Training Your New Puppy in an Apartment

AS_DogAh, the joys of puppy parenthood. Romps in the park, cuddles on the couch, games of fetch… torn-up pillows… piddled-on welcome mats… There are plenty of ups and downs that come with the addition of a furry canine friend to your apartment home. Whether your new friend is a tiny teacup pup or a roly-poly pug, you’ll need to take a few steps so she grows up happy and healthy… and so you can get your security deposit back when you move out!

Puppy-Proof the Apartment

Help your pup get it right from the start by making your apartment puppy-friendly. Get cords and cables off the floor and out of sight so curious mouths don’t make a meal of them. Curious noses will also want to explore new smells, so keep your cabinet doors latched with child-proof locks to prevent Fido from finding any cleaning solutions, and make sure your trash can has a cover on it. Keep all your clothes and shoes stashed firmly in your closet; dogs are likely to play with things that smell like their humans, meaning your shoes and shirts are fair game. Not sure what else might need protection? Sit on the floor and look at the world the way an inquisitive puppy would. Anything look tasty? Chewable? Markable? Make sure it’s out of reach.

Cue the Crate Training

It may be tempting to let your puppy cuddle with you for the first couple of nights she’s home, but if you intend your dog to sleep in a crate every night, it’s important to start that habit right away. Line a crate with a fluffy, comfy dog bed and put the crate in your room. She may be vocal the first few nights, but eventually she’ll get used to the crate and see it as a safe place. (Not sure what size crate to get? Use this handy chart from the APDT.)

Be a Considerate Neighbor

Whether they’re excited, scared, or feeling protective, puppies are bound to bark. To keep your apartment neighbors from going crazy, make sure you soundproof your apartment as best you can so the noise doesn’t bother them too much. If your apartment walls are especially thin, it may be good to let your neighbors know that you’re crate training your puppy, and apologize for the temporary inconvenience. (Maybe bring over some cookies, while you’re at it.)

What About Potty Breaks?

Puppies need lots of, er, outside time. Aim to take your puppy outside once an hour to avoid any accidents in the apartment at first. Make sure you’re well out of the way of any community areas, and clean up after your dog—your apartment neighbors will thank you.

Make Use of the Bark Park

Too often, apartment life means having to forego a backyard. However, if you live in a pet-friendly apartment, there’s probably got a little patch of land made just for you and your dog. Take your puppy out to the bark park, let her explore, and even play with the other pups in the apartment community. It’s a good way to let your dog get some of her energy out so she doesn’t take her enthusiasm out on your poor, defenseless throw pillows.


Looking for a new dog-friendly apartment? When you search for an apartment with, it’s easy to find the right apartment for you and your pup. For more tips on moving, apartment hunting, or apartment life, check out our resources for renters!