Part of the difficulty of living in a small space such as an apartment with a dog is that you may not think your dog has enough room to run and play. However, with a few tips, you can play with your dog safely even in limited space.
Curbing Destructive Behavior
Dogs who don’t get enough exercise can become irritable, moody and unhealthy. When they lack exercise, they crave attention as well. One way in which dogs try to get attention and get out some of their frustrations is through destructive behavior. Destructive behavior is a pain for any pet owner, but it’s especially worrisome for apartment dwellers, who will likely have to pay for any damage done to permanent furnishings. You can curb destructive behavior by regularly engaging your dog in play, even in your small space.
Clearing A Space
There are a number of spots even in a small space that can serve as an ideal location for dog play. A hallway makes a perfect spot because it’s a longer spot for your dog to run back and forth through. If you’re in a studio apartment and don’t have a hallway, you can clear a spot in your living area by investing in some lightweight furnishings on wheels. When it’s time to play, you can move your coffee table, dresser or portable laptop desk, for example, out of the way.
Providing toys for your dog can help keep your pet entertained even when you can’t play. Many dogs can get out some of their energy and entertain themselves with toys even on their own. Being able to bite and scratch a toy can channel your dog’s destructive tendencies to the toy instead of your furnishings.
Using Toys to Play
You can also use toys to play with your dog even in your small space. Throwing balls is a a bad idea, as the bouncy nature of the toys is bound to bump into something or encourage your dog to jump up and break things. Depending on the size of your dog, playing fetch may also not be a good idea, although you can safely play fetch down a hallway if your dog is rather small. (Just remember that you shouldn’t play if your dog makes enough noise to disturb your neighbors.)
Games that work even with larger breeds in small spaces include tug-o-war and basic training. With tug-o-war, you can keep your dog in one place as you both pull on the toy or rope (just be careful when one of you lets go that the other doesn’t go flying into the wall). As far as training goes, you can teach your dog to sit, lie down, dance, shake and speak on command for a treat or toy reward. Your dog will love the extra attention.
If you’re not all that comfortable using your small space for your dog play time, try taking your dog outside to play in the apartment courtyard or a nearby park. Playing with your dog can deepen the bond the two of you share, make your dog better-behaved and keep your dog healthy.