We have a 1-year-old weimaraner at the time of this writing and a senior black Lab mix living in our 2-bedroom, 2nd-floor apartment. This post is all about how we live with a hyper dog in an apartment.
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Our senior dog is very mellow, and he’s lived in apartments most of his life. Our weimaraner Remy on the other hand is a typical weim. Calling him high-energy would be an understatement!
Some people think this is wrong, cruel even, to keep a large dog in an apartment with no yard. That’s up to each individual to decide, but I don’t feel one bit sorry for Remy. This dog has it good!
I’m proud I’ve walked my weimaraner almost every single day for the year and 2 months that we’ve had him. The first day we got him, we walked 1 mile. He was 8 weeks old. Most days we go about 3 miles, which isn’t enough, but we get by.
2019 update: Our senior dog Ace has passed away and our weimaraner Remy is now 3.5!
How I manage my hyper dog in an apartment
You’ll notice that this is no different than managing a hyper dog in pretty much any environment!
1. We go for walks every single day.
And I mean EVERY day. We can’t miss a day.
Even on the day Remy was neutered, we walked before I dropped him off at the vet. The following day, we still walked 20 minutes with the vet’s approval. The day after that we were back to our usual 40 minutes.
If you have an active dog and you live in an apartment, you walk. A lot. Period.
2. We have clear rules for our hyper dog.
Dogs need to learn boundaries whether they are tired, excited, bored, playful or anxious.
We live in a small space, and we can’t have our maniac of a dog tearing around non-stop even if he has energy to burn.
So, we don’t tolerate a lot of rough play, chasing games, wrestling, etc. It helps that our senior dog does not tolerate this either. I will play tug with Remy for about 5 minutes most days, and then I put the toy away.
Here are some of our other rules. Our dogs understand these rules because there are no exceptions.
- No dogs on the couch.
- No paws on the counter.
- Begging for food is not allowed.
- No chasing the cats.
- No chewing our stuff.
Now, if I could also get Remy to stop jumping on me, we’d be doing pretty good …
3. We use a kennel/crate for our hyper dog.
We use a kennel as needed to give Remy (and us) some down time. He sleeps in his kennel at night and even though we work from home, we put him in there for about 2 hours on the average day. This is a place where Remy knows to be calm.
See our post: Is it mean to use a crate for a dog?
4. We stick to a routine.
We walk for a half-hour at 6 a.m. and again for 40 or 45 minutes at 4 p.m. nearly every day. Remy also has his potty breaks and meals at roughly the same times every day and we put him to bed around 9 p.m. every night so he knows what to expect.
5. We run together every Saturday.
Part of our routine since January has been to go for a long run every Saturday morning. For us, a long run is an hour or more.
This seems to keep Remy slightly less energetic until about Monday afternoon when combined with his usual daily walks. We’ve recently started training for an ultra marathon with our dog, so these Saturday runs will keep getting longer.
6. We go to training classes.
Training with a local obedience class helps me focus on making training a priority. I’m not good at planning training throughout the week so the class really helps because at least we have that 1 hour every Saturday where Remy and I work on heel, sit, down, stay and come.
Classes HELP us a lot!
7. Chew toys & bully sticks.
We give Remy things to chew on like:
He has access to something to chew almost all the time. Because of this, he hasn’t chewed up our shoes or anything else of much importance.
I recently bought the Kong Wobbler puzzle toy, and I’m so glad I bought this! You fill it with dry food or treats and the dog has to push it around to get the food out. This keeps the pup busy for 30 minutes or so! Amazing! If you have a hyper dog in an apartment, I highly recommend puzzle toys like this one!
Get the Kong Wobbler on Amazon HERE.
8. Mental work & giving your dog a job
This is an area where I’m trying to improve. My dog is smart and he needs some sort of work to do. I’m not quite sure what Remy’s “job” is yet but he needs one. Maybe it’s our Saturday long runs. Maybe it’s wearing a dog backpack. Maybe it will be agility.
I’ve been playing “find it” with him where he looks for treats I hide throughout the room. He also has his new Kong Wobbler toy.
The point is, working dogs need to work and a walk generally doesn’t cut it.
9. Off-leash running
I have to admit I’m not very good at bringing Remy to places where he can run off leash, wrestle with other dogs or play fetch. This probably happens once every other month. I know, it’s bad!
I’m just not much of a dog beach or dog park person. But when I do take him, it makes a big difference. Probably more so than anything else we do.
So that’s pretty much it!
- 2 walks per day
- 1 long run on Saturdays
- 1 training class a week
- Plenty of chew toys.
- A crate for when we need a break from Crazy!
He’s rarely tired but at least he’s manageable!
A dog backpack. Add it to your shorter walks (We’ll be getting one soon!)
Dog daycare. Try it once a week and see if you like it and if it’s a good fit for your dog. I’ve thought about it but haven’t tried it yet.
Hire a dog walker once a week: Use this in addition to the walking you’re already doing or to give yourself a break once a week.
Join a dog walking group. This is a good way to tire your dog out mentally as he’ll be walking in new places and seeing other dogs.
So as you can see, living with a super high energy dog in an apartment is a lot of work but it’s really not that bad. You just have to change your routine quite a bit and be dedicated to exercise. Otherwise, it’s not fair to the dog and he’ll probably start having more serious behavior problems.
Sometimes we joke about how Remy might be if we never walked him … he’d probably be at the humane society by now!
Do you have a dog in an apartment?
What are your management and exercise tips?
Let me know in the comments! It is helpful for myself and others to hear from people who understand the madness! Haha.
This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated in November 2019.
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Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training and behavior, healthy raw food for pets and running with dogs.