From Beagles to Boxers: How to Take Care of a Dog in an Apartment


Pet-Emergency-Covid-19-4.jpgSmall closets and limited space are two common challenges residents can experience when living in a typical New York City apartment. When you add a canine friend into the mix, space can become even more of a challenge.

Many dogs, however, are comfortable living in apartments and there are tricks both new and seasoned owners can learn to help keep their animals happy, healthy, and entertained. This is especially important when an animal has to remain inside an apartment for long spans of time.

Here are some important tips and tricks to help keep both you and your furry friend healthy and happy. And as always, be sure to consult your vet or local breeder about how much daily activity is appropriate for your canine pal.

What’s the Appropriate Physical Exercise for My Dog?

If you own a dog, you’ve probably asked yourself “how much exercise does my pet need every day?” While dogs can be a big time commitment, there’s no single solution for each pet, because what is considered healthy physical activity varies by breed, age, and overall health.

Puppies generally have more energy than adult dogs and can exhibit what the American Kennel Club refers to as the zoomies. These sudden bursts of energy can include madly racing in circles around your apartment and sporadic, unexplainable barking at inanimate objects. What may first be interpreted as “cute,” can quickly result in missing heels, shredded carpets, and other destructive behavior. While these outbursts are common, it may be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise.

The Coronavirus has made it crucial for people to practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings or shared public spaces including local parks, dog runs, and other pet-friendly destinations. If you’re lucky enough to have a private terrace or garden, use it! Keeping your pet active is a good way for you to get some exercise as well.

When letting your dog outside, experts also recommend allowing both puppies and adult breeds the pleasures of sensory enrichment. What we may perceive as unnecessary sniffing around, is actually your dog using its natural exploratory instincts and is a great way to help get rid of excess energy.

Play sessions are another way to keep dogs of all ages busy and entertained. For starters, most breeds enjoy a good old-fashioned game of tug and there are a wide variety of toys on the market designed for exactly that. As long as you make sure not to tug back too hard, this simple game is a great way for your dog to build muscle. Running up and down the stairs a few times when you can’t get outside is another muscle building cardio game to get your pooch up and moving. Just take care with smaller breeds whose bark may be much bigger than their breadth.

Curious which dog toys are right for you and your pet? Take a look at this list assembled by the American Kennel Club.
 

A Mentally Stimulated Dog is a Happy Dog

Training your dog is a practical solution for both maintaining a healthy environment and providing your pet with a mental challenge. Beyond the flashy party trick, advanced training alleviates boredom which can help curb destructive behaviors. Training can also have positive effects on your dog’s overall temperament and anxiety around other animals and people.
 
If your pet has already graduated past basic commands, ask your vet or local trainer for ideas on new tricks and learning opportunities. It may be a surprise that many trainers recommend as little as 5 to 15 minutes a day to successfully teach your dog a new trick. Through this process, owners may also be surprised by how much they can learn about their dog through training. It’s also recommend that each training session conclude with a tasty treat and some well-deserved snuggling. Considering how much this can take out of your dog, chances are they will be ready to settle down, too.

Check out this list of advanced tricks from Practical Paw, a free online resource for dog owners around the country.

Considering that a game of fetch isn’t a viable option in a small studio or one bedroom unit, try giving your dog a puzzle to stimulate their natural curiosity and problem solving abilities. Puzzle toys are also a great supplement for owners who work during the day and cannot afford their dogs the luxury of extended play sessions.
One extra 15 minute game each day can make an impactful difference to your pet by giving it something to focus on and adding a touch of extra meaning to its daily routine.

Click here for a list of recommended doggy puzzle toys curated by Good Housekeeping. Suggestions include treat discovery games, a fidget spinner, and a modern take on your average dog bowl.

The consensus among trainers is that dogs left without sufficient stimulus may invent destructive pastimes. And while it may take a bit of creativity and patience to discover the best way to tire-out your pet, a snoozing, belly-up Beagle or a snoring Shar-Pei is a sure sign of play done right.
Please keep a look out for more informative guides and articles from FirstService Residential as we continue to navigate through these changing times.