It’s the modern day pet – a pooch living in a city apartment. But while the cats away at work, what are the dogs getting up to? Are they bored senseless? Ripping shreds through your PJ’s? As lonely as a hound dog?
As of July 1 2016, apartment owners in New South Wales were given the green light from NSW State Government to allow small pups under 14kgs to live in a dwelling, but interestingly dogs in apartments often do much better when it comes to behaviour, manners and social opportunities than their fur buddies who have a backyard.
This is because unlike backyard dwelling dogs, apartment owners typically don’t have a place to put their pet dogs when visitors come over and are taken outside for walks regularly, so they must be well-trained and able to behave in such environments.
Dr Liisa Ahlstrom, Technical Services Veterinarian for Bayer Australia’s Animal Health division, believes that if dogs get the correct training and mental stimulation while home alone, all breeds can adapt to living in an apartment, but some are obviously more suited than others.
“It may surprise you to know, that small breeds such as Terriers need large amounts of exercise, whereas a Great Dane doesn’t, so the cliché of a small living area means you must have a small dog doesn’t always ring true when it comes to picking the right dog for your apartment,” explains Dr Ahlstrom. “Whatever breed you choose make sure you have the time to provide the exercise it needs as well as the time to train it to be a well- mannered part of your household.”
Here, Dr Liisa Ahlstrom suggests her top tips to keep indoor pooches mentally stimulated while home alone…
Get Some Toys
“Rotate your pets’ toys regularly (otherwise they will lose interest) and remove the majority of them when you come home – this way your dog will look forward to you leaving, as that’s when the toys come out.”
Leave Tasty Consumables
“Leave a pig ear/sheep’s ear, large meaty raw bones, grass and herb garden or treats in ice-cubes floating in large water containers in easy reach, as these consumables keep your dog busy and fed. Remember to ask your vet what he/she recommends for your dog, as some treats are not suitable for all dogs.”
“When appropriate and pending budgetary/eco-living constraints, leave the television or radio on to give your pet dog a sense of company as this is likelier to keep dogs calm.”
“Collections of ‘smelly items’ from an outside environment, calm pheromone diffusers or an old t-shirt of owners you pooch can keep in their bedding will stimulate their senses when alone.”
Leave Puzzles & Games
“Leave a treasure hunt for your dog to find treats or toys hidden all over the house. For dogs that stay largely in one area, the same can be achieved by filling a large clam shell with shredded paper for an indoor treasure dig.”