Moving from a house to an apartment is not only a lifestyle change for yourself, but also your pets. This isn’t to say that pets can’t be happy in apartments, they just need a few adjustments to make it a more pet-friendly living space. While it’s not the best idea to have large dogs in apartments, smaller dogs, cats, or other animals can be completely content living in an apartment. Here are some of our best tips for training your pet for apartment living.
If you’re transitioning your cat to apartment living, the good news is it won’t make much of a difference at all. If your cat is already an inside cat, the transition will almost be seamless. The only change you may want to consider is a more discreet litter box. When you have a litter box in a larger home, it’s quite easy to find a designated (and hidden) area to leave it. Since apartment living is considerably smaller, you may struggle to find a spot to keep it that is out of the way.
If you have an outdoor cat, the main thing you need to do is make sure that your apartment is cat-proof. Since your furry friend is used to being able to go outside and explore, they may become restless and try and get out. Consider supervised outings onto the balcony so they can get some fresh air, or if it suits you- you can even get cat leads and take them for a walk!
Dogs, on the other hand, do require a little more time to transition to their new life of apartment living with some training and practice required. Since your dog is no doubt used to being able to take themselves out to the toilet, this will now need to be done in your apartment. Generally, this kind of training is done with puppy pads and fake grass on a balcony, courtyard, or in a laundry/bathroom. Puppy pads typically contain a scent that attract your dogs to the pad and make them feel like they need to go the bathroom. If you don’t want to use these, fake grass is another great option as it mimics where they are used to going to the bathroom. You can either buy normal fake grass and rinse it/wash it off outside, or there are designated fake grass options specifically for your dog going to the toilet. These options, such as The Pet Loo, have fake grass on the top and a contraption underneath that catches the run-off and is easily emptied and cleaned.
If you can, it’s best to start this training your pet for apartment living before you even move. Try leading your dog to the pads or fake grass at regular intervals, or when you see signs of them trying to go. Some signs that may signify your dog needs to go are restlessness, sniffing, circling, or suddenly walking off to a corner of the room. Make sure to reward them with a treat if they go on or around the pads or grass (there will most likely be mistakes- but that’s okay!)
Overtime, your dog should become used to using the pads or fake grass. You will also need to take your pet outside to the toilet at regular intervals, so they can take care of their other needs (since you don’t want this done in your apartment if possible!). Make sure you are also scheduling in time to time your dog out for a walk or a play. Since they are no longer able to do this themselves, you will need to make sure you keep them active and entertained. If you’re unable to walk them, see if a neighbour, friend, or family member would like to take up the job and help both of you out.
If you’re training an older dog, it can sometimes be more difficult than a younger dog since they’re set in their habits. If there are any commands or words that you use currently to get them to go to the toilet, try to use them in your new training. You should also try and take note of your dog’s current schedule and when they generally need to go (for example, if you take them out at a certain time at night before bed) and stick to this schedule. Older dogs find it harder to adjust, so changing up their schedule even more can only make it more difficult to settle into apartment living.
The main aspect of training any pet for apartment living is being patient and realising their life is transitioning as well as yours. The good news is, most pets adjust quickly to apartment living, and then you can go ahead and start enjoying this new chapter of your life!