As the mom of a 75 lb Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, I’m constantly hearing about how big my dog is. To me, he’s just “Cooper,” a part of my family, and will be moving with me regardless of where I land. Then we moved from a town requiring a 45-minute commute to get work done (hello carbon emissions) to a swanky new apartment in an exciting suburban city, Birmingham, MI.
This meant our big space became a small (albeit gorgeous) space. With this move, Cooper’s backyard was nixed for a bit of a new lifestyle. I’ve compiled six must-do’s for keeping our big dogs happy and healthy even in the smallest abodes!
- Make the small walks with your dog count. Getting the mail is an opportunity to stretch. In fact, take the long route. Think of it the same way you might a store-park in the back and get the extra steps in.
- Give your dog (or her) his own space. Even his small bed is a place to call his own. It’ll make him feel more at home.
- Chose an apartment complex with a courtyard. City life doesn’t often offer a backyard or park across the street. Even if it did, you wouldn’t be as inclined to visit as you would if it were literally outside of your door. I chose an apartment complex with an almost completely enclosed courtyard, which allows Cooper running space to fetch a ball. (Thankfully Cooper’s recall trained. Never let an unleashed dog run without this critical skill.)
- Chose a first floor apartment. Early mornings are early. Don’t fool yourself. Keep slippers by the door and eliminate falling down stairs before breakfast.
- Play tug. Tug games don’t require much space and can wear your big dog out without giving you frostbite (or sunburn if you’re not here in the North).
- Keep chewies around. Though there’s some controversy regarding rawhides, makes sure to keep the chewable toys around for restless moments. You’ll avoid losing your favorite shoes and keep your dog-human relationship happier.