5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Living with Dogs in an Apartment

Let’s be real: having dogs in an apartment can be tough. Even the best-behaved pooch will test your patience sometimes in the tight quarters of a rental. My two pups (@ReggieandHarvey) were used to a house and backyard before we moved to Portland, and I’ve got to admit that it was a big adjustment for all of us! Tensions were high for a few months. But as time went by, we found a few key solutions that REALLY helped us acclimate.

So today, I want to share my top tips for living with a dog in a rental apartment. I hope they’re as helpful with your canine cohabitation as they’ve been for mine! We’d love to hear what you think on our Instagram or in the comments below.

1. Find a building with a pet wash.

Yikes, Harv!!!

This has been huge, especially here in the PNW where it is EXTREMELY muddy for half the year. First, I just wiped their paws… the prints on our rugs and bedding said that wasn’t enough. Then I tried washing them in the bathtub and got to know our awesome maintenance staff really well when our drain was constantly clogged. Finally, I embraced the pet wash and my guys can get a quick rinse with minimal fuss. If you do have to bathe your dog in your own tub, do yourself a favor and add a removable shower head! Your lower back will thank you.

2. Try to get an apartment with a balcony.

Happy dudes on our balcony!

Maybe this one’s common sense, but there are two major benefits. A) You can put a bathroom solution out there (we use a Fresh Patch and highly recommend it), and B) The dogs can have some more outdoor time. Mine love to watch people go by, smell the weird portland air, and feel the breeze on their cute little faces.

3. Clear a path for running.

One of my dogs (Harvey) is a fetch fanatic. Being able to chuck a ball down our long hallway is CRUCIAL for wearing him out, particularly in the winter, so putting furniture or boxes in that hallway is a no-go. Other dogs may appreciate a circular path for laps instead.

4. Make sure they have their own “safe space.”

Like any of us, dogs are social creatures but also need some time to themselves, so we set aside a “dog corner” and tossed a little bed in it. Our dudes take shifts in this spot throughout the day! Clearly they feel very secure there. This can also be a crate, blanket, or even a dog-friendly chair… but if a guest sits in that chair, prepare for a turf war!

Reggie relaxing in his bed.

5. Check if the building is TRULY pet-friendly.

Allowing dogs is great. But what you really want is a dog-friendly community. We lucked out in that our building has a ton of dogs and our neighbors “get it.” They understand that a dog may bark, not always want to be petted, etc. As every dog owner knows, our pups mirror our moods – if you’re anxious about building codes and complaints 24/7, everyone’s gonna have a tougher time.

What are your top tips for #apartmentdog life? We’d love to hear from you. Comment on our Instagram post and tell us what you’ve done for your pup!

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