I’ve had a dog at home for the last 20yrs or so, and while earlier in Chennai the house was an independent bungalow, I now live in an apartment, in a different city & the only common factor is a dog. We have an Indie rescue dog, who turns 2 in Feb’24 and is a sweetheart. Brought him home when he was just 45days old [he’d lost his mom & had 2 siblings who went to different homes]

Ever since we brought Chewy home, it has been an interesting fun joyful adventurous experience for us. Luckily, our apartment complex has quite a few dogs, and cats [haven’t seen other animals or birds], apart from a whole gang of streeties who are looked after by the residents/tenants. That said, I have over the years come across people who are petrified of dogs, and some even stop breathing [literally] when they see a dog. It could be cos of a traumatic event in their past and I respect people for what they are.

I do NOT force anyone to socialise with our dog, nor will I ever say, “oh he is a sweetheart, you should pet him and see, he will change your heart”. While these might be true, I am mindful and respectful of others and their emotions at all times [not just around dogs]

I started a thread on Twitter around people and things that happen during our walk – @Talesfromaaroo

So, what are some of the things people should keep in mind when taking their dog out for a walk [while living in an apartment].

Here’s my list:

Living in an apartment complex with a dog can be a great way to enjoy the best of both worlds: the convenience of apartment living with the companionship of a furry friend. However, it’s important to be mindful of your neighbours and other residents when taking your dog for a walk. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Be courteous of other residents. This includes picking up after your dog and keeping them on a leash at all times. It’s also important to be mindful of the noise level, especially when walking early in the morning or late at night.

2. Be aware of your dog’s behaviour. If your dog is reactive or aggressive towards other dogs or people, it’s important to take extra precautions. This may include walking them during off-peak hours or avoiding certain areas of the complex.

3. Be prepared for distractions. Apartment complexes can be full of distractions for dogs, such as children playing, other dogs, and squirrels. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to keep your dog’s attention focused on you.

4. Timing. Early mornings are the best time to take your dog for a walk. People are just about waking up, and the only ones you are likely to encounter are those headed to the clubhouse- for gym, or yoga classes and others walking. If you cannot do mornings, then go in the evening. Our apartment thankfully has a upper deck open area which is ideal for walking our dog. One side has a meditation space, other side has a skating rink and then some extra open space. All of these are pretty much empty in the morning and evening, and its perfect cos we run, walk, trot, and explore to our heart’s content without any distractions.

5. Dog’s personality. If your dog like ours gets anxious around people in active wear, or vehicles, then it is best to be prepared for any interruptions. If you spot a person or vehicle at a distance, before your dog has, then its best to alter the route or distract them so they don’t get worked up. It also helps to body block the dog’s view and keep their focus on you for the duration.

6. Lift/Elevator. When waiting for the elevator or getting into it, always wait on the side for people to move and check with them before getting in. If you are in the elevator, and it stops midway on another floor, make sure to keep your dog on the leash, next to you so they don’t lunge at others. Tell people to get in if they are comfortable and in case your dog growls, snarls, tell them to wait and take the next elevator [ do the same if there are people in the elevator who are uncomfortable around dogs]

7. Food/water – Make sure that you take your dog for a walk few hours after his meal, or early in the morning, before breakfast. Otherwise, they won’t enjoy the walk and will want to come back home for food. Do stick to a routine as they get used to it and will demand you take them out at those times [ don’t ask me how, but am convinced Dogs like us humans have a clock inside their system] 🙂

Few additional tips:

  1. Choose the right walking gear. A well-fitting harness and leash will help you maintain control of your dog, especially in crowded areas.
  2. Plan your route. If you know that your dog is reactive or easily distracted, try to choose a route that avoids areas where they are likely to encounter triggers.
  3. Take breaks. If your dog is getting tired or restless, take a break to let them rest or play. This will help them stay calm and focused.
  4. Always carry a poop bag to pick up after your dog.
  5. Keep a first-aid kit at home [cotton & Dettol], in case of accidents.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your dog’s walks in the apartment complex are safe and enjoyable for everyone. Are there any other pointers you wish to share?

If you have just brought home your very first dog and need some guidance on what to do, how to talk, feed, play etc, do follow @ohmydog.rocks) and join their Telegram channel as well. Feel free to drop any questions or queries you might have and will answer them to the best of my knowledge.

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