Petiquette. Yeah, it’s a silly, made-up word. But it’s also the perfect word to describe pet etiquette, a hot topic with the growing number of pets living in apartment communities. The explosion of the dog walking industry, coupled with an ever-growing emphasis on pet-tailored amenities, has drastically altered the landscape of pet ownership in apartments, especially in densely populated urban areas. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, pet owners (especially dog owners) had a hard time even finding a pet-friendly apartment rental.
Establishing and maintaining good rapport with neighbors and property staff is key for pet owners in apartment living, so here are some petiquette guidelines to keep you from being “that guy” or “that gal.”
Know Where (and Where Not) to Take Care of Business
Many pet-friendly apartments have designated areas for dogs to relieve themselves. Train your dog to go to the bathroom only in these areas. If there aren’t designated areas, train your dog to use the restroom at least several feet from the building (especially points of entry and exit – nobody wants to step over that), and avoid any maintained garden areas. And unless you want to be the most hated person in the community, always pick up after your dog. It’s common courtesy. Many properties provide bags and disposal stations as a convenience, but the responsibility is ultimately yours. It’s best to keep a mini bag dispenser attached to the leash so you’re never caught without one.
Let Your Dog Walker Know What’s Up
If you work long hours and hire a dog walker to prevent accidents in your apartment and ensure your pooch gets enough exercise during the day, familiarize yourself with rules governing dog walkers in your apartment. There’s a good chance non-resident dogs are not allowed in the building.
Play is Fun, but Silence is Golden
Dogs love to play, and every good dog owner likes to play with his or her dog. When you live in an apartment, however, there is a time and a place for fetch, tug-of-war, and other fun forms of play. Be respectful of those living in adjacent units and directly under you, and keep play in your unit to daytime hours. Make use of your apartment’s dog run, if it has one. And train your dog to not get too excited in the lobby and other common areas.
Learn Elevator Manners
Some people are afraid of dogs and others just don’t like animals. Before entering an elevator with fellow residents, ask if they mind whether you and your dog share a ride with them. Keep your dog on a short leash for the duration of the ride to make space for others. If your dog is small, consider holding him or her when riding in the elevator.
Wash Those Paws
If you go for a walk in the rain or your dog is out in the slush, bring a towel to wipe down his or her paws before reentering common areas. If there’s a paw wash in your building, you can head straight there to clean paws and any dirt that may have splashed onto your pet’s coat. Tracking mud or salt slush into the building not only rubs other residents the wrong way, but causes a lot of extra work for the management staff who has to clean it up.
What About Cats?
Caring for cats in an apartment tends to be fairly easy. Really, as long as you change your cat’s litter on a regular basis, there’s unlikely to be a problem.
Living in an apartment with a pet and without a yard can be difficult at times, but it’s easier today than ever before because of the multitude of pet-friendly amenities. However, living in such close proximity to neighbors does call for an extra dose of respect to ensure everybody likes having your pet around.
What’s your pet peeve when it comes to pets in apartments? We want to hear about it below!
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