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The Apartment or Condo Dog

Having a dog in an apartment or a condo, with multiple floors, halls and elevators, is nothing like having a dog in a house. You canít just open the back door and let him outsideóyou have to put the leash on him and go with him, even when itís freezing cold or raining outside. You have to deal with narrow hallways, large, noisey  lobbies and elevators, along with other dogs and people sharing the same areas with you. Itís a whole different world with a completely new set of training needs.

When you take up residence in an apartment or condo with common halls, lobby and elevators, you become part of a very close community. Even if you donít associate with your neighbors, you are all part of the same community sharing the same common areas together. That atmosphere necessitates consideration for the needs and comforts of everyone else in that community. There is a certain way you behave in an apartment building that is based on good old common sense.

I have put together the Ten Commandments for Apartment Dog Owners, based on my own recent experience living in an apartment high-rise with my German Shepherd, Ace. If every dog owner followed the suggestions in this list, there would be many more apartment buildings that would be willing to open their doors to dog owners.
The Ten Commandments For Condo And Apartment Dog Owners

1) Always carry a plastic bag and clean up after your dog, especially if you walk on city streets. If you use a common grassy area, youíll want to help keep it clean.

2) Always have your dog on leash when inside the common areas of your apartment building. No dog, no matter how well trained, should be off leash when in an apartment building.

3) Keep your dog on a short leash and close to you when walking through the lobby or hallways of your apartment.

4) Do not allow your dog to run up to anyone. As hard as it is to believe, not every one likes dogs. If someone wants to pet your dog, have your dog sit before the person approaches and keep him sitting during the encounter. There are some people who may walk right up to pet your dog without asking. If your dog is on a short leash, you have much better control of the situation.

5) Never let your dog jump up on people, no matter how small the dog is. Teach your dog to sit for praise and petting. Dogs that jump on people can cause a person to be knocked over or scratched.  This is especially important for children and older people.

6) Teach your dog not to bark in the common areas of the apartment building . Dog barks get VERY LOUD, even from a small dog, when inside any building. There will be times when your dog will be surprised by something and bark, but you can teach him to stop barking on command just like you can teach him to speak on command.

7) When you encounter another resident dog inside the apartment building, keep your dog on a very short leash and if possible, have him sit or lie down while the other dog passes you Ė especially if yours is very large. Keep control of the situation.

8) If you want to introduce the dogs to each other, have the larger dog lie down while the smaller one approaches. Be very careful with two male dogs, even if they are both neutered. If one of them feels dominant you might experience some growling and snapping. It may be best not to push that introduction.

9) If waiting for an elevator, stand back from the door so that you can get a good look at whoís in the elevator or coming off. People on elevators have a tendency to stand in front of the door and exit as soon as the door opens. If youíre standing directly in front of the door this could pose a serious problem. Have your dog walk next to you when you enter the elevator. Donít let him enter ahead of you, especially if someone is on the elevator.

10) When riding on an elevator, stand toward the back. Teach your dog to sit next to you and keep his eyes on you during the ride. He should get up and exit the elevator only on a cue from you.
Last but not least, always respect your home as if you owned it. Take care of it and donít let your pets cause damage to the property. Crate your dog when youíre not home. Be sure your cat uses his litter box and not the carpet. I know you pay a pet deposit to cover damage when you rent with animals, but itís really nice to get that deposit back when you leave. We lived in our high-rise for 18 months and got every penny back when we moved out. It was like getting a nice bonus. Thatís lots better than having to replace things that have been damaged by your pets.

All of the above tips should be practiced even when no one else is around you. If you always have your dog under control when inside the apartment building, your dog will accept this as normal behavior that is expected of him. He wonít view it as something that happens only when others are around.

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