Having a dog in a flat

(27 Posts)
goteam Fri 11-Jan-19 17:16:03

I'm wondering about the realities of owning a dog you live in a flat. We really want a pet and DH thinks cat but I'm nota cat person and the kids would prefer a dog. DH grew up with both and thunks a cat makes more sense with our living situation. Large flat on first floor with a garden down steps. Parks nearby. I work from home term time only so lots of time to walk a dog and we always take the kids to the park. This is DH worry - that we won't have time to walk a dog.

Any success stories of people keeping dogs in flats? Suitable breeds?

OP’s posts: |
adaline Fri 11-Jan-19 17:22:56

My concern would be toilet training - you'll need to take a puppy out every 20 minutes or so during the day and they can't use stairs when they're very small! And what about taking it out at night for a pee? Are you happy to get dressed 2-3 times a night to take it to the toilet?

When it's older you'll also have to get up and take it whereas if you had a ground floor flat or a house you can just let them out - ours lets himself out which obviously wouldn't be possible in a flat. Just worth thinking about.

tabulahrasa Fri 11-Jan-19 17:23:48

Not being on the ground floor is going to be a huge hassle if you’re thinking puppy...

Other than that it’s not really a big deal, I’ve had two dogs in flats, a lab cross and what was described as a collie cross who was unlikely to grow bigger than medium (he was about 6 months) who grew up into a large lurcher (both rescues).

peeblet Fri 11-Jan-19 17:25:37

what are the steps like? we have steps down to ours but we're able to block off the top of them almost like a small balcony area and he did his toilet there (washed down daily obviously) until he was big enough to to go up and down the stairs himself

Chasingsquirrels Fri 11-Jan-19 17:29:48

Toilet training won't be fun, but other than that it doesn't make a lot of difference. I have a garden but dog is only in it if I'm with him.
My bloke has a Great Dane in a first floor flat...

DogInATent Fri 11-Jan-19 17:31:06

I've known it work fine with adult dogs, already toilet-trained. But I can see major issues with a pup and trying to toilet train from scratch. There could be issues with incontinence as a dog ages.

Have you got a balcony area?

Tractortod Fri 11-Jan-19 17:44:03

I'll probably get flamed for this but I really think dogs need immediate access to the garden and flats are rarely big enough.

I can't even imagine how you'd toilet train in a flat?


BiteyShark Fri 11-Jan-19 17:52:34

Toilet training logistics is the only thing really. I have a dog who has a stomach condition and we have had many nights where he needed to poo every single hour. Whilst this is not the norm dogs do have upset stomachs and can need the toilet more when they get older.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Fri 11-Jan-19 18:03:54

I live in a first floor flat and I have a dog. She's perfectly happy. I should add that I adopted her from a rescue organisation when she was 4 so not a puppy. I, too, have a garden downstairs (and opposite my front door) and if she has the runs we don't therefore have far to go (this has been put to the test a few times and was fine). She's a Staffie cross if that helps. Don't get a dachshund or anything that can't safely do stairs (they get spinal problems). At least three of my neighbours in my cul de sac also have dogs in first floor flats, seemingly successful and happy.

adaline Fri 11-Jan-19 18:39:31

And YY toilet incidents are just restricted to puppies - ours had an upset stomach once and needed the toilet every two hours. It was a pain in a house but at least we could just go down and open the door, we didn't have to worry about being decent or remembering keys and all that malarkey!

And older dogs often can't manage stairs, neither can very big or very small breeds, which is also something to consider. Are you going to be able to carry your dog up/down the stairs if he/she gets injured or something? Are you happy to carry a puppy up/down the stairs every 20 minutes for the toilet, even if they're mid-wee/poo/vomit?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 11-Jan-19 18:40:08

I've got a dog in a flat, with a small secure rear yard - he came to me as an adult and toilet training wasn't an issue. It's no more or less convenient than when I visit DF who has a house with garden.

In our old place we only had access to an insecure communal garden, so DDog could only go out supervised on a lead. That was inconvenient, but still doable.

The only thing that reliably differentiates a flat from a house is that there are no internal stairs - and no one thinks they're vital for dog welfare.

As for finding the time to walk the dog - you need to sit down and work out when it will happen and when you will need a dog walker, and the costs involved. You'll need to account for the varying hours of daylight - it's a lot easier to fit it all in when it's light until 10pm not 4.30pm!

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Fri 11-Jan-19 18:40:34

You need a small lazy dog!

elQuintoConyo Fri 11-Jan-19 18:47:43

Tractortod well that's most of Spain fucked.

We are on the 5th floor with a 3yo rescue. 110m flat with balcony (so she can woof at the big-eared dog opposite). She goes out several times a day for big walks and wee-wee walks.

DH works from home, j work evenings. She is rarely alone more than 1hr30. She doesn't bark. She doesn't pine for the fjords garden/park/woods/beach, she doesn't soil indoors.

BiteyShark Fri 11-Jan-19 18:52:29

The thing is if you really want a dog and to make it work being in a first floor flat won't be an issue.

BastardGoDarkly Fri 11-Jan-19 18:52:40

Are you thinking puppy?

I had a house trained, 6 stone boxer cross in a first floor flat, he was happy as Larry... out for wee in garden first thing, long walk when i got dressed, couple of wees in day, half hour walk in evening.

Totally do able.

CarolDanvers Fri 11-Jan-19 18:57:49

I've toilet trained three puppies in a flat, yes it's a PITA and you have to be totally on it at all times but I toilet trained mine fairly reliably by two to three weeks in. I use a crate and when they're not in the crate they're tethered to me on a longish lead so I can see them at all times. The second they look like they're going to go it's off down the stairs with them. I'm only on the first floor though.

tabulahrasa Fri 11-Jan-19 19:10:55

Re stomach upsets... I’m now in a house with a garden, tbh it’s not easier to get an ill dog out there than it was in a flat.

goteam Fri 11-Jan-19 19:53:30

Thanks all. Sounds like on balance it might be tricky. We were thinking a puppy just so it can grow up being used to small kids. My DS is nervous of dogs too and we thought the best way to deal with that was to get a dig of our own.

As a PP said, it would definitely have to be a small lazy dog! Stairs to our garden are quite steep so maybe all in all we need to give it a lot more thought. We are planning on moving in 3 years or so to get a house so maybe we wait until then.

OP’s posts: |
Thesepreciousthings Fri 11-Jan-19 21:58:00

I’ve got a 3 year small breed in a large second floor flat with no garden. We’ve had him since he was a puppy. Toilet training did take an absolute age but other than that there’s been no problems. Long walk first thing, out for a wee at lunchtime, long walk in the afternoon and off out for another wee last thing. I don’t work so am always around for a wee walk.

In terms of him being ill, if he’s poorly during the day he’ll scratch at the door to go out. During the night he just craps on the carpet. I’m not sure if that would be any different if we had quick and easy access to a garden tbh.

agirlhasnonameX Sat 12-Jan-19 11:35:53

Every dog is different so obviously don't take my word for law!
I live in a flat (ground floor though) with my puppy. (If I had stairs to go down I would just have carried him). The worst so far was before he had been vaccinated he couldn't go outside as the garden area is used by other dogs, so we had to use puppy pads indoors which was not pleasant and I worried about confusing him and prolonging toilet training. However when the time came there was no training necessary, he's 5 months and has never had an accident since the first day he went to pee outside and has held his bladder all night since then too.
The only thing that I find difficult about flat life with a dog is there are more neighbours to worry about when he barks and people coming in and out the building to cause him to bark more.
Having a garden for him would be nice but we live two mins away from a large dog walking field. I honestly don't think it matters all that much.

Iwantdaffodils Sat 12-Jan-19 11:42:42

Dogs are very popular here as we live on the edge of a park and huge open areas for walking.
Lots of the dog owners are in flats. The toilet training is maybe a bit of a pain but they seem to manage.
A small to medium dog that can be lifted if necessary is a good idea, but I'm not sure why it would have to be lazy. You say you have lots of time to walk a dog so why is your DH concerned about this? Maybe he doesn't fancy the walks?!

Iwantdaffodils Sat 12-Jan-19 11:45:30

Just noticed a pp mentioning barking. This is a very good point when you live in a flat.
My last three dogs have been smallish lurchers ( not much bigger than whippets) and all have been totally quiet in my (ground floor) flat. Useless guard dogs but ideal for not disturbing the neighbours!

BigusBumus Sat 12-Jan-19 12:07:53

Yes don't get a Jack Russell, unless you really want to piss your neighbours off! I have 2 and they "patrol" the windows and bark at everyone. They also make irritating tippy-tappy noises with their claws on wooden floors, which could annoy a downstairs neighbour.

How about an adult rescue greyhound? They sleep a lot.

spot102 Sat 12-Jan-19 15:48:19

Yes, but Bigus, I had 2 dogs, JR and Spot1, they set up an unholy row whenever they heard someone go by, and I blamed it on JR. Never gonna get another Jack Russel was my constant refrain!

Sadly Spot1 passed away last year and the flat is now almost silent, despite the addition of Spot2. So I guess I was a bit unfair there and not all JRs are like that!! I do agree though, terriers are known for barking, and need more exercise than you think, given their (generally) small size!

The greyhound societies do promote them as ideal flat dogs, never sure how much of this is hype/wishful thinking?!! but they are lovely dogs, albeit quite tall, and always seem calm except when running.

I (so far) have stuck to the rule of not having dogs bigger than I can carry in my flat, just in case.

Scattyhattie Sat 12-Jan-19 16:10:46

I've 2 large dogs in a 1st floor flat, I don't use my small garden much as its quicker to go up the street. Being on one level I can hear when the dogs aren't settled & may want to go out better.
Greyhound was great very quiet, happy to spend the day snoozing between walks. My lurcher is a bit noisier and mutt is quite the watchdog so picks up any movement nearby although he has learned to ignore most of neighbour noises and their dog (they'll sometimes set each other off).

I think a puppy with a child that's nervous of dogs isn't a great mix as they tend to be very bitey, scratchy (& it hurts) and full on. Gaining confidence around a calm dog first would be better, my greyhounds were great for nervous children to meet as they'd just stand quietly to be stroked & let them approach rather than more usual enthusiastic greeting dogs tend to give which can be a bit overwhelming if wary.

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