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Apartment Dwellers are Lousy Dog Owners

People who live in apartments shouldn’t own dogs. Period.

Now, admittedly, there is a difference between overbred, atrophied purse-dogs and larger animals. I’m mostly referring to the latter. In my building, and around my very urban neighbourhood, I see plenty of dogs of medium and large-sized dogs who live in apartments. There’s one guy in my apartment who has two dobermans in what’s, at best, a one-bedroom plus den of about 750 square feet.

Dogs require space. These articles point out that only small, low-energy dogs should be kept in apartments. It’s important to note that these articles are from pet-related sites, so they’re going to offer the most liberal position possible.

Dogs are social animals. Leaving a dog at home for eight or more hours without stimulation is cruel. This applies to a house as well, obviously, but is more often the case in apartments. Speaking of cruel, dog owners have turned the narrow green strips in front of their apartments into doggie sewers. The dogs have been holding it in all day, and can’t stray more than a few yards from their apartment before doing their business.

To me, it’s only common sense. A dog deserves a yard to be in and social interaction. To exploit a dog by cooping it up in an apartment is deeply selfish.

If you opt to live in the city in an apartment, you gain certain benefits and give up certain privileges. One of those, as far as I’m concerned, is dog ownership. If you want to own a dog, move to the suburbs. Better yet, move to the country. I’m reminded of a Thoreau quote, which says “I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.” Shouldn’t that apply to dogs, too?

54 Responses to “Apartment Dwellers are Lousy Dog Owners”

  1. Jodie

    I agree – couping an energetic dog up all day is not good. There are, however, alternatives too, since a lot of people love their dogs (I know… I know… if they love them, let them go ecetera…). Hopefully more will start using “doggy daycares” where they are taken outside every day to run, play, frolic and sniff as much… uh… grass as their noses need. http://www.raincitydogs.com/daycare.htm for Vancouver and http://www.clubdog.ca/index.html for Victoria

  2. Darren

    What downtown really needs is some kind of “rent-a-dog” service, whereby people in need of animal companionship could rent dogs for a few hours or days a week. Hopefully these dogs would be treated well in a spacious rental office, and they wouldn’t have to spend hours alone in apartments.

    I know the SPCA has volunteer dogwalkers, but I’ve heard that it’s surprisingly difficult to get a spot as one.

  3. `jen

    hello — i am a student (off for the summer) and have a 45lb border collie/samoyed cross living with me in my bachelor apartment. while i know there are exceptions to every rule (and many, many poor dog owners spoiling it for the rest of us), i feel your blanket statements are incorrect on several points…

    1. “Dogs require space.” — true, i don’t have a backyard, but i do have access to kits dog beach, spanish banks, the endowment lands and several other parks that are much larger than any backyard i’ve ever seen. we go to at least one of these for a couple hours every day, not including other regular walks.

    2. “Dogs are social animals.” — while leaving a dog home alone all day sounds cruel, i’m not sure how much better leaving it in a backyard all day is. there isn’t any more social stimulation in a backyard, unless you’re also suggesting that “People Who Only Own One Dog are Lousy Dog Owners”.

    3. “A dog deserves a yard to be in and social interaction.” — a dog isn’t going to necessarily get anymore exercise alone in a backyard than alone in a house or apartment. and where is the social interaction coming from? squirrels and birds? my point is that just having a house isn’t going to accomplish both of these things on its’ own.

    4. “If you opt to live in the city in an apartment, you gain certain benefits and give up certain privileges.” — if you are financially restricted to living in the city in an apartment, i don’t think you should be penalized. the fact that you live in an apartment should not be a restriction from the companionship and other immense benefits of owning a dog. not having time to take care of your dog should be.

    and finally: “Apartment Dwellers are Lousy Dog Owners” is a *hugely* generalized statement. shoving your dog in a backyard just because you can afford one doesn’t make you a good dog owner.

    i think the title of this post should be “People That Have No Time for Their Dogs are Lousy Dog Owners”.

    mike Reply:

    Jen you are the bomb, I want you on my side when I confront The(THS)of all the wrongs that the humane society are not telling the public.I had the pleasure of working at, just before the union came in. At that point the (ths) had felt that getting rid of all the paid workers would not make the union as strong as it would be,that’s a hole new topic,lol.As far as Darren and his narrow minded attitude goes towards people that live in apartment’s (how rude and judjementle can one be . I am personaly a dog lover,owner and reside in a apartment at this present time I own a lab who gets more walks then the anything else, not all people that live in aparments forget that there furry family member needs more attention then one can give doesn’t have anything to do about the size of the animal ,don’t forget about the owner that owns a shitzu, who lives in a house, who work’s all day long, then comes home for a couple hours then goes out to the bar for the remaining 4 hour’s of the day.how narrow minded can one man be give your head a shake Darren

  4. `jen

    further to point #2 (sorry), the most socialized dogs i know are ones who frequent “dog friendly” public areas with their owners. the chance to interact with a variety of shapes and sizes of other dogs is extremely healthy and promotes a very well-adjusted dog.

    not suprisingly, the people that most often frequent these dog friendly areas are usually apartment dwellers.

  5. Darren

    Jen: You’re entirely right that my post most criticizes those who don’t have enough time for their dogs. Unfortunately, those are also likely to be people in apartments:

    1. Statistically speaking, people in urban areas spend less time in their homes. That’s a major reason for living downtown–so that they can take advantage of what the city offers. This implies that less time is spent with an animal.

    2. Per capita, there are less people living in an apartment than a house. This increases the duration and frequency of a dog’s alone time.

    3. Being in a yard gives the dog an opportunity to exercise during the day. That’s an option they don’t have in an apartment. Also, I wouldn’t underestimate the amount of stimulation in an outdoors environment. Dogs chase or respond to not only squirrels and birds, but also the neighbour’s cat, the postman, etc. If a dog gets up and runs around the yard five times during the day to chase something, that’s five times more exercise that it’s getting in an apartment.

    4. Two dogs are definitely better than one from a social perspective. However, because of their size, apartments tend to discourage the ownership of multiple animals.

    This leads to one conclusion: apartments aren’t the best place for dogs. I’m sure that you and many other pet owners are very responsible and exercise and socialize your dog as recommended. However, we all know that many dog owners are not responsible, and that irresponsibility is exacerbated in an urban setting. The average person living in an average-size apartment with an average dog gets you one thing: a sub-standard life for the dog.

    Simply put, I don’t think pet owners should compromise the life a dog deserves for their own benefit. Does that mean I think you should only own a dog if you live in the suburbs or the country and can spend most of the day with it? Absolutely.

  6. `jen

    the statement “apartments aren’t the best place for dogs” is MUCH different than “Apartment Dwellers are Lousy Dog Owners”. i fully agree with the first and think the latter is over-stated.

    some comments on backyards (since that seems to be the biggest outward difference between apartment dog owners and those in houses):
    “Just letting your dog out to the backyard is not enough and does not give the exercise the dog needs. And again a brief daily walk sometimes is not enough either.”
    http://arar.essortment.com/exercisedogs_rjyb.htm

    “Perhaps the biggest and most widely held misconception about dogs is the belief that they will be healthy and happy living only in the backyard. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Current studies in dog psychology show that dogs isolated in backyards are highly likely to develop serious behavioral problems that often result in euthanasia for the animal.”
    http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_BackyardDogs.php

    “How We Help Cause Our Dogs To Misbehave… (backyard exercise is NOT enough!)”
    http://www.inch.com/~dogs/misbehave.html

    “Although fenced yards provide room for some exercise and play, too many owners assume that their dogs receive enough exercise within the boundaries of the yard.”
    http://www.torontohumanesociety.com/caringforPet/walked.html

    “Dogs tied or kenneled out in the backyard for long periods of time… are likely to develop serious behavioral problems.”
    http://www.cbrrescue.org/articles/owndog.htm

    again, i think we agree that responsible dog ownership is about the time and not the amount of space available. however, i also think that good dog owners enrich the life of their pets, giving them the “life they deserve”, in any amount of space.

  7. Darren

    I never argued that you shouldn’t walk your dog if you’ve got a yard, nor that you shouldn’t bring it inside. I just stated that a dog, even by itself, is going to receive more exercise in a yard than an apartment. In fact, the quotes you provide (“letting your dog out to the backyard is not enough”) imply that a dog gets some exercise from being alone in a yard. More, obviously, than the near-zero exercise it will get in an apartment.

    Saying that “good dog owners enrich the life of their pets, giving them the ‘life they deserve’, in any amount of space” isn’t necessarily true. The articles I cited in my original posting argue that only a minority of breeds are appropriate for apartments. Clearly, if these articles are accurate, a “good dog owner” wouldn’t put an inappropriate breed in an apartment.

    Additionally, we don’t agree “that responsible dog ownership is about the time and not the amount of space available”. I don’t know much about raising dogs, so I’m depending on the experts. Those articles I cited (and I’m happy to locate others, if those aren’t authoritative) state that only some breeds should be kept in apartments. So, clearly responsible dog ownership is also about the space available.

    Unfortunately, most dog owners aren’t “good dog owners”–they’re average dog owners. And, for every good dog owner, there’s a bad one. If only good dog owners had dogs in apartments, I’d be less concerned. However, apartments exacerbate the impact of a less-than-good dog owner on their dog.

  8. (another) Jen

    I think it’s unfortunate, Darren, that you didn’t make it to your last point sooner, or in your post at all. That “apartments exacerbate the impact of a less-then-good dog owner on their dog.”

    There are enough breed studies out there that will help any dog owner choose the best dog for their personal situation, based on space & time available, cost of food & grooming and potential health problems with some purebreds that are more likely than not to result in some hefty vet bills.

    There is no excuse for poor dog ownership, but let me ask you: for that one case in New York where two specifically bred fighting dogs attacked that woman in her apartment hallway, how many stories have you heard about neglected pitbulls or “guard dogs” breaking loose or being let loose in suburbia and chomping down on some innocent passer by?

  9. Darren

    I hope that every prospective dog owner does enough research to “dog owner choose the best dog for their personal situation, based on space & time available, cost of food & grooming and potential health problems with some purebreds that are more likely than not to result in some hefty vet bills.” Given the number of medium and large-sized dogs that live in my urban neighbourhood, I don’t think they are.

    As with most things, I’m not worried about the responsible people–I’m worried about the majority of folks who don’t do enough research, don’t think through their purchasing decision and end up neglecting or abusing their pet.

    And don’t get me started on dog attacks, regardless of their location. They’re just another example of irresponsible ownership.

  10. `jen

    “More, obviously, than the near-zero exercise it will get in an apartment.” — i also have a cat. i’ve seen my dog become out of breath when they run around and play in my small bachelor space. i would never claim that is enough exercise. “some” exercise isn’t enough.

    “Clearly, if these articles are accurate, a “good dog owner” wouldn’t put an inappropriate breed in an apartment.” — with “good dog owner” in quotes, it seems like you are actually talking about bad dog owners again. yes, there are enough of them to give everyone else a bad name, but they are not the only people that own dogs in apartments.

    “I don’t know much about raising dogs, so I’m depending on the experts.” — “experts” is a pretty subjective term. i think you might be hard-pressed to find an established dog authority that condemns ALL medium-large breed dogs in apartments under ALL circumstances. i can look up “expert” opinions on my own time. this entire post is basically YOUR opinion and your opinions are the reason i come to this site in the first place. you can correct me if i’m wrong, but i don’t think this topic would have come up if you hadn’t made some personal observations of dog owners in YOUR neighbourhood. i’m just calling your opinion one-sided. that’s all. :)

    “So, clearly responsible dog ownership is also about the space available.” — if apartments are so bad for dogs, why do reputable vancouver dog websites (http://vandog.ca/lodging.htm) and pet supply stores (ie: bosley’s on davie st) post lists of “dog-friendly” rental buildings?

    “If only good dog owners had dogs in apartments, I’d be less concerned. However, apartments exacerbate the impact of a less-than-good dog owner on their dog.” — i agree with (the other) jen and feel that your original post was lacking this “disclaimer”. “People who live in apartments shouldn’t own dogs. Period.” is a pretty strong statement. i think i would still call it over-stated.

    People who don’t take into consideration the amount of resources they have to ensure a quality life for a pet shouldn’t own dogs. Period.

  11. Darren

    “‘ve seen my dog become out of breath when they run around and play in my small bachelor space. i would never claim that is enough exercise. “some” exercise isn’t enough.”

    Where did I state that some is enough? You haven’t refuted my argument that a dog receives considerably more exercise alone in a yard than alone in an apartment. Are you going to?

    “”experts” is a pretty subjective term. i think you might be hard-pressed to find an established dog authority that condemns ALL medium-large breed dogs in apartments under ALL circumstances. i can look up “expert” opinions on my own time. this entire post is basically YOUR opinion and your opinions are the reason i come to this site in the first place. you can correct me if i’m wrong, but i don’t think this topic would have come up if you hadn’t made some personal observations of dog owners in YOUR neighbourhood. i’m just calling your opinion one-sided.”

    We can agree on some experts if you like. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone who writes about dogs advocates dog ownership, owns a dog business or publication, etc. and therefore is hardly an unbiased source.

    A well-formed opinion is based on facts. Indeed, I did make some observations about my neighbourhood. Then I went and read about dog ownership in apartments. Then I thought about, and came up with my aforementioned thesis.

    “if apartments are so bad for dogs, why do reputable vancouver dog websites (http://vandog.ca/lodging.htm) and pet supply stores (ie: bosley’s on davie st) post lists of “dog-friendly” rental buildings?”

    Since when was commerce an argument for morality? Cigarettes are bad for us, but websites and stores still advertise them.

    “i agree with (the other) jen and feel that your original post was lacking this “disclaimer”. “People who live in apartments shouldn’t own dogs. Period.” is a pretty strong statement. i think i would still call it over-stated.”

    I think I’ve clearly proven that apartments are less suitable than houses for dogs. Furthermore, I’ve proven that the majority of dog owners are of average responsibility or less. Lastly, I’ve proven that the majority of dog species aren’t suitable for apartment living.

    From these statements, I think “people who live in apartments shouldn’t own dogs” is a safe conclusion to draw. Anything else fails to indemnify dogs against harm.

  12. `jen

    i’m not one to need to get the last word in, beat a dead horse or agree to disagree, but since you’ve included actual questions in your last comments, i will address them.

    “Where did I state that some is enough?” — you didn’t. but you did reduce the type of dwelling someone lives in as an immediate reflection on their ability to be a good dog owner. my point is a similarly over-simplified relationship between the amount of exercise you ensure your dog gets and your level of quality as a dog owner: ensuring your dog gets enough exercise makes you a good dog owner (well, better than most – bear with me). you just made it seem like having a backyard automatically puts you in the good dog owner category. most dogs that get put out in the backyard get “some” exercise. ensuring your dog gets “some” exercise makes you a poor to adequate dog owner, even if you live in a house.

    “You haven’t refuted my argument that a dog receives considerably more exercise alone in a yard than alone in an apartment. Are you going to?” — the only thing i disagree with in that statement is the word “considerably”. i think a dog alone in a backyard for 8 hours has the same capacity to get bored as a dog inside an apartment of the same size. ask any house owner with a dog why they have big holes in their garden. ask any apartment dweller with a dog why they have big holes in their slippers.

    “A well-formed opinion is based on facts.” — i appreciate your well-(in?)formed opinion. i don’t think an opposing opinion based on experience (ie: mine) is any less informed or valid. some of the best dog owners i know live in apartments. they go great lengths above and beyond house dog owners.

    “Since when was commerce an argument for morality?” — you’re right. i’m sure bosley’s sells a LOT more pet food to private owners that don’t have to give up their dogs to the SPCA. oh, and vandogs must be rolling in the dough from their advertising revenue.

    everything else aside, the only reason i posted in the first place is because i had a positive experience to share that differed from your opinion. i think having a dog can be a wondrous and joyous thing in the right situation. bad dog owners live in all types and sizes of dwellings. so do good dog owners.

  13. Darren

    I’ll leave it at that, with the exception of one rhetorical point:

    “i appreciate your well-(in?)formed opinion. i don’t think an opposing opinion based on experience (ie: mine) is any less informed or valid.”

    It wasn’t my intent to lessen or invalidate your (or anybody else’s) opinion. Mostly (and neither of us was doing this) it irks me when people hide behind the phrase “it’s just an opinion”, as if that implicitly justifies any position imaginable.

    I would argue that, generally speaking, an opinion based on facts does beat an experience based on experience. Consider the following thought experiment:

    Person A: “I walk around Detroit all the time and never get mugged. Therefore, Detroit is a safe city.”

    Person B: “Statistics show that Detroit is the most crime-ridden metropolis in the US. Detroit is an unsafe city.”

    Which of these is more correct?

    Now, in our case, I haven’t really provided enough imperical evidence from experts to have a ironclad fact-based opinion. However, generally, I’m going to believe the experts’ facts (note the placement of the apostrophe, as corrobation is important) over anecdotal experience. Soon enough this is going to devolve into a debate about faith and the existence of God, so I’ll quit now.

    As in most debates, we’re not going to change each other’s minds. Thanks for the healthy discussion, and I hope you and your pet a long and healthy relationship.

  14. Donna

    Hi Darren – I must admit I only skimmed the last couple of comments, so maybe this was already brought up. Dogs should never be left alone outside in your yard, regardless of where you live, or how secure your fence is. Many dogs get tangled on their runs or get their collars caught on things and choke to death. Also, dog theft is rampant everywhere. My parents had two dogs stolen from their very secure yard and they were never recovered. An interesting site to check out is: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.com

    My lab and I lived in an apartment for a year, but only because I knew it was a temporary situation, and we were still able to walk out our back door and be in the woods. Now we live in the country on 22 acres and it’s much better for her. That said, I would make an educated guess that many apartment dogs are better cared for than country dogs. Dogs in the country are often tied up and neglected because their owners are not forced to take them out for regular exercise. Sadly.

    I do have to agree with Jen when she said that a dog in the yard will get bored, too. Dogs are pack animals and therefore are social and NEED to be with their people (which was your original point). It all comes down to responsible pet ownership.

    Thanks for providing interesting reading!!

  15. Immutably Me

    A post for the dogs

    I’ve been a frequent reader of Darren Barefoot and look forward to his witty and intellectual posts but this particular post left me scratching my head as to how someone so well travelled and clever could fill a page with…

  16. Julie

    I also think the blanket statement of no dogs in apartment’s is unfair. I am an apartment dweller with a dog, a beagle, and he is one happy puppy. My dog interacts with countless other dogs during the day in an urban, dog friendly neighborhood. On his walks and visits to the nearby parks. He spends his time alone often sunning near a window watching all the action outside. My dog would be very unhappy tied up alone in a back yard. In additon, we have Beau brought on group outings twice a week, where he runs free with other dogs for the majority of the day.

    In short, it’s all about the care the owner offers the dog, and not entirely about the locale.

  17. grace

    I just came across this blog while doing a search for best dogs for apartment living, and felt the need to give my two cents. While a large living space is nice, not everyone can afford it. And while animal shelters are convenient, I think they are a necessary evil and a sad commentary on our society that so many believe animals are disposable. So if I choose to adopt a dog (after doing research on the breeds best suited for me and my living space, etc…), I believe that in these cirmcumstances, the ends justify the means. As long as each future owner is responsible in doing research before adopting a dog to ensure a long and happy life with their new companions, I think in the end, the size of your space doesn’t matter. I adopted a cat from a shelter (who had to be put to sleep after 14 years), and now look forward to rescuing a dog and having a loving and faithful companion for many years to come.

  18. mary

    Crazy blanketed statements! Having been raised in an apartment, my dog is so well adjusted and well socialized. Many back yard dogs end up agressive when the owners depends on the yard to take care of the dog. Dogs need more than a back yard. When taking my dog to the local dog park… He and I are exposed to many personalities and wonderful friendships…. Can’t get that in the back yard.

  19. Matty K

    Again, I was researching dogs in an apartment setting and came across this blog. I need to also agree with the majority here and strongly DIS-agree with the article. The title alone makes me think first, “I am a bad person for even considering getting a dog if I live in an apartment.” and then “He is obviously very proud to have an opinion and more than likely gives people nasty looks as they walk their happy puppy in to their apartment from a nice play.” I haven’t read your other articles and wont, but you have succesfully insulted both the owners AND the dogs. Who are you to claim a dog is happy or not?

  20. Amanda

    I just wanted to say that I totally disagree with the statement that a dog gets more exercise when you have a backyard. I know from experience that that statement is very far from the truth. When I put my golden retriever outside, all he does is lay down on the deck and wait for us to open the door, so he can come back inside. He has no interest in anything outside, unless we are out there with him running around…so I can’t see how he’d get more exercise being by himself over a dog that lives in an apartment and goes for daily walks. I think any dog can live a happy life in an apartment, as long as it gets it’s daily exercise and social time. And like someone else said, good and bad dog owners live everywhere, not just in apartments. I have seen endless numbers of dogs chained up to porches on hot summer days…and I can’t help but think that the dogs with air conditioning in apartment buildings are having the times of their lives.

  21. Tesha

    I think apartment dwellers should not have small dogs in their possession either. As a resident in an apartment in Baltimore, MD, my upstairs neighbors have two small dogs (terriers, I think) that constantly bark at all hours of the day and night when there are strangers with a block of the building. I gues they do this because they are lonely. Also the constant running back and forth in the apartmetn is enough to drive me crazy!

    Steve Reply:

    You’ve mentioned two topics that Darren should follow up on. Barking dogs in apartments(or back yards) and the running back and forth in the apartment which can drive an upstairs neighbor crazy. If either of these things happen the tenant should be forced to move pronto. The latter two examples is why I’m against dogs in apartments.

  22. bobi

    well, this just seems to be a case of common sense, opinion and personal experience. To say that you can’t have a dog if you live in an apartment is just a comment from an coutry boy (I can say this as I am from the country myself) believing that their way of living is the best/only way of living. I mean, I have known people who believe that life in general is better in the country and that the country is the best place to bring up children; however, many people who have been brought up living in the city would strongly disagree. It is just a matter of life style, all dogs are different, and to say that it is cruel to keep a dog just because you don’t have a garden is just ignorant and people who insist on projecting their own opinions as fact, especially when this is very offensive to a great number of people, just annoy me and should probably stop having opinions before they start voting BNP.

  23. Alesha

    this article is partly true and partly not, because even if someone has a large house and does not spend time in different rooms with the dog, or spend time with it while it plays in the backyard the dog won’t be happy. someone can live in an apartment and take their large dog outside to play for an hour or two everyday. you shouldn’t make general statements like people who live in apartments shouldn’t have dogs.

  24. Em

    What right do you have to judge ppl who have dogs and live in apts?? i have 2 dogs and they get tones of social stimulation.They have eachother as well as myself and my boyfriend.We have made it possible for our lovable dogs to always have someone around and they get outside at least 4 times a day.
    my boyfriend works days and i work nights so when he leaves i am getting home an hour later.our dogs are very spoiled and they are happy,cuddle dogs.so why don’t you think before you start shooting your mouth about something you obviously know f&#k all about!!!

  25. Korbelbach

    Dogs don’t need space. Dogs need human interaction. I have a pretty good sized yard and three dogs who never use it. Granted, I also take them out each day and work them for about an hour; but an apartment dweller could just as easily do what I’m doing if they were willing to spend that much time with their dogs.

  26. Korbelbach

    PS. Check your sources. Most dog ‘experts’ are not experts are all. A lot of dog trainers who know anything would actually agree that quality time spent with a dog–by that, not just exercise, but lots of mental stimulation–is more important.

    Fact is, most people shouldn’t own dogs, period. It’s not the apartment living that makes monsters out of dog owners; it’s just that it’s more noticeable, since there isn’t anything else to cover up their mistakes. A dog that has an owner and a yard isn’t necessarily happy and healthy either, judging from the amounts of people who just leave their dogs in the yard and think that’s enough for them. I’ve seen hobos with happier dogs.

  27. Kevin

    The original post is a show of very poor understanding of dogs and refuse of attmittance to the lack of it at best.

    Bottom line:

    1. Every city should make dog owners to be “Certified” by taking a dog ownership course. In my opinion, it is the dog owners that should be licenced rather than the dogs.

    2. Closed minded people writing blogs for the public to read and responds make great learning experience for all. (The post got attendion didn’t it?) Even, I don’t agree on anything written in the original post, I give the writer props for trying to stand behind his words on the responds. Too many people just follow along with what other thinks and are too worry about getting into fights these days.

    …but thats just my opinion, have a good one.

  28. Kyle

    impressive that two years later people still feel compelled to dispute this.

    luckily, the majority of the comments already posted have done my fighting for me, had they not i may have written a novel as the broad statement made in the original post angered me to the core.

    one thing i didn’t spot was a rebuttal to Darren’s insinuation that small dogs don’t need much space, but certainly the bigger the dog the more exercise space is needed. Frankly, my miniature schnauzer, Oliver, needs to be run down daily. His small size gives him a high anaerobic recovery and his energy just doesn’t stop. A walk around a block or two is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his exercise regime. Conversely, my uncle has a Great Dane, a giant among any breed. He prefers to lay around most of the day, as his huge size (194 lbs and not obese) and large heart keep him from wanting much of an aerobic workout. He is the perfect apartment dweller.

    I really wonder, Darren, if you even own a dog. God save the little mongrel if you do.

  29. Jos

    I am a dog owner and live in a smallish apartment. However, if I would not have adopted my dog, she would have been put down..like so many shelter dogs are. I give my dog love and attention, and although I wish she could run around in nature everyday (as I often wish for myself), I think it’s better that she is alive and loved, then dead or abandoned.

  30. Jen

    It’s great you have an opinion, but you really made a terrible, huge assumption about everyone who owns dogs lives in apartments and basically said we are all horrible. I recently moved from a house to an apartment due to a job/location change, and I must say my dog gets so much more exercise now. Before, I had a back yard, so if I was in a rush, I could put her back there for a while, and make sure she got her business done, and her walks could be shortened, etc…
    When moving into the apartment, I made sure there was plenty of places for her to be taken, and she goes out 4 times a day, once of which is an hour+ long walk, that is 1.5 miles in each direction to an off leash dog park to play fetch and play with all her other dog friends. She gets everythings dogs are supposed to get: ample exercise, socialization, ample human interaction…
    gee, this apartment dweller really is a pretty lousy dog owner… seems like all these other people who commented are as well too right? guess you really hit the nail on the head with this one, huh?
    maybe you should think twice when sharing your opinions, and atleast not realize EVERYBODY is how you might think they are.

  31. stacey moran

    I KNOW your opinion is wrong.

    my husband i have been married 2 yrs. and bought ourselves a golden retriever because we are both animal lovers. our dog gets to socialize and play with the other apartment dwellers dogs all the time, we also have a dog park nearby that he goes to several times a week.

    people who live in houses often just let there dog outside without taking the dog for walks or giving them mental stimulation.

    i think you should judge each situation individually. we have read all the varieties of dog books and have great compassion for making sure our boy is exercised, loved, and given lots of attention. He will also be going through pet therapy training soon.

    I think your blanket statement that apartment dwellers are bad dog owners is rude and unthoughtful. our dog is so well exercised and when he comes into our apartment he fits in just fine.

    stacey

  32. Jim

    This article just appears reactionary. I as well came across this well doing research on dogs in apartments. Some people have spoken highly of the author of this blog here but it seems your argument is horribly flawed. I’m definitely no dog expert but I live in an apartment and my roommate has a dog. Unfortunately it must be miserable based on the title of this article because not only is it a dog- its a larger breed (a lab). However, my roommate also takes the dog on long runs and hunting very frequently. Quite frankly, I highly doubt that there are many dog owner’s who provide their pets with the highest optimum care as suggested by many of these websites because it becomes unrealistic. Furthermore, most people don’t keep themselves in optimal shape either so even though thats not an excuse to treat a dog poorly it should at least provide perspective. I think someone stepped in something on the way home and decided to vent their rage via a blanket statement backed up by a random assortment of websites proffering information on the “ideal” for dogs…

  33. j-han

    This is one of the largest blanket statement I have ever heard of in my life.

    Let me tell you why this article makes me so mad. Have you ever heard of classism? Well, this article is oozing with the problems of classism. What you’re basically saying is that people who live in apartments should not have dogs. Have you even considered why individuals may live in apartments and that part of it may be financial reasons? So are you saying those individuals who are confined to apartments due to financial issues should not have the privilege of owning a dog? Bullshit. Instead of attacking the people, why don’t you try attacking the system. Dogs should be sold and bought with caution and care. Unfortunately, the system (whether that be pet awareness or education) doesn’t always provide the best. I’m not saying there aren’t ignoramus idiots out there that should never own dogs.

    Get your facts straight and if you’re going to provide such BIASED and OVER-GENERALIZED statements, back yourself up.

    Your article displays the privilege that you have that you don’t even know you have.

    I live in an apartment, and when I ran into this article, I was very discouraged and saddened. And then I thought about how ridiculous and stupid this article is.

    A much better article would be one that advices those who live in apartments how to choose a breed that fits them, or whether having a dog is even a matter of debate.

    FREAKIN HELL people like you make me mad. It doesn’t hurt to educate yourself beyond your bubble. ugh.

    rewrite this flippin article or write a retraction. Check yoself!

  34. Kayla

    I live in apartment and I have a very small dog… and yes, I am extremley busy and I work a lot and very long hours during the week.

    But the fringe benefit of living and working in the city? My company actually allows for well-behaved dogs to accompany them to work. We go for walks on my lunch break, its lovely!

  35. Hunter

    I recently adopted a dog from the local humane society and happen to live in an apartment. Honestly, I did struggle about keeping my new family member in an apartment while I’m at work. After reading articles and debating about it, I decided, in the long run, a dog will get a whole lot more exercise living in an apartment then a kennel. Dogs at the pound have very little interaction with other dogs and humans. They also get one walk a day during their kennel life. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, adopting a dog will increase his or her quality of life.

  36. S G

    When I got my dog, I lived in a house. Then my relationship disintegrated and I had no choice but to move into an apartment. I struggled with that and felt terrible about my dog not having a yard — she is a 60 lb high-energy dog. But the fact is that she gets more exercise now than when she had a yard, because I’m forced to walk her several times a day. When we let her out in the yard, she just sat there. Literally sat there in one spot waiting for us to come back outside.

    Your post is just ignorant.

    H Reply:

    Exactly. It’s the same with my dogs at home. Except for my small one which has territorial instincts and is always eager to check who’s intruding in his yard, they just sit around outside waiting to come back in and be with us.

  37. Chris

    Darren, you make some excellent points. Especially about the lack of responsible dog ownership in Vancouver. Did you know that only about 20% of dogs were licensed in Vancouver last year? This means that 80% of dog owners let other people pay for their license.

    A few years ago Synovate ran a survey about dog ownership in Vancouver, paid for by the Park Board. They found that even though only 15% of Vancouverites own dogs, 60% of citizens have experienced or witnessed problems with off-leash dogs.

    So your statement “However, we all know that many dog owners are not responsible, and that irresponsibility is exacerbated in an urban setting” is backed up by statistics and solid research.

    And I agree with you… facts over experience every time.

    If only more dog owners would put quite as much passion into being responsible (licensing, and leashing their dog in on-leash areas) as they do into defending their right to do whatever they want. It’s even hard to talk about the responsibilities of dog ownership with many dog owners without them flying off the handle. Some dog owners are wonderfully responsible, of course, but unfortunately the majority in Vancouver have some work to do to start considering their impact on other people and on the environment (i.e. the poop that is not picked up and runs into our water systems – ocean, streams, etc).

  38. Nicole

    I agree there are a LOT of dogs that shouldn’t be kept in apartments, but I don’t think you can generalize by size. Lots of teeny tiny dogs are SUPER high energy and are bouncing off the walls all day long, while certain large dogs are giant couch potatoes who only need one good long walk (and pee breaks) and are happy as clams lying around looking out the window all day. ALSO, don’t forget about all the poor creatures who are left in backyards tied up all day and all night without any socialization. I had an old broken down Rottweiler for many years who literally was too lazy to even get up when I’d go home at lunch to walk him! That guy was like, “Nice to see ya, but can’t you see I’m napping”….He got really well socialized thru all of our walks around the ‘hood and meeting so many other dogs and people. I hate how some people with yards think they can just stick their dog back there alone and think that’s ok. Ok, end rant.

  39. ash

    As someone that live in a one bedroom apartment with a 10.5 month old, 65 pound puppy, I have to say you are wrong. The issue is not the size of the apartment or house, it is the owner and what they do. Can two huge rottweilers live in an apartment happily? Yes, and I know some that do. Can a small chihuahua live in a huge house in the suburbs miserably? Yes, I have seen that be the case too. For me and many other apartment dwelling dog owners, there are options other than having a back yard and huge house for the dog. In fact, what a dog needs more than an area they can be let out to run in, is affection, interaction with their owner and other dogs, and lots of exercise. My big puppy goes to the dog park for 2-3 hours a day in order to get exercise and socialization with lots of other dogs. She also gets about 6 small walks to go potty a day and one longer 30 minute to an hour one. She usually has someone home with her, has lots of toys, and has a cat that she plays chase with inside on rainy days. How then, is my dog unhappy, not socialized, and not exercised? She gets more socialization, exercise, attention, and love than most dogs I have met that live in huge houses with huge backyards. So again, though there may be some city-dwelling, apartment-living dog owners who have dogs that are miserable and not taken care of, there are definite ways around it. A backyard to stick you dog in does not make the dogs life better. Interaction with you, other people, and dogs is what matters and even apartment dwellers can do this!

  40. Roo

    Wow, just wow. I think my retired racing greyhound (sleeps 18+ hours a day) would rather be a couch potato lounging around my apartment all day, spend all evening and night with me, go to dog parks with me, go for long walks with me every morning and night, and spend all weekend with me hanging out rather than be euthanized, as thousands of other less fortunate hounds are each year.

  41. H

    And how many dog owners do you think work full time jobs? Leaving a dog alone outside in a backyard is really no different from leaving a dog alone inside your apartment. Once the yard is no longer new, it’s just a larger confined area that the dog will be bored in.

    The apartment has nothing to do with the matter, it’s whether the owner is responsible and provides for that dog’s particular needs, whether that is daily walks, a companion, or an interesting toy to keep him occupied. Dogs are all different, and some are more independent than others, and some have low energy, medium energy, or high energy needs.

    What do you mean “it happens more in apartments”? Do you have any research on that? Dogs are left to their own devices by every dozens of families who work/go to school full time, or at best with another dog. Inside or outside, it doesn’t matter.

    And many mixed breed medium to large dogs are low energy. The size of the dog also has nothing to do with it. You should generally not keep a Jack Russel in an apartment, whereas a Great Dane does just fine.

    For crying out loud, do some research.

  42. Molson

    This is by far, one of the worst generalizations I’ve ever seen.

    Shame on you for coming up with such a ridiculous topic.

    I have to agree with the last poster – do some research!

    Wow!

  43. Sarah

    There is no doubt about it, obviously, it’s better for a dog to have a yard outside to run in than cooped up in an aprtment. But yes, if an owner doesn’t interact with the dog then it doesn’t matter whether he has a yard or not. Ideally a dog needs food, water, love of an owner, and a place to run around and do his business. I think people should stop being defensive and start thinking of the dog and the quality of life it should have not reasons why THEY want to have a dog.

  44. Casey

    I lived with a dog in the apartment I rented with a roomate. The dog was not my idea. I didn’t even want one but in the end I felt really bad for it. Apartment life is shitty for a dog. Yeah she walked it around the complexes, he ran around the apartment, he pooped outside, she loved him, but all I could think of is this is unfair to this dog. I am not a dog lover or an expert but it’s not fair that she put her needs above his. I mean would you put a horse in a confined space? Dog owners do the world a favor and get your dog neutered than we won’t have so many in the pound, dammit.

  45. Diane

    Apartment dwellers make bad dog owners? That’s the most ignorant statement I’ve ever heard! That’s like saying couples living in apartments shouldn’t have children. Um…babies cry…sometimes your neighbors will hear it if you live in an apartment. Does that mean city dwellers should give up on having children? Kids like to run around and play, too. Does that mean they are miserable living in apartments? Of course not. Dog ownership actually bears many similarities to having children (I would know because I have both).

    You can live in a big house with a big backyard but neglect your children. On the flip side, you can live in an apartment and your kids could be the most cultured, well-traveled children in the area! Same goes for pets. I know people who have big back yards and keep their dogs in dog runs all day…the dogs are bored, neglected, and even aggressive from lack of socialization. Even when the dogs are let out of their runs to explore the entire backyard, they eventually try to escape to take a romp around the neighborhood. Not to mention, many yard dogs are never allowed inside because they become flea and tick-ridden (whereas apartment dogs usually must maintain a certain degree of cleanliness in order to be living so close to people). When it comes down to it, dogs enjoy being with their humans, so as long as they are in our space (be it an apartment or a house), they will be content. And as long as they are sufficiently socialized and exercised, they will be happy.

    I lived in Paris for 3 years, and France is perhaps one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world. Yet, most people live in apartments. Would you ever call those pampered Parisian pooches mistreated?? Oh my goodness, no! They’re probably more cultured than the average American adult. They may spend time in tiny flats, but the rest of the time, they are resting at their owners’ feet at the cafe down the street, chasing balls around one of the many beautiful parks in the city, or shopping for designer leashes at Louis Vuitton. Don’t you just feel so bad for those poor puppies? Hah!

    If you can raise children in apartments, why can’t you raise dogs? People come from all walks of life, and it’s not just those who live in suburbia with white picket fences that make suitable parents (of both canines and/or children).

    It’s not so much WHERE you live but HOW you live.

  46. K

    While I agree that apartment dwellers as a whole are unfit to own dogs – especially when potty breaks are tree grates and socialization is a nose touch with a passing dog – and I do feel occasional pangs of guilt for owning one while living in a small unit, I do offer some reconciliation, both for myself and others:

    1. Dogs do require space – but keeping the dog in an apartment building is essentially the same as tossing it out into a yard, especially when those idealized “suburb dogs” are subjected to infrequent walks if any at all, whereas the city dog is walked several times a day. (I take mine to a local park – 20+ minutes round trip – about 10 times a week. Once there, he’s off leash and playing with other dogs. That’s not something most “yard dogs” get every day – and something that I feel all dogs deserve.)

    2. Social interraction – in the typical suburb house, the family members are out of the house – at work or school – for most of the day, leaving the dog alone. As someone else argued above: are the dogs expected to socialize with the lawn? Maybe the squirrels? Because apartments often house younger people who have unconventional schedules – whether classes or jobs like waitressing or retail – the city dog is much more likely to have human interraction throughout the day. I live with two roommates, both of which are students who work different schedules, meaning that someone’s home at almost any given time throughout the day. Additionally, both of them have a dog, meaning there’s always a playmate.

    Additionally, living downtown means that my commute to and from work is, in my situation, a literal 5 minutes. This means I can see my dog longer in the morning – and have time for those long walks – and sooner after work. That’s not something those folks in the suburbs can say – though I’m sure they think about it as they sit in rush hour.

    Additionally, we own a place in the mountains. We take the dog with us several times a month, and he spends a good part of the weekend running around through pine trees. Again, I don’t think the suburb dog does that.

    It does break my heart that people coop their dogs up in apartments – and then walk them just outside the apartment building to pee, then straight back inside. I do, however, try very hard to reconcile the situation for my dog, and feel strongly that he benefits from several things that his suburb counterparts never have.

  47. bob

    This article is ridiculous for several reasons. 1.) Because if it somehow convinces someone who has to give up his or her house and move into an apartment to give up his or her dog due to not wanting to “coop it up,” they’ll take it to a shelter where it will ultimately be euthanized because of your irresponsible BS. I hope you realize that – you’ve got dead dogs on your conscience.

    2) This is a biologically uninformed article. Dogs do require exercise, but they do NOT require space. In fact, dogs are den animals, which is why they naturally respond so well to crate training. By crate training a dog, you incite its den-instinct. A dog doesn’t care if you have miles of property or a small one-bedroom apartment, as long as the owner gives the dog enough exercise to satisfy its needs.

    Indeed, taking a dog a few steps outside of the apartment for it to pee and poo for a few seconds and then heading back is poor dog ownership, but this has exactly what to do with owning an apartment? Nothing.

  48. Eva

    As an aspiring dog behaviourist I totally disagree with this article. I have met a lot of lousy dog owners living in houses who never let their dogs explore anything but their garden. As a result dogs become aggressive towards strangers and overprotective. Apartment dwellers however are forced to take dogs out and explore so in fact, these dogs are usualyl socialised much better.

    Another thing is the ridiculous statement about small dogs being low ebergy dogs. Now, small dogs such as terriers are in fact high energy dogs and they require A LOT of exercise. I have met a lot of overly aggressive Jack Russels and the reason for their behaviour was lack of exercise. Dogue de Bordeaux (65 kg on average) usually requires less exercise than Jack Russel!

    Dogs need a pack walk every day, they do not need space. In fact, I think responsible dog owners living in apartments are in fact fulfilling the dogsæ need to migrate better because they are forced to walk their dogs. What is lousy is letting the dogs out into the back yard all their life.

  49. Punky

    I live in apartment complex where the biggest apartment is a 2 bedroom where people own large dogs.many of the people open their doors allowing the dogs to just run around in the court yard of the complex .So when you try and walk through the court yard to get your apartment the dog runs at you trying to jump on you when your carrying something or you just want to be left alone you feel like being attack trying to just make your way to your apartment.Even just getting your mail becomes a pain as the mail boxes are in the middle of the court yard.People don’t clean up after their dogs and you find your self stepping in the mess left on the ground.One of the dogs unconditionally barks all the time.I agree dogs need a fenced in area to able to run around in.To me if you wanna own a large dog you should be required to have space for the dog not using the apartment complex as space for your to run around in that others have to use to walk in to get their apartments.

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