How to Help Your Dog Adjust to Apartment Life

Written by Posted On Sunday, 14 February 2021 23:23

When a dog has to transition to living in an apartment, it can be difficult, especially if you have been living in a family home with a yard. There may be uncertainty about whether your dog will adjust without becoming bored or barking at every noise. A busy dog, like a border collie, may not know what to do all day. 

A little dog that yaps all the time can also be a problem in an apartment where neighbors are living much closer to you. However, there are ways to teach your dog how to be a good neighbor when living in an apartment. 

Anticipate some behavior issues

Regressive behaviors can happen after a move. These may be mild issues such as sulking or hiding under the bed as well as more serious ones such as barking all the time, destroying items or urinating inside. 

In an apartment, any behavioral issues may seem worse because they affect your neighbors too. If you’re renting, destructive behavior can be a big problem. 

If you have just moved and your cleaning products are inadvertently left within reach of your dog, he may sniff them out of curiosity and even end up trying to drink some. For a dog drinking bleach, get advice on what action to take online or your vet. 

When you first move in

Apartments usually come with noises your dog may not have heard before, such as people walking past your front door or voices outside in the hallway. You can teach your dog not to react to these noises. It is important to introduce your dog to human and animal neighbors so he can recognize them by their smell and sight. 

If you hear a noise that attracts your dog’s attention and you know a volley of barking is about to begin, say “good dog” and distract him with an activity like ball-throwing or give him a treat. With time, your dog will start associating annoying noises with treats and learn not to fear them anymore. You can gradually taper off the treats as he starts getting used to the noises and not reacting to them. 

Balconies and stairs or elevators

If you aren’t living on the ground floor and you have a high balcony, you need to make sure a small dog can’t squeeze through a railing. You may want to line it with chicken wire to make absolutely sure.

If your dog is faced with having to go up stairs, you may have to teach him how to go up or down step by step. Taking your dog in an elevator may also be a new experience and he may balk at entering. Treat it as though it’s a fun activity, keep him close to you and he will soon get used to it. 

Be patient when establishing a new routine

Living in an apartment exposes your dog to a number of changes involving new sights, smells and sounds. It takes time to adjust and it is normal for your dog to seem a little disorientated and uneasy at first. 

Accidents may happen if your dog does not know where he must ‘go potty.’ Your new routine may involve going downstairs to take him to do his business and he needs to get used to this. 

Your dog may have separation anxiety if he thinks you are going to abandon him. If you need to be away for long periods, it is best to leave him for a short time at first and then gradually start leaving him for longer periods of time. 

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