‘A big dog needs to live in a big house’ is a common misconception that prevents aspiring Lab owners from taking the next big step. If you have always wanted to own a dog while living in an apartment, space is a natural concern. In this piece, we help you unravel how to thrive with your Lab in an apartment.
Labrador retrievers can live in an apartment. This is contrary to many claims against it. Your friendly dog will often like to sit and stay close to you when you are home instead of being around the house. As long as you are keen about his outdoor activity and offering love, you are good to go.
How to live with your lab in an apartment
Ensure your apartment allows pets
You should not assume that your apartment automatically tolerates pets. Some may have strict rules prohibiting the keeping of one. Clarify in your house contract so as not to make silly mistakes. Other apartments will have in place some written rules of doggy maintenance. Some are keeping all dogs on a leash when in the general apartment areas. These areas could be the corridors, the lift or stairs.
Meet its exercise needs
Labrador retrievers require a lot of exercise. From 3 months old, they need 5 times the number of their age. This equates to 15 minutes of exercise when at the 3-month-old mark. As they advance in age, from 6 years, they will need to slow down on the exercise. Remember, labs are prone to getting elbow and hip dysplasia. Because of this, be sure not to strain it, especially when a puppy.
If you offer exercise outdoors, your apartment will offer enough room for resting. Other people tend to think that labs need to exercise in the house. If you have a few square feet space, take advantage of the parks. There are lots of opportunities to run and walk your dog in the fresh air.
What if you are tired and want to play inside your house with your pooch? You can check out our list of fun indoor games to play with your lab. Get to choose which one best suits you and your space.
Potty train early
This can become a nightmare if you don’t train in time. You need a lot of patience as you teach your pooch this basic skill. When in the puppy stage, consider proofing your apartment. You can opt to have some grass padded area where you take your canine. As the lab gets older, it will understand where to go when potty time reaches.
If you have a small balcony in your apartment, take advantage of that space for that reason. You should be prepared for accidents to occur during the puppy stage. Once you notice your older lab have accidents, be keen to notice it as an abnormality. It could be that your lab is sick or depressed. Evaluate its needs and check for any loopholes that can be making the lab pee and poop in the wrong places.
Have behavior training classes
A well-trained lab is a loyal and responsible dog. Let your lab go through some behavior classes. They aim to improve the connection between you two. Your canine should be able to respond to commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come’ and ‘recall.’ Remember, when in an apartment, you are sharing a compound with other people. Having a dog that is hard to control will spill over to your neighbors. You want them to put up a good word for you and not report any nuisance. For instance, if you tell your dog to stop barking, it should listen and cool off.
All this effort will go towards improving your dog’s temperament. In time, you will notice what a solid bond you two will have.
Have a daily routine
Do you wake up and run first or decide to take breakfast first, chill and exercise later? Coming up with a routine helps to make your lab well adjusted. With a daily routine, it is rare to find the lab moving here and there shoving things over. Your lab should be able to expect when to eat, when to exercise and when to sleep.
This routine will come in handy during the potty training days. Your pooch will always know what to expect and prepare for it. If it’s time to go out, you can notice your lab bring you your water bottle.
Accustom the lab to apartment life (noise)
Many apartments are in urban settings that have noise from cars and people. You should not assume that your lab knows how to deal with such an environment.
Be keen to introduce your dog to the noise and observe how comfortable or uncomfortable it gets. Encourage your pooch over time to reduce the tension. Labrador retrievers are friendly dogs who love people. It can be highly unlikely to observe them afraid of people in the apartment. With a trait of even welcoming strangers, you want your pooch to know how to socialize with ease.
Dealing with chewing
If you’ve ever found your shoes, pillows, and couches chewed upon, you relate to the pain. No one likes this part of raising a dog. It is often a trying time for you. With an apartment, you may lack the luxury of having things in different rooms. You can be creative and use some boxes to store up your valuables. Since couches cannot be put in a box, be sure to invest in a variety of chew toys for your pooch. Having special repellant sprays that you use in specific areas comes in handy. The sprays have a smell that is unattractive to dogs, hence keeping them from chewing.
As a matter of fact, labs will chew on things because:
- They are bored
- They are teething
- They are anxious
- They are hungry
Coping with shedding
Labs tend to shed twice a year. Even with their thin coat layer, shedding can pose a problem in your apartment. You should brush the dog at least twice a week. Follow our grooming guide for more details.
Sometimes, a neighbor or roommate in your apartment can have dog fur allergies. How do you cope with this to avoid constant sneezing and wheezing from others? There are many dog shampoos and conditioners that are keen on this. They may contain a reactive agent to aid lower the smell of your lab’s fur. Ensure to vacuum your carpet and change pillowcases on a regular basis. You will have tried to manage the allergic reaction to your friends.
Remember to take your lab for professional grooming annually for better grooming options.
If your apartment has stairs, you will need some keenness. Labs are active and can move up and down. The challenge is that they are prone to joint diseases. This can make it difficult for your lab from time to time. When grooming your Labrador retriever, check for injuries in all areas. Your lab may have had a fall when you were not looking or broken a paw.
Dealing with ticks and fleas
We see apartments infested with all kinds of pests. From rodents to insects, all these can pose a risk. The truth is, when people are sharing some living facilities, this is bound to start being seen. You should be careful when grooming your dog. Look out for any pests on your dog’s coat to be sure. In many cases, when such an infestation starts, the owners of dogs are the first suspects. Avoid these embarrassing moments by using some natural or commercial pest control sprays. This way, everybody will co-exist happily.
Visit the vet often
There is a solid reason behind the advice of not skipping your vet appointment. So much can be diagnosed and recommended from these visits. Be sure to mention to your vet that your pooch lives in an apartment. This guides him to determine a clearer conclusion to your worries.
What to do if you leave your dog alone
If you are among the working-class community, do the following when living in an apartment.
- Notify your neighbors. It saves to mention to someone else.
- Hire a dog walker to come to pick your dog in the evenings. This will satisfy your dog’s hunger for play and interaction.
- Keep the balcony windows and any danger windows up. You need to block the exits that your dog can use to escape. With an over-stimulated dog, anything is possible. Remember to keep the bathroom door open.
- Leave enough food for your dog. You don’t want to hear your dog howling a lot from hunger.
- Keep your lab entertained with its favorite toys. You’ll save a shoe and much more.
There is a lot that gets into acclimatizing your pooch into apartment living. With the good news that it is possible, all you need to do is train it diligently. Small or big space, your dog still has a big heart specifically made to accommodate you.