When you plan to move to an apartment with your Labrador or when you want to bring home a Labrador while you live in an apartment or when people say that Labradors are not comfortable to live in apartments, many questions come to your mind, like.
Are Labs good apartment dogs? Can a Labrador in an apartment live comfortably or does it feel like a confined prison? and many more questions.
This article below answers all your questions and gives you complete information whether it is a good idea to raise Labs in apartments or not.
Are Labs good apartment dogs?
Let us talk whether a Lab is a good apartment dog or a bad one later. Firstly with respect to living in apartments, the fact is that a Labrador can live quite comfortably in an apartment.
I can say this for sure because i lived with my Labs both in apartments and individual houses. Out of both my experiences, it became quite clear to me that, Labradors can stay in apartments comfortably. They are good medium-sized apartment-dogs.
But this is not a general rule, there are many exceptions to this. Let us look at all these issues related to Labs in apartments.
How much space do Labs need?
A Labrador is fairly a big dog, maybe not as big as a Great Dane but it is bigger in size. Looking at the size of the Labrador, people often assume that bigger bodies need bigger rooms. But actually, it is not the case.
Whether your living place is a small apartment or a big bungalow, all your Labrador need is a small place to sit and sleep beside you. That’s true. Our Labrador Bruno always prefers to stay beside us. Whether it may be a big hall or a small storeroom, wherever we sit it tries to place its position beside us.
Even while working near the computer table, Bruno manages to fit itself below the small computer table.
Your apartment or house or a bungalow, whatever it may be, it is just a place to live and your Labrador just requires just a small place beside you, and that’s sufficient for him.
But what about their physical activity?
You need to remember that it is not necessary to conduct physical activities of your Lab in your house. Many people think that bigger dogs need more space in the house to roam, walk and play. But it is not necessary because a house is a place to live and physical activities are better to be conducted outside.
You can take your Lab to a nearer park or a lake or for a long walk to obtain its required physical activity. If your Lab gets all its exercise needs, it can stay calmly in an apartment. In a day, the exercise and play all it gets is more important to consider rather than the living room space.
Things to consider before having a Labrador in apartment
Even though it is not troublesome to live with a Labrador retriever in an apartment, there are certain issues that you need to take care of during its apartment living.
Issues with your Labrador exercise
All dogs do not require the same amount of daily physical activity, some require more and some dogs require a lesser amount. When we talk about Labradors, a Labrador is a high energy breed that requires a lot of physical activity for its physical and mental well-being.
Hence it is important to meet the exercise requirements of your Labrador, or else it can exhibit destructive behaviour inside the apartment.
He may exhibit habits like running, jumping or he might also try to escape from the closed apartment to vent out its accumulated energy. Sometimes you might also notice your Lab getting zoomies.
What to do?
Hence it is essential to meet your Lab’s exercise requirements so that it can stay calm and well behaved inside the apartment.
Find a local park or an open area near your apartment, to take your Lab for jogging or ensure some proper playing time in the open area.
A healthy dose of regular exercise helps to keep your Lab’s muscles strong, heart healthier, brain sharper and its lungs active. It also keeps your Lab’s weight under control and ensures the overall well-being of your dog.
And finally, it ensures that your Lab stays calm with content behaviour while staying inside an apartment.
Every Lab needs regular exercise, but the amount it requires varies with age. A small Labrador puppy does not require heavy exercise as much as an adult Lab. To get an idea about Labrador exercise, have a look at our article, how much exercise does a Labrador need?
Issues with potty training your Lab
This is one of the important issues one has to consider when you think of raising a Labrador puppy in an apartment. As a dog owner, one of the first training sessions you need to teach your Lab is potty training. You need to begin this, as soon as your puppy reaches your home.
Potty training your Lab might get a little difficult in an apartment, as your little puppy needs frequent potty breaks. It cannot hold itself for more time, and you need to take the stairs or an elevator frequently if you live in an apartment. This is especially true when your Lab is in its small age.
If your apartment is on higher floors, potty training can get a little more difficult for you.
What to do?
A Lab puppy needs frequent potty breaks when it is very young. But when your Lab puppy starts growing, the interval time between each potty break increases. Hence you can use indoor potty pads for your puppy when it is very small.
As the number of times your dog needs to empty decreases, it can be habituated to go outside, as also the holding capacity of your dog increases.
But in the formative stages, it is important to be patient with your puppy, especially during potty training.
Issues with your Lab’s chewing habits
When you think of raising a Lab puppy in an apartment, you have to deal with its chewing habit effectively. Yes, Labs chew a lot, especially when are young and during the puppy stage.
This destructive chewing is one of the things every Labrador owner has to deal with while growing a Lab. When you have your Lab in an apartment, it chews everything from furniture to shoe racks.
This chewing habit can be so problematic, as it can bite your neighbour’s hands and feet as a routine chewing habit while interacting with them.
What to do?
This form of destructive behaviour in Labradors, especially puppies is mainly due to a few things.
Firstly it is due to boredom and chewing and destroying things is a way to keep itself entertained.
Secondly due to its teething, and this teething problem may last till 7 months of age.
Thirdly due to pent up of energy due to lack of proper physical activity and exercise.
It is important not to allow your puppy to chew everything because sometimes there is even a risk of swallowing objects that they chew. Hence you need to redirect the chewing habit towards its special chew toys, rather than allowing to chew everything it likes.
Some toys can be destroyed easily by your Lab’s strong and sharp teeth. You can provide your Lab with a tough toy like Kong that provides enough stimulation for your Lab’s teeth.
Issues with training your Labrador
Training your Labrador is one of the most important things every Labrador owner should perform. Labs are very intelligent dogs and are easy to train. Training your Lab provides proper mental stimulation to him, without which it can get easily bored.
A bored Labrador will always try to exhibit destructive behaviours. A Labrador living in an apartment should be trained properly as it has to interact with more people in its surroundings. It needs more social skills as it needs to deal with other people and other dogs in the apartment area.
If you are living in a very small apartment, it might be a little difficult to train your Lab effectively. But a moderate size apartment would not cause much problem to train your Lab.
What to do?
Even though you live in an apartment, you can finish your simple training commands such as sit, stay, down, recall for your Lab in the apartment itself.
Take your Lab to a nearby open area or a nearby park to begin a training session for your dog. Make sure that the place is quiet, without any disturbances and distractions for your dog.
Issues with your Labrador shedding
Shedding is another problem which you generally face with a Labrador. If any person in your family or yourself have allergies, Labrador shedding might be a problem for your family. Hence to counter this shedding problem, your Labrador needs regular grooming.
It would be better if you have an open yard or some space around your home to perform this grooming activity. In an apartment where things are tightly packed, grooming might be a bit difficult as the hair that has fallen down during grooming might fly everywhere inside the house and land up everywhere.
What to do?
Check if there is an open cellar for your apartment where you can complete your Lab’s grooming activity. Search for an open place beside your apartment, so that you can brush your Labrador there.
If you have no options but to perform grooming inside your apartment home, invest in a good vacuum cleaner and clean the house immediately after grooming your Lab.
Noise related issues in an apartment
Apartments mostly have closely spaced walls and walls that are attached to each other. Hence when your Lab barks it might cause disturbance for people surrounding you, especially to your neighbours.
Generally, Labradors are not barky kind of breeds. Even though Labs are quiet apartment dogs, sometimes they can bark and sometimes they can do it a lot.
When your Lab gets bored or when you leave it alone for longer durations, it can start barking continuously. You find these barking habits and noise issues more during your Lab’s puppy stages. As your Labs get trained properly and knows when to bark and not to bark, these issues may not seem prominent.
What to do?
It is important to avoid situations that cause your Lab to bark. Proper mental and physical stimulation ensures that it rests well and doesn’t bark unnecessarily.
Paying proper attention to your dog and not leaving him alone for longer durations ensures that it won’t bark.
If you have long working hours, it is important to train your Lab to stay alone for longer durations by desensitizing it through proper training.
Talk to your neighbours and explain your dog’s condition to them in a friendly manner, so that they are not angered whenever your dog barks.
Other issues like climbing stairs
Labrador and climbing stairs is not a good combination. Genetically Labradors are easily prone to conditions like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Hence using stairs frequently several times a day can increase the chances of joint problems for your Lab.
These joint issues can be very painful for your Labrador, hence one needs to be careful. Issues like excess weight and activities like climbing stairs more often can increase these health risks.
What to do?
If you have the house on the ground floor of your apartment, it would be a safe choice for your Labrador. But if your house is on a higher floor, make sure that the apartment has an elevator.
If your house lies on the higher floor of the apartment and if it does not have an elevator, a Labrador retriever is not a good option for you.
Why are Labs good apartment dogs?
When we think about the question, are Labradors apartment friendly? Yes, they are great apartment dogs. Issues like Labrador shedding, it’s potty training and its chewing habits shouldn’t stop you from raising a Labrador in an apartment. Various qualities of a Labrador make it a wonderful pet even for an apartment living.
1. A Labrador’s temperament is one of the best quality that makes it suitable for apartment living. They are very friendly in nature and do not express anger or frustration so easily. Because of their wonderful social temperament, they go well with people who visit your house and also your neighbours.
2. Training a Labrador is very easy because of the breed’s intelligent nature. Training your Lab for potty training and training it to behave well with other members of the apartment becomes an easy task for you. With Labs, daily interactions with the apartment members don’t cause any problem.
3. People are worried about dogs in apartments because of the worry they have about their children’s safety. Children are naughty and there is a risk of dog bites when children interact with dogs generally. Coming to Labs, they are very gentle and go along very well with children. They can identify children clearly and behave properly with children. Labrador is one of the safest dogs with children.
6 Tips for raising a Labrador in apartment
Follow these 6 tips to make your apartment living with your Labrador peaceful without any worries
A dog that looks clean, healthy and vibrant is automatically loved by people around you. But if the dog looks untidy and unhealthy with any kind of skin issues, people in the apartments do not prefer to share common areas with the dog.
People get worried about their health and their children’s health if there is an unhealthy dog in their premises.
Hence make sure your Lab is clean and healthy. In an apartment, your Lab interacts with other people, pets and children in close quarters. So, if your Lab is perfectly vaccinated and de-wormed, it not only ensures the safety of your neighbour’s health but they also feel safe with your Lab.
2. Effective training
Train your Lab to avoid unnecessary barking and unwanted behaviour from the initial stages itself. As homes inside the apartment are closely fitted, noises like barking and other disturbances caused by your dog might irritate your neighbours easily.
It is necessary to train your Lab to stay comfortable with other people. Any kind of aggression with other people, their children and their pets can cause issues of living with your pet.
Hence socialization, from the beginning stages of life is very important for a Labrador. A Lab which is exposed to more number of people and more pets from its puppy stage itself is unlikely to exhibit any form of aggression towards other dogs and people.
This way of training develops a friendly attitude for your dog towards other persons. This kind of effective training is essential for a peaceful apartment living with your Lab.
3. Daily routine
Dogs love daily-routines and patterns and these daily routines keep your dog less anxious and make them not to worry about the thought of “what’s going to happen next?” This is very much essential for their mental and emotional well being.
Fix various schedules and habituate them to your Lab slowly. A perfect schedule for eating food, pooping, exercise and play. When you establish these perfect timings, your Lab gets adjusted to these timings and stays mentally organised.
For example, i take my Lab for play in the evenings, this has become a habit for him and it never forces me to play with him during the day, it waits for its time till evening.
Same during food, it has been habituated to wait till i finish my breakfast, and my Lab never irritates me for food, until i finish my breakfast. Hence remember to establish daily routines for your Lab.
4. Adapt your Lab to the new environment
An apartment is not the same as an independent house. If you move to an apartment, it is necessary to make your Lab get acclimatized to the new environment in the apartment.
Make your Lab adjust to new things like elevators, running vehicles, bicycles, naughty kids, and other new people around you. Sounds from surrounding areas such as construction activities and other traffic sounds might also cause anxiety in your Lab.
All these new things can make your Lab a bit scary. Hence it is important to habituate your Lab to all these new things in and around the apartment.
5. Spend time with your Lab
Labradors are very social animals and get depressed easily when you won’t spend a considerable amount of time with them.
When you have a house with a backyard, your Lab has a chance to get rid of its boredom by playing in nature and enjoying itself. When left in a garden, my Lab plays by running through the garden and tries to sniff every plant and flower present over there. It is his way of playing and enjoying.
This is not the case in an apartment, apartments are closed and your dog does not have access to nature and outdoor areas.
Hence it is very essential to spend time with your Lab. It is necessary to take your dog outside for casual walks, exercises and even play. These kinds of activities can keep your Lab’s mind enthusiastic and it doesn’t get to feel lonely and depressed.
6. Make your Lab feel safe
This is important especially when you are leaving your Lab alone for long hours. It is not a good idea to leave your Lab alone, especially when it is active physically and mentally. When your Lab stays in a state of loneliness and gets bored, it might start barking and that can be a nuisance to your neighbours in the apartment.
Hence it is the best idea to exercise your Labrador well before you go out so that it rests completely when you are not available there.
Provide essential food and water to your dog while you go outside. Keep him mentally stimulated by providing him with some chew toys or give him your used t-shirt to play. He would feel a sense of security when he gets your body smell.
If possible, ask a friend to visit your dog, or hire a professional dog walker or you can keep your dog in a proper dog care unit if you are not in the house for a longer duration.
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