There are plenty of reasons to get a dog. For example, dogs provide companionship, and spending time with them helps relieve stress. However, when you already share your space with others, introducing an additional furry roommate can create tensions. Some breeds of dogs suit apartment living more than others. The following tips can help you navigate having a dog while you live with roommates.
1. Clean Up Any Messes
No matter how much you love your dog, no one wants to walk in to find out she created a massive mess in the living room. Clean up after your pet to avoid creating conflict with roommates who did not ask for the added responsibility of doing it themselves.
Messes can take many forms. For example, puppies often have accidents during house training — or because you left your pup alone for too long without an outside break. There is also the possibility that a bored dog decided to find some excitement by removing all the stuffing from your new couch. Even toys left on the floor can be a rude surprise for someone who wanders into the room barefoot during the night.
2. Invest in Proper Training
Much like student loans can be a great investment in training you for a career field, training is one of the best investments you can make in any dog, regardless of its age. While punishment-based training was the dominant format for many years, it has gradually been replaced by gentler (and more effective) reward-based methods.
If you decide to do training on your own, do a lot of research into how these new methods work and how best to incorporate them into your pet’s routine. However, if this is your first dog, you might want to consider professional training. They can work with your dog’s unique personality to find the most effective training strategy. Trainers are especially helpful in working with older dogs who have already developed bad habits or rescues who may have some behavioral issues.
3. Be Respectful of Your Roommates’ Things
It can be helpful to remember that your roommates also pay rent, and they deserve to be treated respectfully as equal household members. That goes for their stuff, too. If your dog takes or damages anything that does not belong to you, find the owner and make them aware of the situation. Try to find a reasonable solution to the damage, such as replacing the item, and then develop a strategy to keep it from happening again. This may include keeping your dog crated when she is not supervised and making sure that everyone puts their stuff away when it isn’t being used.
4. Check In With Your Roommates
Asking for feedback from your roommates and then incorporating suggestions into your care routine can go a long way toward keeping household peace. On one hand, checking in makes the others feel seen and validates their concerns. On the other, it also gives you a chance to see where you are excelling as a pet parent and where you could use a little more guidance.
5. Look for Roommates That Are Animal Lovers
One sure way to minimize problems between pets and roommates is to share your space with others who are also animal lovers. If you are sharing a home with friends, you probably already know how they feel about dogs. However, if you use a roommate matching service, it is imperative that you are upfront about your pet — or desire for one.
It is possible to have a dog and still stay on good terms with your roommates. Start by being respectful of them, their space and their stuff while also taking responsibility for your pet and her actions. Sticking with roommates who like dogs will also help.
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