for dogs to be kept in crates all the time- I know quite a few people who own houses with fenced yards whose dogs spend 20 or more hours a day in a crate, and inbetween crating epsiodes the dog doesn't get walked, he just gets let out in the fenced yard for an hour or two. These dogs are bored, unfit, and not very happy.

                        So really, it doesn't matter where you actually live, what matters is whether you can meet your dog's needs for exercise, work, and mental stimulation.

                        Many of the larger dogs are actually more laid-back and more accepting of limited living space than small dogs- many large dogs will happily snooze the day away inbetween exercise periods while your small terrier won't be happy unless he can spend all day running around looking for rats to kill. Hard to do that in an apartment.


                        • #13
                          As long as it's allowed and you make sure to give them lots of exercise when you are home I don't see a problem. I work from 6:30am and get home at 4:30 and my lab is perfectly well behaved in the house and well adjusted. She lays on the beds all day whether I'm home or at work and just generally takes it over!

                          We make sure she gets a good 45min walk in the morning before work and then an hour when we come home. We decided against doggy daycare as she doesn't care too much for dogs she doesn't know and is content to laze about anyway!

                          Edited to add: we have a chocolate lab, which is high energy but also can be lazy! They are also not known as barkers, which would help in an apartment situation (we are in a house though)
                          Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


                          • #14
                            While I don't live in an apartment, I do live in a 1500 sq. ft. home without a fenced in yard. I'm gone from 6:15 a.m. until at least 3:30 p.m.

                            I have 3 dogs...a 2 1/2 year old (45 pound hound mix), a 9 year old (60 pound terrier mix) and a 12 year old (60 pound lab mix). We got the 9 year old first (he was 1 1/2 at the time), added the 12 year old a year later (he was 6 at the time) and added the 2 1/2 year old when he was about 14 weeks old. All came from a shelter or rescue.

                            All 3 get substantial walks every day when I get home from work and on weekends. My husband travels a lot, so he's not home much during the week. However, when he is home, he will corroborate that when I'm at work, the dogs are TOTAL SLUGS. They sleep ALL day, only waking up around 3:00 p.m. to sit by the door while they wait for my return.

                            James, the baby, was a bit destructive at first as he was a puppy and wanted to chew on things. He did well when redirected and now only chews on his toys.

                            I'm an adoption counselor at a local animal shelter, and I don't have a problem adopting dogs into apartments as long as it's the right dog. In fact, I'd much rather adopt a dog into an apartment where the dog owner knows that their dog MUST get regular exercise than to a place with a yard where the dog doesn't get to interact with the family...instead, it just gets put out into the yard to 'exercise itself.'

                            Temperament is definitely key...you'll need a dog with a lower overall energy level.
                            Random horse pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/glfprncs/
                            Talk to me about fitness or nutrition (I'm an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer)!
                            My blog! http://personalsweatequity.blogspot.com/


                            • #15
                              Some things to think about:

                              What is the route to an area where the dog could potty?

                              How active or noisy are your neighbors? How understanding are they if the dog barks at first?

                              Do you have a fallback plan for dog care?

                              Do you really have the time to spend with a dog between work, riding and social activities?

                              How permanent are you where you live? Apartment hunting with a dog is difficult!

                              I lived in at least five different apartments with my little cocker mix. Ended up living in some places I didnt like because of the difficulty of getting a dog accepted (I learned to mention the dog only after I had checkbook in hand along with a lovely picture of her and an offer to pay a pet deposit). It can be done but it does take some dedication and some sacrifices.


                              • Original Poster

                                Yes, yes - these are exactly the kinds of input I need to give myself a true assessment.

                                Unfortunately, I am not riding right now, so there is no "gone all evening because I'm at the barn" like there was when I was riding. I don't have the finances to board or lease at a show barn and most of the decent stables around me require so to ride, so evenings are typically spent coming home to my apartment, working out, 1 or 2 nights a week meeting friends for dinner and the rest of my evenings are home for the most part. My current complex allows dogs, but I think what I am taking away from this is that I am going to wait until November when my lease ends. I am hoping to move to a townhouse/small home then and move significantly further into town so that my work is close and then I think I can provide a happier home to a dog.

                                In the meantime, kitty chases tennis balls while I get my horsey fix through COTH .... but if anyone in Georgia has a dog that needs a home I wouldn't say no


                                • #17
                                  Very doable, and you've gotten excellent advice!

                                  I have a 5-year-old male Brussels Griffon who has lived in an apartment since he was a puppy. We've been in NYC for the past two years together and he couldn't be happier—it's a doggy paradise to him.

                                  I'm of the firm belief that apartment dogs with good owners live much happier lives than dogs who are simply sequestered to the backyard with little interaction. Some people say "oh, I can't imagine having a dog in the city/in an apartment/whatever," but my dog probably gets more attention and activity than theirs.


                                  • #18
                                    I lived with a Border collie in a small one bedroom apartment for years. I'd get up before class, take him for a run and he was good to go for the day. After class, we'd go for a walk, go to the park for some training, etc. Then I'd head to the barn to ride. He didn't get to go to the barn because he was a huge pain there, but he didn't seem to mind terribly as long as he got his time too. Weekends I'd take him to a dog park when he was younger (he stopped enjoying rough housing at a point).

                                    It wasn't always easy to find a new apartment with him, but it was always doable. It helped that he had his Canine Good Citizen certificate and I was more than happy to bring him to meet the manager. Once they met him, there was never any doubt he'd not cause problems. I also had references from past apartments saying he didn't cause any damage or other trouble.

                                    Would I seek out a Border collie to keep in an apartment? Probably not. However, he had been in the shelter a looooong time and I was his last hope. He seemed to know it too. He was quite tolerant even when I started working an hour from my apartment 5-6 days a week and leaving him alone for 12-14 hours at a time. He was a saint during that year.


                                    • #19
                                      I would suggest staying away from most hunting breeds. They usually require a lot more exercise and can become extremely creative with household decorating when bored.
                                      Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Hunter88 View Post

                                        So I live in a one bedroom apartment with a cat. I am active. I run/walk every night and spend the majority of my weekend outside. But I live in a one bedroom apartment. And I work from 8:30-6:30 every day and not super close to my apartment (Although I have a lovely boyfriend willing to come by on his lunch breaks). Is owning a dog out of the question?
                                        Yes, it's unfair to the dog. I'd suggest getting another cat so it'd have company. You're gone at least 10 hours a day...do you have a horse? More time away from the dog. You have a boyfriend, more time away from the dog. It really is unfair to have your boyfriend use his lunch to walk your dog...that's just crappy.

                                        There are "doggie daycare" sites, Petsmart has one, where you can drop a dog off first thing in the morning and they interact with dogs and handlers all day long. This wouldn't be bad...but are you willing to spend a month's board to fulfill the dog's need every month?

                                        Get another cat.

                                        Don't get a greyhound if you have a cat (unless you really hate the cat)...high prey drive, your cat would be dead in no time.
                                        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"