So you've done your research and decided you’re ready to take on a pet – congratulations! You are in for years of fun and memories, not to mention a little hard work. If you live in an apartment and your new pet is a dog, you have some extra responsibility to make sure you – and your new, four-legged roommate – are good neighbors, too.
Training: As soon as you bring your new dog home, sign him up for some obedience classes. You’ll learn how to teach him all the basics, like sit, stay and down, which will make your lives together a whole lot easier. These classes also allow your dog to socialize with other dogs and humans, and you can nip any issues he’s having – like jumping, barking or leash aggression – in the bud before they become a bigger problem.
Exercise: As the saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog. Especially if you work full-time outside the house, it is essential that you find a way to get your dog at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. If you can’t come home to walk him during the work day, find a reliable dog-walking service or look into doggie daycare. A dog shouldn't be left home alone for eight hours a day, and may develop unwanted behaviors like separation anxiety or inappropriate chewing if he is.
Barking: All dogs bark. But they should not bark excessively, especially when you’re sharing walls with your neighbors. If your dog is barking when you’re not home, your neighbors will let you know. This can be a symptom of separation anxiety, and you may need to invest in daycare for your pet if he barks nonstop when you’re away. If he barks at everyone he comes in contact with in your building, talk to your trainer about how you can cure him of this habit, which typically stems from insecurity and fear rather than aggression.
Respect Common Areas: If you share a yard or courtyard with your neighbors, make sure you know the rules before letting your dog run free. If they are outside entertaining or enjoying the shared space, ask if they mind if you and your dog join them. Never leave him unattended, and always, always clean up after him!
Follow the Rules: You should have already checked your lease and let your landlord know you were getting a pet before you brought him home. But make sure to check with your building or homeowners’ association, too. They may have other rules concerning quiet hours, keeping common areas clean and outdoor space that you and your pet will need to abide by.
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