How hard is for a dog to make the change of living in a house, with a nice-sized yard, to moving into a small, compact apartment complex?
Ideally, your pet will have the training he needs to make the change with very few hurdles. However, even a dog who has had basic training must make some adjustments. For one thing, it takes time for a dog to learn the difference between sounds of passers-by and sounds of approaching visitors. A dog that has been encouraged to bark at intruders may drain an owner’s patience during the first few weeks in an apartment.
There is also the problem of exposing a dog to a “different” group of people. “The first time my dog, Bellie, saw a baby crawling on the lawn, her hair stood up!” laughs teenager Carrie David.
Accepting differences is not impossible, of course. Carrie’s dog, Bellie, quickly became friends with the younger members of the community: “Bellie has become very motherly toward babies,” this pet owner comments with laughing amusement.
Animal psychologists also like to remind us that elimination can be a serious problem, particularly in older dogs, in which the habitual strain of waiting to go out can cause kidney disorders.
Many homeowners who once led a pet out the door, on signal, may not want to walk the dog before getting dressed and fixing themselves up now that they live in an apartment complex with the constant traffic of people coming and going. But constantly putting off your pet when he asks to go potty can result in nephritis.
The experts suggest that your pet must be walked often enough so he is never uncomfortable when he is indoors.
It may be easier to let your dog take care of his needs alone, but walking your pet has its advantages too. In a high density apartment complex, any infection can become a canine epidemic. When you walk with your dog you can observe his habits for early signs of illness. You will also have some control over avoiding infection from unhealthy animals or conditions.
Of course, in any situation, your dog’s best guarantee against infection is his good health. Pride in the care you give your dog is not vanity. A glossy, clean coat is natural armor against mites, and trimmed nails don’t become open wounds, while a fresh flea collar may be the difference between ten dollars and a case of heartworms.