Having a dog in an apartment.

Lots of people who don’t have a yard still want a dog!

We are incredibly lucky in that we have many acres for our dogs, and our horses, to play in. Mind you, it is at times like the present where our acres are not such a brilliant idea. Times in the Summer that bring drought and the ever-present risk of a fire storm.

But taken in the round we are grateful that we ended up living in this property.

Not all people are as lucky as us but for them a dog or two is just as important. So what is the truth of having a dog in an apartment.

That is why I am so pleased to share this recent article from The Dodo with you.


How To Make Your Dog Happy Living In An Apartment

No yard, no problem!


Published on the 1st March, 2021.

So you’re dying to have a dog, but you’re worried he won’t be happy in your apartment.

Do you really need a giant house with a big yard to give your dog the best life?

The Dodo spoke with Mikayla Park, director of adoptions and education at Wags & Walks, to bust that myth wide open.

Is living in an apartment worse for your dog?

Great news! The idea that a dog can’t be happy in an apartment is totally a myth.

“There is no one perfect environment in which to introduce a new dog,” Park told The Dodo. “Everyone has the ability to give a dog a happy and fulfilling life regardless of the size of their home, and the presence of an outdoor yard space.”

If you’re waiting to adopt a dog until you have your own yard due to personal preference, that’s totally understandable.

But the only real requirement for having a pup of your own is a willingness to love and take care of him — even if that means getting creative about outdoor time.

“Adopting a dog is about making a commitment to give that dog everything they need for the rest of their life,” Park said. “It might be a bit more work if you don’t have the ability to open a door and let your pup go outside, but it is by no means impossible, nor does it make your home any lesser a home in which to have a dog.”

Getting your dog outside when you live in an apartment

Going out to do his business, soak up the sun or just run around and smell all the smells is super important for your dog.

But just because you don’t have a backyard or live in an apartment, that doesn’t mean your pup can’t get that quality outside time.

“Outdoor time is a vital part of this daily routine, but it’s more about the way you spend that outdoor time than the mere presence of it,” Park explained. “Dogs thrive on having jobs, on pleasing their humans, on working their brains! Challenge them to work while they are outside with you.”

So instead of just idly letting your dog get his zoomies out when you pop outside, you can actually use this time to engage his brain — such as by slipping some training time in on your daily walks.

“Don’t just let them wander at the end of a leash,” Park said. “Practice your commands, work on eye contact [and] run them through sits and stays and recall. Buy a treat pouch and take it with you when you go, so that you can reward for good behavior and mark victories!”

This will help tire him out so he’s not bursting with energy when you return to your apartment. And with enough active walks or dog park trips, any pup can be happy (regardless of where he lives).

Things that’ll make your dog happy inside an apartment

While your dog definitely needs outdoor enrichment, there are plenty of things that will help keep him entertained while he’s inside your apartment.

“There are lots of wonderful products out there to help you in maintaining a happy and balanced dog without a yard,” Park said. “Brain games like treat puzzles and Kongs are fabulous ways to create some mentally stimulating entertainment.”

Plus, believe it or not, your dog’s bed can even help with that indoor enrichment.

“Buy a raised-place bed and practice having your dog stay there while you cook dinner,” Park explained, noting that this can actually be a fun mental game for some pups. “If they get up, lead them right back onto the bed. They cannot move until you give them the signal to do so. Sound boring? You would be surprised how hard it is for some dogs to make their bodies sit still for 20 minutes.”

So, there are plenty of ways you can give your dog a happy life with lots of enrichment while living in an apartment.

“Not having a backyard is certainly a bit of a challenge, but one that any adopter is capable of rising to meet, with dedication and time,” Park said.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.


As was said earlier on in the article: “But the only real requirement for having a pup of your own is a willingness to love and take care of him.

My experience is that huge numbers of people are really committed to loving their dogs. Simply because a dog offers in return unconditional love. It’s a short statement of just two words. But it is a profound quality of our dogs and one that at frequent times has Jeannie and me, and tons of other people, lost for words!

8 thoughts on “Having a dog in an apartment.

  1. We used to live in an apartment many years ago & this article is spot on. I am so glad we were able to find a house when we moved to AZ last year because it was looking like we might have had to move into a condo or an apartment again.


    1. That is interesting, Susan, that is your confirmation of the article. I must ask, are you a night worker? Because you always respond to my posts in the very early hours of a morning.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This article speaks to my lived experience. My dog is an ESA. I think she should be registered as a service dog because she offers so much more than emotional support to me. Not that that is a small thing, but she gives so much more, like getting me outside when I definitely wouldn’t otherwise go.

    Living with chronic pain and illness means that I need to move around as much as possible. My dog’s sweet face and tremendous love motivates me to go for many (perhaps brief) walks per day. I bet we walk around my block at least 6-8 times a day. Then too, we go up and down the stairs each time. I would like to teach her to get the mail and the end of the stairway. She sure likes running up and down them.

    She’s also a social dog. She wants to say hi to everyone she sees! A little farmers market is going on right now. She wants to go over to say hi to, everyone! I have to dress to be seen (not in my pajamas) so that I can take her to visit. One man selling vegetables will be waiting on her with a treat. Another will tell us how we made his day by visiting. We both get a lot out of walking only a half block away! I love that!

    Long ago, I believed that an apartment was not a good place for a dog. Then my son decided he wanted one. He saw a box of puppies at a local festival and that’s the day my life changed. We brought home a tiny lab mix. Free was her name. She took us on weekend camping trips and on many riverside adventures near our apartment. She walked with us to his school. I realized that I had become one of those people whose car smelled like a dog. A person with dog hairs sometimes on my clothes. And this made me very happy.

    Life in an apartment is okay, but with a dog, it is grand!


    1. What a wonderful reply. You in your words encapsulate the very essence of having a dog in your life, and even that is an understatement. A dog is an animal of unconditional love; that is they love all those that are kind to them and without seeking anything in return. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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