Image: By bodnarphoto

You’re a cat’s companion or a dog’s best friend, your fur ball has a special spirit of their own – that’s what makes them such wonderful company! On April 11, we celebrate National Pet Day. Although we love our furry friends, living right next door to a canine’s 5 a.m. bark or underneath the constant sound of scrambling paws isn’t a joy for anyone. If you’re sharing an apartment, condo, or high-rise space with a pet, here are ten PETiquette tips to avoid furry challenges. 

  1. Read, Understand and Adhere to the Pet Policy: These policies are not suggestions, and they apply to all pet owners including you and your well-behaved pet. They are well designed rules that benefit the community as a whole.
  2. Consider the First Floor: While living on the ground floor isn’t always possible, ask for a first-floor apartment so that downstairs neighbors avoid the scampering, thuds and noises of active animals. If you end up moving into an upstairs unit, establish a play/sleep schedule so neighbors aren’t disturbed by overactive pets.
  3. Invest in Insurance: It’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you have a mild-mannered, well-trained pet, accidents happen. When considering a rental insurance policy, include coverage for pet damages to the unit and other property.
  4. Establish Consistency: Routine, routine, routine. Dogs adapt quickly to a regular schedule, so make it a point to maintain regular times for walks, potty breaks, meals, and play. This regulates their internal clock so that they’re not waking you or your neighbors at 3 a.m. Use these Blue Buffalo training tips, or hire a professional.
  5. Potty Pick-Up: There is no poop fairy! This should go without saying – remember to clean up after your pet once they’ve done their business. This means keeping plastic bags with you every time you take your canine companion for a walk and disposing of cat litter properly. Be a mannerly pet owner and maintain a property free of pet-related debris.
  6. Use a Leash: Furry companions, especially canines, are social by nature and want to sniff and greet others during daily walks. Even if your pet is well-trained, others may not be so keep Fluffy on a leash. When taking the elevator with pets or small children, keep your pet close by your side or hold them if their size permits. Finally, when walking down the hall with your pet, stay on the opposite side of any approaching animals or residents who may inadvertently appear threatening, or be allergic.
  7. Behavioral Challenges and Manners: As pets grow older, or as they adapt to new environments, you may notice behavioral changes. Watch for pet behavior that may intimidate or frighten other residents, walkers, or pets such as snarling, growling, or nipping others. If this becomes an issue, quickly address it with a certified canine training and behavior specialist. Train your pet to avoid jumping on fellow residents, begging the concierge or front desk for multiple treats, loud barking, yapping, and scratching people.
  8. Separation Anxiety: “Mom? Dad? Where are you going? Why are you leaving me? Noooo!!” Some dogs have separation anxiety that causes non-stop barking or howling while their owners are away from home. Owning or living near this pup can be extremely frustrating – so what do you do? 
    1. If you are the neighbor: Consider talking to the pet owner or leaving them a polite handwritten note letting them know what Fido is up to while they are away. There is a chance they have no clue! If that doesn’t work, reach out to the concierge, front desk, or management company for resolution. 
    2. If you are the pet owner: Be compassionate to your neighbors concerns and work toward curbing the pet’s misbehavior immediately. There are numerous expert suggestions for various pet situations.
  9. Vaccinations: Staying current on your pets vaccines is not only important for the health and safety of your pet – it also protects the other pets in the community. 
  10. Walking: The mental stimulation provided to your pet during regular outdoor walks does more than provide them with exercise. It also helps keep them out of the proverbial ‘doghouse’ as the sensory experience helps eliminate boredom when they return home. If 30-minute walks are tough, then begin with 10-minute jaunts and enjoy. 

Apartment and high-rise living challenges can be solved for pet owners with proper planning and care, so neighbors can enjoy your pet’s company and ensure peaceful relationships. Follow these ten tips for proper PETiquette and everyone wins, including your pets that benefit from routine. From our team to yours, happy National Pet Day! 

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards

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