Moving to a condo can be a big change for your dog and your new neighbors. Make the transition as smooth as possible with these tips.
If you’re like most people, your dog isn’t just a pet; it’s more like a family member. You wouldn’t consider moving to a new place without your furry companion, but it might be complicated if you’re looking at condos because many of them are dead-set against residents keeping dogs.
If you’re lucky enough to find one that allows them, you have to know how to not only care for your four-legged friend, but also ensure your future co-residents will be OK with it.
Wooing (most of) the residents
Understand that not everyone can be charmed with your companion’s big, brown eyes. Don’t try to talk them out of their hostility or phobia; instead, learn to adjust to them.
• Take the time to introduce yourself and your dog to your neighbors. This will familiarize it with the different residents and will teach it not to threaten or be threatened by them.
• Keep your dog on a leash whenever you take it out of your unit. Hold it close when walking through the halls and using the stairs. When riding the elevator, keep it close to you especially when there are other people inside.
• If you’re allowed to live with your dog, it’s safe to assume there are other dog-owning residents in the building. Your pets will end up interacting at some point, so you need to know how to properly introduce it to other dogs. Practice by meeting the other owner and their dog on neutral ground like a park, where both your pets won’t feel the need to protect their territory. If they show any sign that they’re uncomfortable (baring their teeth, tucking their tail between their legs, growling, etc.), don’t force them to mingle at that moment. They can always try sniffing each other some other time.
• As a resident, you have every right to hang out in common areas, but you still have to abide by the rules. No one likes to wake up for a nice jog only to have their shoe land on a steaming pile of number 2. When taking your dog out for a walk, be sure to bring a baggie and clean up after it. Keep it from digging up plants and chewing on furniture too.
• As much as you wouldn’t want to have your dog desecrating your carpets, never, ever let it use the balcony as an emergency bathroom. Sure you can tolerate the smell, but what about the owners of neighboring units who like to hang out in their balconies too?
• If your dog tends to be a bit unruly, consider enrolling it in obedience school. This’ll keep discipline-related problems from causing a dispute between you and your neighbors.
Taking care of your dog
Living in a condo, you can’t just throw your back door open and let your dog out in the yard to play or do its business. Keeping it well-behaved in such close quarters is going to need a bit of practice.
• See to it that your dog is completely housebroken so you won’t have a problem with it relieving itself indoors or ruining your things. It should also be comfortable enough that it won’t create a racket by barking day and night, disturbing your neighbors.
• Give your dog plenty of exercise through regular walks and outdoor games. Being kept in the unit for too long can make it antsy, possibly leading to destructive or dangerous behavior.
• Take your dog to the vet regularly for shots, check-ups and other related appointments. Keeping your dog healthy will not only benefit it, but other residents and other pets in the building as well.
• Consider looking at condos on lower floors. The view may be better the higher you go, but it’s going to be harder to rush your dog downstairs to do its business if you’re at the 15th floor.
• Dogs like to chew anything they see, may it be your shoes or your couch. Get your dog a chew toy to discourage this behavior.
• If there are days when you have to work late or leave town, don’t keep your dog locked up with just a full bowl and strewn-out newspapers. Ask a family member, friend, or friendly neighbor to take it in for a while, or look for a veterinary clinic or dog boarding center where you can leave it temporarily.
Photo from Maja Dumat/Flickr Creative Commons