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Should You Get A Puppy in an Apartment?

Should you get a puppy in an apartment?

Yes, if you’re up for the challenge and can be a little flexible!

I live on a 2nd floor apartment, and I have a 9-week-old weimaraner puppy.

This might mean I’m a little crazy. But it’s really not that bad.

It’s actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. We’ve had adult foster dogs that were WAY more challenging than this. So, it mostly depends on the individual puppy and your own flexibility.

Some people in apartments definitely should not get a puppy, but you could say the same about people who live in homes with fenced yards. It just depends.

Should you get a puppy in an apartment?

It depends on the individual puppy owner and the individual puppy (breed, predicted energy & size).

Puppy in an apartment

Here are some of the common concerns about raising a puppy in an apartment:

1. Puppy potty training is more challenging.

2. Kennel training (CRYING!) can disturb neighbors.

3. Risk of disease from other dogs in the complex when using “community” potty areas.

4. Lack of space. Apartments are usually small.

5. No fenced yard.

6. Providing enough exercise.

These are all reasonable concerns. You just have to know if these are things you can manage or not.

For me, a lack of space and not having a yard and still providing enough exercise (#’s 4 to 6) are simply non-issues. I will walk my dogs.

I will provide enough exercise through running, hiking, training classes, visiting the beach and parks.

Walking my puppy Remy

This may not be the case with everyone, and only you know if you’re really going to commit to exercising your future adult dog.

If providing exercise is going to be an issue for you (totally fine), then a puppy is not a good option. Instead, consider adopting a really lazy adult dog (they’re out there!) or possibly a senior dog.

Now let’s address the first three on the list.

1. Potty training a puppy is more challenging in an apartment.

This really hasn’t been a big deal for me. I was prepared for it and I’m committed.

The potty training involves carrying my puppy down the hall, down the stairs, through the parking lot and to a “potty area” about every 90 minutes.

I’m on the 2nd floor, and it wouldn’t really matter if I were on the 49th floor. It would just take me a little longer each time.

Are you up for a lot of potty breaks that are more time consuming than opening the back door and plopping him in the grass?

What about a potty break in the middle of the night? We’ve been lucky. Remy has been able to hold it all night but most puppies can’t.

See my post: potty training a puppy in an apartment.

Puppy in an apartment - are we crazy?

2. Kennel training & puppy crying.

This one has been our biggest challenge and the most stressful for me.

Thankfully, it only took Remy about four days to get used to his kennel and being away from his littermates, but he howled and cried (I’d even say he screamed) for the first couple of nights.

What worked for us to help him adjust was to get him really tired by lots of playtime and exercise and to move his kennel to our bedroom.

Other things we did:

  • No water after 6 p.m.
  • Try to keep him awake all evening
  • Give him lots of yummy chews in his kennel
  • Feed him in his kennel
  • Cover the kennel with a sheet
  • Ignore his crying for the most part
  • Only let him out of the kennel when he was quiet for at least 10 seconds

Another factor is the puppy simply needs time to adjust to his new routine. I was really worried our neighbors were going to complain the first couple of nights. Thankfully, no one said anything.

Ask yourself, what will you do if your puppy is howling and crying all night or during the day while you’re at work? Can you deal with this?

3. Risk of disease from other dogs

A third issue is related to potty training.

You obviously want to take your puppy outside to go potty, but then he’s going to be using an area with a lot of other dogs. This is fine, unless there are sick dogs around, and then your puppy is at risk of catching kennel cough or parvo or whatever it might be.

My approach to this is my puppy can’t live in a bubble. I’m following the recommended vaccination schedule and avoiding dog parks and the dog beach until his 3rd round of shots.

Other than that, there’s not much I can do. I’m taking him outside to go potty and I’m taking him for walks around the neighborhood.

It helps that I feel like we’re in an area where people typically vaccinate their dogs, take them to the vet and can easily afford these things. Still, there are no guarantees.

See my post: walking a puppy before vaccinations.

Benefits to getting a puppy in an apartment

Pup in an apartment

Finally, I want to list some benefits of raising a puppy in an apartment because these are not mentioned often enough.

1. Puppies in apartments get lots of socialization.

I’m taking Remy out about 10 times a day which means he sees lots of people and dogs.

He’s met the mail woman, truck drivers, painters, construction workers, people pulling suitcases on wheels, people wheeling out their trash cans and kids on hover-boards. He’s seen bikes and motorcycles and recycling trucks.

Socialization tips for puppies here.

2. Apartment dogs get more walks.

Not always the case, of course, but I feel like a responsible dog owner living in an apartment is more likely to regularly walk her dog than a dog owner who has a fenced yard.

This has all sorts of benefits related to raising a dog that is fit and healthy, well socialized, has less pent-up CRAZY energy and is generally just a nice, well-mannered dog.

Bottom line, it’s not right to say someone should or shouldn’t get a puppy based on where she lives. It’s all about the individual puppy owner and the individual puppy, considering breed, size and energy level. Size being the least important.

See my post: Living with a high-energy dog in an apartment

What do you think? Have you raised a puppy in an apartment? What was the biggest challenge?

Related posts:

Should I walk my puppy before he’s had his vaccinations?

Do dogs need a fenced yard?

Robert Keenan

Monday 25th of April 2016

I agree that it's wise to consider all of the pros and cons prior to adopting a pet - regardless of your current living situation. I spent a while after college living in an apartment and I had a wonderful pup. Having had an apartment dog made me a more involved pet guardian even after I bought my house. Having an "apartment dog" made me a committed dog walker! Even though I'm a homeowner now, and have been for many years, it is extremely rare that I will just "let the dog out". It feels like I'm losing an experience with him, He loves our walks and so do I. We see other pups and have become friendly with many of our fellow walkers. If not for their walks, our pups would have missed out on so much! They learn the neighborhood. They learn where "home" is. They learn never to cross the street without permission. They learn to socialize with other pups and it's just an overall bonding experience that I wouldn't want to have missed. Don't misunderstand. Having a fenced-in yard is a wonderful thing and a great place to play fetch and have fun in the snow! But yard or no yard, I will always walk my pups for all the reasons I've outlined. Not to mention the huge bonus of keeping our yard clean! It's a lot easier to pick up one poop at a time than to have to go on patrol for land mines that could be lurking anywhere in the yard! If you're considering adopting a pup, I don't feel that living in an apartment should stop you! As long as your landlord says it's OK, and you consider the size of your apartment with the size of the dog, you will be fine! Don't deprive yourself the joy that pups bring just because you are renting! Just use common sense. If you live on an upstairs floor and do not have an elevator, be careful to choose a breed that will take the stairs in stride. Some dogs with shorter legs don't do well with a lot of stairs, especially as they get older; so again, a little common sense goes a long way! Good luck to all the pups and their new guardians! Remy is beautiful, Lindsay. How are he and Ace getting along?


Monday 25th of April 2016

When I first started puppy raising for guide dogs I asked if there were any issues raising a puppy in a condo/apartment. Their response was that they wanted puppies to be exposed to all different living environments especially condo/apartment spaces. By the way, my dogs did get a lot more walks when I lived in the condo. Now that I have a large yard I let my dogs out in the backyard and play a game of fetch or let them play chase the Golden Retriever (Raven is always the runner). My dog's still get a good amount of exercise, it's me that's missing out :(

M.A. Kropp

Monday 25th of April 2016

I've never had a dog, puppy or adult, in a true apartment. The townhouse we are in now isn't really an apartment building, and the whole development is really dog friendly, with lots of open areas for exercise, and wooded trails for hiking. I just want to say that Remy is adorable! That face!! Love him!

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 25th of April 2016

Aww! Thanks.


Monday 25th of April 2016

I agree! Luckily I'm not above ground floor, but I know there are some people who think you can't have a dog without a yard. I've had no problems raising my new puppy in my condo (although my last adult dog that I tried kennel training screamed like a banshee and it was a problem).

Matthew P.

Sunday 24th of April 2016

I live in NYC and I would say that most of the 9 million other residents here would agree with you. I live in Manhattan and I have two 125 pound female Rottweiler-shepherd mixes. There are two palatial dog runs in two different parks about 7-minute walk away from me, one of which is in the middle of Fort Tryon Park, which is basically like being inside a medieval forest with no sense of a metropolis around you at all.

The biggest hurdle with having two large dogs in the city has been for me two-fold. The veterinary care here is abysmal and extraordinarily expensive. An ear infection easily costs me $500 even though all I really needed was the $12 tube of drops I got at the end of the visit. Many, many dog owners (including myself) take their dogs to vets outside of the city to both control cost but also to get superior care.

The other hurdle is the obliviousness and rudeness of other people with dogs, especially those with little dogs. People with smaller dogs that weigh 7 pounds often don't bother to properly train or socialize their pets becuase they are so easy to control--they just pick them up or tug the leash. As a result, they are often badly behaved and overly aggressive toward other dogs on sidewalks and in the dog runs. Small dog owners are huge offenders of ignoring leash laws, which is so incredibly dangerous for their dog and others. I've seen two dogs get hit by cars in Manhattan from incompetent owners leaving them unleashed as the dog darts out into the street unexpectedly.

Essentially--dog ownership in an apartment can be a wonderful experience, but it is more the people that cause the problems, less so the pets. :)

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 25th of April 2016

Loved hearing your take on this from the NYC point of view.


Monday 25th of April 2016

That's interesting! I visited NYC for the first time a few weeks ago and I've been curious to learn more about the pet culture there ever since. When I went to Central Park I was really surprised to see that hardly anyone seemed to bother leashing their dogs.