I am a HUGE dog lover and even adopted a dog a couple years ago in my first apartment. Raising a puppy in an apartment isn’t easy (see this post and this one and this one for more information on preparing), but once you commit to having a dog, it’s fun to think of creative ways to keep them entertained. Dogs who are bored tend to chew up things and wreak havoc, so if you don’t want to spend $$$ on cleaning fees when you move out of your first apartment, try these tips to keep your dog busy.
Growing up, we never bought dog toys for our dogs. I always thought they were for diva dogs. But in an apartment, toys are critical to keeping your puppy entertained and busy. If you have a chewer, look for durable bones as well (and word to the wise, if you have a chewer, splurge on the more durable toys as well. I made the mistake of buying cheap ropes and thin plastic toys a few times…but after our dog destroyed them in less than 5 minutes, we realized the splurge is worth it.).
Walks & Runs
Having a dog is a great way to motivate yourself to get active and spend more time outside. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block or a few mile run, your dog will enjoy the exercise and time outside (and will likely sleep like a rock when you get home!).
If you’re lucky enough to have a fenced-in dog park in your apartment complex, use it! (You’re paying for it, after all). Dog parks are a fun way to socialize your dog while letting them get some exercise as well. Note: if you’re not sure how well your dog plays with other dogs, try bringing it to the park alone for the first few times so they can get used to the surroundings. Then, stay close by your dog when other dogs are in the park.
If you have any bit of yard, you can set up a dog run, or a long leash attached to the ground, to let your dog spend time outside. Only do this if you have enough private space to allow your dog to roam a bit without coming close to your neighbors, a sidewalk, or trail. Keep in mind that even if you don’t stay outside with the dog, you’re responsible for all of its actions.
If you have a porch or balcony, let your puppy sit outside and get a change of scenery. Being outside allows dogs to experience new sights and new smells, which obviously keep them engaged. Although this doesn’t provide much exercise, it gives them a chance to spend time doing something new.
Roam the Apartment (only for potty-trained dogs!!)
During the day while you’re at work or school, let your dog roam around instead of crating them or closing them into one room. This one comes with a mega warning: make sure your dog is 1. Potty Trained perfectly and 2. Not interested in chewing. If your dog is older, or very well behaved, try this out a couple hours at a time. If you still have a puppy, or if your dog just doesn’t understand that they’re supposed to do their business outside instead of in, stick with a crate.
Of course, if you have the money, you can consider taking your puppy to a dog day care in your area or hiring a dog sitter to spend time with your puppy throughout the day. However, if you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have to worry much at all about keeping your pet entertained throughout the day.