The following post was written by TDWA founding member, Yvette, owner of Tail Blazers. Tail Blazers is entering its 12th year of business and still proudly provides the King and Queen West area with exceptional pet care services.
Living in the city usually means living in very close quarters with our neighbours (challenging at the best of times), and when you add dogs into the mix, tensions can run high.
Unfortunately, in major urban centres like Toronto, there is often a polarization between ‘dog people’ and everyone else. And there is a good reason for this: rampant irresponsible dog ownership. When dog owners are not responsible, respectful and courteous, they make life unpleasant for everyone, fellow dog owners and non-dog owners alike.
Here is a list of guidelines to follow when living in an apartment or condo with your dog:
A Dog Owner’s Guide to Condo Etiquette
– Only allow your dog to urinate or defecate in designated areas. In particular, do not allow your dog to urinate on the pillars or posts of the building itself, especially at entrances/exits. It’s unsightly, foul-smelling, and infuriates your neighbours. It also encourages all of the dogs that come after yours to do the same. Same goes for urinating on landscaped areas with flowers or shrubs.
– Always carry bags (include extras!) and pick up after your dog. This is the number one complaint regarding dog owners in urban settings. Remember that in addition to being extremely unpleasant, dog waste also carries parasites and disease, and can easily be tracked into the building via shoes and paws.
– If your dog is not 100% house trained, carry him outside to do his business, and take him out often. If he does have an accident, clean it up immediately, or notify the building. Do not use harsh chemicals that might stain or bleach carpeting. If you need help with the house training but have no friends or family available, enlist the services of a professional dog walker to supplement your existing routine.
– Keep your dog on leash and under control at all times while on the property, including lobbies, hallways, and outdoor spaces. Your dog might be well behaved, but the rules are there for a reason. Many of your neighbours are fearful or uncomfortable around dogs, have allergies, or possibly have reactive dogs of their own who need their space. In elevators, respect everyone’s personal space and have your dog sit quietly by your feet.
– If your dog is reactive (barks or lunges at people or other dogs), work on modifying the behaviour. Seek professional help from a positive reinforcement dog trainer, and in the meantime, use back stairs and side doors whenever possible. And remember that if your dog is causing a problem with a neighbour, rather than reacting defensively, try to be extra courteous and respectful. It’s not about being right, it’s about getting along.
– If your dog barks excessively, consult a trainer, and consider hiring a professional dog walker to take him out of the home midday to drain some of his energy and reduce stress/anxiety. You can also keep him in a bedroom or in an area away from the door to minimize the amount of stimulus he is receiving and reduce the impact of the dog’s barking on your neighbours.
– Exercise and engage your dog!! Walking him around the block two or three times a day to relieve himself is NOT enough! Many behavioural issues in dogs are as a result of a lack of exercise and stimulus. This, along with providing food, water, shelter and love, is the most basic responsibility of all dog owners, regardless of the size or breed of dog.
Remember, apartment and condo living is a very unnatural environment for dogs, with little green space, and dozens of other dogs and people at every turn. The responsibility rests with you as the owner to provide your dog with the tools and guidelines necessary to live harmoniously with your neighbours (human and canine) in the concrete jungle.
To find a qualified professional dog walker in your area, or for tips on safety, mental stimulation and more, please browse the rest of our blog, and explore our site.