L.A. is an amazing city for dogs and their owners! However, due to high demand, some previous bad experiences, and breed restrictions, landlords are scrutinizing potential four legged residents more then ever in Los Angeles. The following are some tips on how to ensure your dog will be a good potential candidate to rent an apartment anywhere from Malibu to Hollywood. Plus, how to make sure they do not overstay their welcome once you move in…
1) Create structure your dog can rely upon with all the proper outlets
The majority of dog behavior problems such as barking, aggression, and destructive separation anxiety can be avoided by creating a more structured environment for your dog before the problems ever arise. Instead of a smart, high energy dog acting out of frustration because they do not know what to do all day long as life ebbs and flows around them. Giving dogs of this nature a structured routine via focus-based commands (Heel, Sit, Down, etc.) while we live along side them, it helps define a clear set of rules and boundaries to help them feel both a sense of purpose (dogs were originally made to work for us all day long!) and that we are aware of their need to “work” for us while we coexist in the same environment. In most cases, by providing this type of daily lifestyle that promotes single pointed focus and leadership, you will create the causes for a content dog who is problem behavior free since most external problems such as excessive barking, destructive behavior, and aggression / anxiety are mere symptoms of a dog who is not having the above mentioned needs fulfilled.
Exercise is also important for healthy dogs. A good combination of daily walks plus more aerobic activities like hiking, swimming, or dog park visits, help exhaust a dogs physical energy to compliment the mental energy outlets of a daily training regiment.
2) Honor thy neighbor / Socialize your dog
Let’s face it. Living in an apartment especially with a dog in Los Angeles requires one to be on their best behavior. (Both humans and canines) Being aware of how your dog may be affecting other residents is so important in maintaining good neighbor relations. I have found that simply being aware of your dog’s let’s say, barking problem and being forthcoming by saying something like, “We know Sparky has been barking bit much. Please bear with us while we work on training him in hopes of resolving this annoying problem.” versus the “My dog can do no wrong…” type of reply. Which I assure you will quickly get you complaint letters and warning notices from your landlord.
Additionally, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to socialize your pet! A dog who is well socialized and has regular exposure to new stimulus with a calm, well led association will rarely have an issue with new people or dogs.
3) Train your dog in common areas
When it comes to training, dogs are environment specific and quite the black and white thinkers. This means that they may be great at listening to you in one environment or situation because this is where you practiced your training, but have no concept of what you may think they already have been taught in a situation you have not practiced. By making your dog training sessions practical and teaching your k9 companion how to perform and rely on basic training commands you will show them how you are can maintain calm control in spaces such as lobbies, elevators, and common areas. By doing this regularly as practice and not just when you are really living your life (dogs know the difference!) you will make a positive, calm association to these crucial areas in an apartment type of situation plus demonstrate your ability to provide security in case you have an unexpected run in with another resident or their dog with an armful of groceries.
4) Turn your dog into a butterfly (or at least a social one…)
Many dog training clients I visit here in L.A. have dogs who are antisocial or bark at neighbors simply out of the frustration from not having the opportunity to be formally introduced! By spending a few minutes stopping and chatting, not only will it convert your neighbor from a stranger to a friend but it will also help them feel more secure by the confidence it demonstrates by taking this initiative to lead your pack into new social interactions. I always encourage my dog training clients here in L.A. to create dog walking groups with other pet owners in their building or complex so the dogs (and humans) can gain a sense of community or being part of a pack.
5) Don’t be afraid to seek professional help
The reality is that you may have a dog who is more difficult than average or has had years of accomplishing bad habits because your dog is a rescue or your previous situation did not require your dog to be so well behaved.
Brett Endes, The Dog Savant is a professional dog trainer and author with over 20 years experience specializing in problem behavior and puppy development counseling. The Dog Savant hosts a weekly podcast and is currently developing a web-based show to promote his message of canine behavior awareness. Brett takes a unique approach to dog behavior like no other trainer. His methods are based on psychology and principals of meditation along with a dog’s natural way of communication. Brett has been affectionately called, “The man with a dog’s brain”. He is available for private consulting of individual clients and speaking engagements in the greater Los Angeles area and worldwide. To learn more about Brett or for contact info please visit his website: dogtrainingLA.com