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Tips for Dog Owners in Multi-Unit Residences

Posted by Katya on March 12th, 2012

Our friends over at Bark Busters have put together these great tips for dog owners in multi-user residences! “We all know what joy having a canine companion can bring, no matter where we call home. However, for those who live in multi-unit dwellings, a misbehaved dog whose barking and bad manners disturbs others can easily cause ill-will among the most rational of tenants.  Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company, offers these tips below for dog-owners who share living space in apartments, condos, townhomes and the like.

  • Before moving into your new residence, thoroughly check the unit and complex surroundings for potential dog hazards to ensure your dog’s safety.
  • Socializing your dog is essential in a busy, high-traffic environment. As soon as you move in, introduce yourself and your dog to your immediate neighbors. This lets your dog become familiar with the people—and dogs—he may encounter every day. Get to know other canine-owning neighbors so you can care for each another’s dogs in the event of delays in getting home.
  • Be respectful of others. Before getting on an elevator, ask if everyone is comfortable with your dog riding along. If there is already another dog inside, wait for the next one or take the stairs.  A small confined area can become a threatening environment for the dogs.
  • Always position yourself between your dog and passersby in hallways and other public areas.
  • Take extra care when walking on staircases. Small dogs may fall between the stairs or through the railings. In addition, you could trip on your dog as you both maneuver the steps. Train your dog to walk slowly by your side when on stairs, and to wait to give other residents the right of way.
  • Consider taking an obedience class or having one-on-one training with your dog—you’ll both learn a lot and be better neighbors. In addition, making your dog think expends as much energy as physical activity. Provide 10 to 15 minutes of training daily on basics such as sit, stay, come, and walking on leash. Doing this twice a day is even better.
  • If the weather is bad, practice obedience with your dog in the building’s hallways and lobbies (if safe), as well as at home.
  • Keep your dog busy when indoors by providing high-quality, treat-rewarding food-puzzle or food-stuffed toys. Switch out his toys every few days so he has new and fun things to hold his interest.
  • Don’t let your dog become a nuisance barker. If he barks when you are at home, learn ways to manage his noisy behavior to help you and your neighbors enjoy a quieter living environment. If he barks when you are away from home, consult with a qualified dog behavioral therapist to learn how to stop the barking and keep the peace.
  • Consider crate-training your dog. Because dogs are descended from den-dwelling animals, a crate or pet carrier makes a natural shelter. Provide soft bedding and keep the crate in an area of your home where he feels most comfortable. Crating your dog when you’re not home ensures a safe environment for him, minimizes chances of his barking, and helps prevent him from causing damage. Avoid leaving your dog unattended or locked on an apartment balcony.
  • Get training that will help you understand your dog. Knowing your dog’s unique temperament and tendencies will help you to better control how he behaves. A well-behaved dog is less likely to upset people and other pets in public places, will be more welcome at gatherings, and will enjoy a better relationship with everyone he meets. Plus, his good manners will reflect positively on you, his responsible owner.

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