If it seems like it would be a lousy idea to keep a big dog in a small apartment, keep in mind that plenty of mid-to-large breed dogs are actually quite low energy and wouldn’t mind one bit. Consider Greyhounds, who are accustomed to working in short bursts of energy, but are happy to be couch potatoes the rest of the time.
Regardless of breed, dogs are adaptable and can be happy living just about anywhere, as long as their pet parents satiate their need for exercise, comfort, and mental stimulation. Here are some tips for keeping your big dog happy in your small home.
1. Schedule playtime with friends
If your dog likes to be around other dogs, then allow them to indulge in some canine company. Depending on your schedule, consider a weekly routine so that your dog can get truly familiar with their doggy pals. Play dates can be a great way to discharge extra energy as many dogs can play in a more uninhibited fashion with other dogs than they can with humans.
2. Vary your walk routes
It’s a given that your dog will need to get outside for exercise every day, but it also helps to change up the route you take when you walk your dog. Choose a few different routes to cycle through over the course of the week just to keep things interesting for your dog. New routes will provide exposure to new smells and different stimulation so that your pet won’t get bored with an inflexible daily routine.
3. “Borrow” a friend’s yard
If you don’t have access to a dog park or another enclosed area where your dog can run free of a leash, then check your rolodex to see if you have a friend or relative with a fenced-in yard you can borrow once in a while. This will give your dog the treat of a run off-leash if he wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Of course, for the sake of the yard-owner, don’t forget to clean up after your pet
4. Create a personal indoor space for your dog
Inside your home, create a special place just for your dog to relax. This might be a quiet corner where you keep your dog’s bed or crate or another soft surface to lie on, plus a basket of toys your dog play with or chew on.
5. Hire a dog walker or runner
If your dog is a high-energy breed that needs lots of exercise, like a Border Collie, then consider hiring someone to come walk or run your dog while you’re at work to help meet some of your dog’s exercise requirement.
6. Consider a doggie daycare
Pay a visit to your local doggie daycare. Watch the pets play to get a sense of how much exercise and stimulation your dog could get in such an environment. However, dogs do need to sleep a lot during the day, so this “perk” might actually be too much stimulation depending on what kind of dog you have. Just make sure your dog would also be able to get some rest.
7. Establish a feeding and bathroom routine
A bathroom routine is an absolute must for any dog that relies on you for bathroom breaks. Keep feeding and walk times consistent so that your dog’s body can acclimate to a routine. This will eliminate or reduce discomfort, and can go a long way towards eliminating the potential for accidents.
8. Play indoor games
All of your dog’s exercise doesn’t need to be outdoors. Try taking it inside, especially during cold months. You can play a normal game of fetch down a hallway, or even play a softer form of fetch where you roll the ball rather than toss it. You can also wrestle, play tug of war using a toy like Mega Twist Rope, or enjoy other interactive toys indoors.
If you follow these 8 tips, you will be on the path towards taking care of any dog’s need for activity, well-being, and excitement, no matter what size home you share.
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