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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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?