Living in upstairs apartments can be tricky, especially if you’re worried about upsetting the neighbors downstairs. Can it even be done with a dog?
Whether you’re moving house or adopting a new dog, we’ll guide you through how to keep dogs happy and healthy in an upstairs apartment—all without aggravating the neighbors!
Table of Contents:
Can my dog live happily in an apartment?
Not all dog breeds are suited to apartments. If you have a large dog that requires a ton of exercise, it probably won’t be fair to keep them in such a small space with no outdoor area for them to roam in.
On the other hand, breeds that require less exercise will be fine so long as they get a daily walk.
You should be knowledgeable about what your dog needs when it comes to exercise requirements. If you can provide them that while living in an apartment, great!
The next step is to be realistic about your dog’s behavior. This will come easily if you already have a dog.
Things To Consider If You Don’t Have a Dog Yet
If you’re thinking of adopting, the best way to know what your future pup will be like is to adopt a grown dog. The person or place you’re adopting from will be able to tell you their characteristics and whether they are suited to apartment life.
If you’re set on adopting a puppy, you can look at the breed’s characteristics (greyhounds tend to make good apartment dogs, for example) —but no one can truly tell you for sure what an individual dog will act like, or what behavioral problems they will have.
You should also remember that the younger the dog is, the more exercise they will need.
If your dog is very energetic and runs around all day, you may want to reconsider that upstairs apartment. Or if the breed is known for excessive barking or howling, you might want to look into a quieter breed.
Training can help with behavioral issues, but it isn’t going to change your dog’s entire personality. Some dogs are simply noisier than others.
All this said, you and your dog can live happily in an apartment so long as all their needs are met. Unfortunately, sometimes this isn’t possible in a small living space.
How can I exercise my dog if I don’t have a yard?
Keeping your dog fit without a yard is more difficult, as they can’t go out and run around whenever they want to. However, there are several ways you can exercise your dog without a yard.
- Daily walks or jogs through a park or around the neighborhood
- Playtime with toys inside the apartment
- Visiting a dog park
These are all free options (or close to it, since your dog probably already has toys!).
Of course, there’s more out there if you’re willing to pay for it. Our city even has a pool that dogs can visit in the summertime!
The amount of exercise a dog needs varies by their breed, but most dogs need at least one walk a day in addition to some form of playtime.
How to keep dogs quiet in an upstairs apartment
The extra challenge when it comes to upstairs apartments is keeping quiet enough that you won’t bother the neighbors downstairs.
This can be difficult, especially if you have a larger dog running around. Let’s look into some common issues and possible solutions.
Can my neighbors hear the dog walking or running around?
In general, your dog isn’t creating a ton of noise just by walking around the apartment.
It’s unreasonable for neighbors to expect not to hear these sounds, the same as it would be if they asked you or your children not to walk around in your own space.
However, if your dog likes to stomp around like mine does, that could pose some issues!
Running could also be loud, but you shouldn’t expect your dog not to run inside—after all, they likely don’t have an outdoor space to retreat to.
Try to wear them out during walks or other activities during the day, though, so that they aren’t up at night being noisy.
Also, keep in mind that smaller dogs, like pugs, are going to make less noise than bigger ones. A Chihuahua and a Labrador don’t make the same amount of noise when racing down the hall!
Should I let my dog play in the apartment or jump from surfaces?
You have to allow your dog to be a dog. They can’t sit in your apartment, unmoving, for hours at a time.
However, you also have to take the neighbors and their feelings into consideration.
This, again, varies greatly depending on the size of your dog. If you have a large dog, try to get them plenty of outdoor exercise so that they aren’t as likely to make a ton of noise indoors.
Also try to keep playtime to reasonable hours.
If your dog is jumping off furniture, this is alright so long as it’s not a constant up and down.
What if my dog barks too much?
Some dogs bark more than others, and there’s little you can do to stop them. It’s like trying to teach an overly chatty person to stay silent. Their personality won’t change, and it’s unfair to ask of them.
However, excessive barking can also be due to poor training, separation anxiety, neglect, boredom, or insecurity.
Here are some ways to address problem barking behavior:
- Ensure your dog’s needs are met, including socialization and exercise
- Help them to feel safe and secure
- Train them to be “quiet” on command
- Address their separation anxiety
Never yell at a barking dog. It only makes things louder for the neighbors—and your dog will think you’re barking along with them!
They won’t understand that you want them to stop unless you calmly and patiently train them to do so.
What do I do if my neighbor complains about the noise?
If your dog makes a lot of noise, your neighbor may complain to you, your property manager, or the police. You shouldn’t get defensive in this case—it’s best to try and work it out politely.
Try to find a compromise and limit noise when you can. Talk it out with whoever is coming to you with the information. Don’t confront the neighbor in question if they haven’t come to you directly, as this is more likely to cause conflict than provide solutions.
If your neighbor is complaining for little to no reason, you can ask other neighbors to verify that the noise coming from your apartment isn’t a nuisance.
My dog is loud when I leave my apartment!
If your dog barks when you leave your apartment, they are likely bored, nervous, or have separation anxiety.
Not all dogs who bark when their families are away have separation anxiety, but it is a sign that your dog might have it.
Dogs with separation anxiety feel extremely nervous and upset when left alone. They might display symptoms such as barking, chewing, or repetitive behaviors. They might seem anxious or depressed before you leave, after you get home, or even continuously.
Dealing With Separation Anxiety
If your dog has separation anxiety, you must address it, because it means your dog is constantly in distress.
But even dogs who don’t have separation anxiety aren’t happy if they’re barking the entire time you’re away.
How can you address the problem?
- Train your dog that it’s okay to be alone sometimes
- Provide comfort for your dog through toys, beds, blankets, or their crate—but never lock them in a crate for extended periods
- Make sure your dog has plenty of space to move around and a full bowl of water before you leave
- Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise, especially right before you leave home
- Make sure you aren’t leaving your dog for too long
What kind of dogs are best for apartments?
When looking for a new dog to live in your apartment, it’s best to get a dog who is:
- Small in size
- Requires less exercise
- Is older
Of course, dogs don’t have to fit all of these factors. Some large dogs can live happily in apartments, as they don’t need a ton of exercise to stay healthy.
Or, you might be able to handle a dog with higher exercise needs because you plan to take your dog on adventures outside the apartment where they can run and play for hours.
And if your dog is small, their rambunctious puppy faze might not bother the neighbors so much.
Be sure to use common sense and to think about the dog’s best interests above all—not your own.
At the end of the day, it’s very possible to keep a dog in an upstairs apartment. You just have to plan for it well, in order to set you and your pup up for success.