These days, many in Singapore are living in apartments. And apartment living with dogs can be challenging for some. Here we list the main issues and challenges and discussion how to overcome them.
HDB Vs Condo
If yours is an HDB apartment, follow their rules on dog ownership. Stick only to the approved breeds and do not keep more than one. There are enough stories of HDB dwellers being asked to give up their dogs. There’s nothing more painful then raising a puppy, bonding with it and eventually being asked to give it up. This video below brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it. Let it never happen.
If yours is a condo, you can own up to 3 dogs. But which breed to own is also important. If you are asthmatic or cannot stand the sight of dog fur everywhere in your home, a non-shedding breed, like the Poodle, Yorkshire or Schnauzer might be more appropriate. And if you are into large breeds like the Golden Retriever, do make sure you have enough time to exercise them.
For those currently searching for a new property, make it a point to check if the condo is dog friendly. There are condominiums where there are lots of house rules discriminating against dogs. Take my old condo for example. Then residents voted during the AGM to ban dogs from the pool area, clubhouse, BBQ pits and tennis courts. The overzealous council members then proclaimed that dogs are not allowed anywhere other than the perimeter of the condo. “No Dogs Allowed” signages started sprouting out on almost every batch of lawn. I had to eventually join the council, just to see that dogs get treated fairly.
And if you are lucky enough to be in the market for a new condo, why not choose one that list pets’ lawn as one of its facilities. This seems to be the trend now, with CDLs two latest condos both offering it; the ultra-high end New Futura and the more affordable HDB heartland condo, The Tapestry.
Inside Your Apartment
If you are to own a dog, it is your responsibility to make your home dog safe. Are there wires hanging around? Is the trash easily accessible to your dog or flooring dog friendly? If you are unlucky, all it takes is one mishap to lose your dog forever.
Check out our previous post on dog friendly homes for more tips and ideas. Its always better to be safe rather than sorry.
Have Time for Your Dog
Imagine being cooped up in an apartment 24/7. That’s an ordeal many dogs in Singapore go through. If you do not have the time, don’t get a dog. It’s cruel and will not be good for your dog’s development and overall wellbeing. Any good dog trainer will tell you that dogs need to be well socialized especially during the puppy stage. An under socialized dog can become fearful or worst still, aggressive towards both humans and other dogs. And an aggressive dog is never fun to own.
Ideally, dogs should walked at least 3 times a day. If this is not possible given our busy work schedule, do it at least twice a day. If you own a large breed dog, factor in their exercise needs during these daily walks as well.
Though not an absolute must as long as your dog is controllable, a trained dog is a joy to own. It makes your life much easier too, if you are able to communicate with ease, your wishes to your dog. This is especially so, given that new apartments in Singapore are getting smaller and as such, we cannot afford having wild and uncontrollable dogs, running around our apartment or barking incessantly.
Other than the basic obedience cues like, sit, stand, down, come, stay and heel, we train our dogs to:
- Know their respective names (important for multi dog households)
- Go potty on cue (important if you have to rush to work in the morning)
- Return home on cue
- Go to the bedroom or kitchen on cue (useful if you have guests who are afraid of dogs)
- Shake after a bath on cue and only after we have moved a distance away (you don’t wish to get wet, do you?)
To us, dog training is an important skill; it makes controlling our 3 dogs and living with them so much easier.
The above are just our thoughts on how to make apartment living with dogs easier. They are written based on our own experience living with 3 dogs in our 4 bedroom condominium. You may have other tips of your own useful to our readers; if so, do comment below.