Exercise (lots of it)
A tired dog is a happy dog. Dogs that don’t have access to an outdoor space will be more likely to misbehave out of boredom if they do not have a sufficient outlet for their physical energy. In many cases, simple behaviour issues can be solved by giving the dog more exercise. All dogs require different levels of exercise depending on age, breed and physical limitations, so make sure that you cater your dog’s exercise towards their personal needs. Find your closest dog park, beach, or open space that you can let your dog run around. Dogs can easily get bored of the same exercise routine every day, so try to mix it up a bit by taking different routes on your walk, or using obstacles, like picnic tables. This will force your dog to use his body in a different way, which will help to tire him out, making him more likely to settle down in your small space. Your dog will also need mental exercise in addition to physical exercise. Some activities that will get him to use his brain is bones or chew sticks, kong, or puzzle toys. You can find these items online, or in your local pet store.
Create a “dog space”
Dog’s are the same as humans in that sometimes they just need a safe space to retreat to. Your dog will need a space of his own in your house in order to feel more comfortable, and settled. Think of this space as your dog’s bedroom. Whether it’s a crate, a dog bed in the corner, or a small section of your bed, your dog will better be able to relax in the house if he has a space to retreat to when things get busy. If he has a crate, do not ever put your arms into his crate, or pull him out. He needs to know that this is his safe place, and if you put your hands in it then you’re sending the wrong message to him. If his space is his bed on the floor, make sure that it’s comfortable and warm. His space should be a place that he wants to go to. Giving your dog his own space in your home will allow him to settle down and feel more relaxed, which will lead to a happier dog.
Have a Routine
Dogs thrive off of routine. They need to know generally what to expect with their day in order to feel stable. Schedule your dog’s day, and keep it as constant as possible. Your dog will better be able to relax and enjoy his indoor time if he knows when his next outdoor time is. That doesn’t mean you need to have everything planned out to the minute, but do try to keep a general routine for your dog each day. The morning walk should be the most important for your dog. If your dog starts his day with physical exercise he’ll have a much easier time calming down in the house. A consistent routine can make a world of difference when it comes to making your dog happier in your small space.
Keep Things Up High
It’s easy for a dog to accidentally knock things over, especially clumsy puppies and dogs who have long, waggy tails. It becomes even easier for them to knock things over when living in cramped quarters. This is obviously problematic for many reasons! Make it harder for them to knock things over by keeping breakables up high. In other words, dog-proof your home. If a dog does not get proper exercise it may resort to chewing anything that it can get its paws on (including things that it’s knocked over), so keep everything important up off the floor. That way, you’ll never need to use an excuse like “my dog ate my homework”.
Training is important for all dogs, but it becomes especially important when living with a dog in a small space. Training is the only way that we can communicate with our dogs. By training your dog, you will spend less time being frustrated that your dog isn’t understanding you, and your dog will spend less time being confused. Training your dog will help you to live harmoniously in even the most cramped of spaces. Obedience commands, like “down”, and “go to bed” will help your dog to settle when you need some quiet time.
Living in a small space means that there likely isn’t much room for storage, so be creative! Find interesting ways of storing your dog’s belongings. If possible try to get those belongings off the floor to avoid your pup getting into them. It’s always a good idea to keep your dog’s belongings close to the door for easy access when going on walks. You can use shelves, hooks, or storage boxes. There are a lot of really great storage ideas on the internet, so spend some time researching what will work in your space. Your dog won’t know the difference between its belongings being in a drawer, or in a creative storage space, but it will keep you sane, which will benefit your dog greatly.
Remember, dogs don’t need a giant space in order to be happy. They need love, attention, and dedication, which the right owner can provide in a space of any size.