Do you live in an apartment or unit and own a dog? Here are some tips to help you and your dog.

Many people have bought or adopted dogs in the last 12 months. We all know what joy having a dog can bring, especially when you are working from home. However, when you return to work, especially for those who live in multi-unit dwellings your sweet canine companion can turn into a misbehaving dog whose barking and bad manners can disturb others. This can easily cause ill-will amongst even the most accommodating neighbours.

Here’s some tips for dog-owners who share living space in apartments, units, townhouses etc.

Before moving into your new residence, thoroughly check the unit and complex surroundings for potential dog hazards to ensure your dog’s safety.

Socialising your dog is essential in a busy, high-traffic environment. As soon as you move in, introduce yourself and your dog to your immediate neighbours. This lets your dog become familiar with the people, their voices, and their smells and as well any dogs they may encounter every day. The added benefit is if you get to know other canine-owning neighbours you may be able to care for each another’s dogs in the event of delays in getting home or holidays.

Be respectful of others. Before getting on an elevator, ask if everyone is comfortable with your dog riding along. If there is already another dog inside, wait for the next one or take the stairs. A small confined area can become a threatening environment for the dogs.

Always position yourself between your dog and passers-by in hallways and other public areas. Take extra care when walking on staircases. Small dogs may fall between the stairs or through the railings. In addition, you could trip on your dog as you both manoeuvre the steps. Train your dog to walk slowly by your side when on stairs, and to wait to give other residents the right of way.

Consider taking an obedience class or having one-on-one training with your dog,you’ll both learn a lot and be better neighbours. In addition, making your dog think expends as much energy as physical activity. Provide 10-15 minutes of training daily on basics such as sit, stay, come, and walking on lead. Doing this twice a day is even better.

If the weather is bad, practice obedience with your dog in the building’s hallways and lobbies (if safe), as well as at home.

Don’t let your dog become a nuisance barker. If it barks when you are at home, learn ways to manage this noisy behaviour to help you and your neighbours enjoy a quieter living environment. If there’s barking when you are away from home, consult you’re your local Bark Busters qualified dog behavioural therapist to learn how to stop the barking and keep the peace.

Consider crate-training your dog. Because dogs are descended from den-dwelling animals, a crate or pet carrier makes a natural shelter. Provide soft bedding and keep the crate in an area of your home where your dog feels most comfortable. Crating your dog when you’re not home ensures a safe environment, minimises the chances of  barking, and helps prevent them from causing damage. Avoid leaving your dog unattended or locked on an apartment balcony.

Get training that will help you understand your dog. Knowing your dog’s unique temperament and tendencies will help you to better control how they behave. A well-behaved dog is less likely to upset people and other pets in public places, will be more welcome at gatherings, and will enjoy a better relationship with everyone they meet. Plus, his good manners will reflect positively on you, his responsible owner.

A happy well behaved dog = a happy owner and neighbours!

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