Getting a golden retriever dog is often something most of us desire. They are very fun, loving, and easy-going creatures that have the ability to love us unconditionally. Nevertheless, many people that live in flats and apartments are worried that having a golden retriever confined inside can cause problems (for every party involved). Do not worry though, it is feasible to have a golden retriever in your flat.
The following tips and advice can shed some light on this issue.
Getting To Know Your “Golden” Friend
Taking into consideration that golden retrievers were primarily a hunting dog breed, we understand their high energy levels better.
Their fur is extra water-repellent (they are in fact, excellent swimmers). It has actually two layers. The underlying coat is very golden, and because of it, they are named “Golden Retriever”, and are kept warm. The outer coat is the water-repellant one. They do also tend to shed their fur in the summer months so be prepared for a lot of golden fur around your home.
Separation Anxiety Issue
Golden Retrievers seem to have “golden” personalities. They can get very attached to their human companion. This results in feeling very down and anxious, when separated (even for a little while) from their companion. According to studies, Golden Retrievers are not to be left alone for more than 7 hours per day.
That is why you must make sure that your dog has a social life, and that it gets to see some people whenever you are missing them. Living in a flat can help in that. Consider asking a neighbour of yours to check on your dog, while you’re at work. This will make you and your dog feel much better!
Golden Retrievers are known to get very hyperactive- especially when they are puppies. Restricting them to a flat might worry you. Moreover, if you walk your dog frequently and you make sure that it runs and plays a lot when outside, you shouldn’t have much of an issue here.
No matter how small your flat is, your dog can be happy and not restricted at all. All it needs is some (as many as possible) walks around the neighbourhood. Happy dog, happy owner!
Golden Retrievers might be some of the most training-friendly dogs ever. They are trained very easily, as they are very obedient and smart. Training will be a major help, especially in the flat. You will need to train your dog for pretty much everything (eating, chewing, barking, walking, etc.). Therefore, it is suggested you start training your dog in its puppy years (the younger the better).
Taking into consideration that your flat is in a residential building, your dog will constantly be exposed to many people- and possibly other dogs. Hence, you must make sure that it is safe as well as that it can’t harm anyone. Thus, frequent vet visits are necessary (vaccination, check-up on potential anti-social behaviour).
In accordance with what has just been mentioned, a good relationship between your neighbours and your dog is absolutely necessary. From a very young age, you must familiarize the dog with the people you interact with on a daily basis. This is how your dog, and your neighbours, can feel safe.
Preparing your Apartment
Golden Retrievers are usually medium to large-sized dogs. That means that they do need some space in your flat. Nevertheless, an average-sized flat in Britain (55-65 square meters) is an okay size.
What you need to make sure of is that your flat is not very crowded. Also, try not to have any furniture that might be obstacles for your dog when walking around.
In addition, bear in mind that female Golden Retrievers tend to be smaller than male ones.
It is very important to be able to guarantee your dog’s safety in the flat, especially when they’re left on their own. For example, if you have a balcony from which your dog might be able to jump, you must install a dog gate on your balcony door. Also, dog-proof any furniture that can harm your dog (sharp edges, glass, heavy furniture that can fall easily). You should only really need to do this while they’re a pup as with some good training and a bit of maturity they will learn to be careful of their surroundings and not eat anything they shouldn’t.
Shedding & Chewing
Another important issue is shedding and chewing. You need to keep in mind that especially during puppy years and the first months of training, your golden puppy might chew your shoes or some furniture. Also, you might want to consider covering your bed and couch with some sort of a covering that can be washed easily to combat the fur.
Shedding will be an issue, but you can deal with it. First of all, make sure to groom them frequently, in order to get rid of as much fur as possible. Secondly, clean your house very often. And thirdly, notice the times when your dog changes fur. During these periods, the shedding will be quite a problem but you can increase your grooming routine to account for this.
Dog’s own space
It is quite important for your dog, to have its own space in the flat. You can devote a specific spot in your flat for your dog, by putting there its own bed, toys, food, water, etc. In other words, space to which it will feel most comfortable, and feel it as its own.
In addition, this will come very handy to you too, for when you want to be on your own or do chores. Your dog will have its own “room” to escape to, in order not to bother you (or be bothered by you).
In general, try to have a stable program with your dog (a routine). If your dog is used to going for a walk twice a day, eating at a specific time, and going to sleep at a specific time, keeping to this will result in fewer outbursts and conflict between you and your dog.
For example, taking your dog for a long walk or for playing with other dogs at the local park every Saturday will be very beneficial. In this way, your dog will “save energy” for that day, and be happy to compromise with a shorter walk during weekdays.
Furthermore, by not having a routine, your dog’s schedule might be very disorienting for the dog and you ( waking you up in the middle of the night for a walk or for food). This can cause behavioural issues, so be careful about this.
When/if you bring other dogs into the flat, you should take into account your dog’s feelings. Try to give them time to meet each other and to “build a connection”. Also, don’t pet the other dog too much or give it your dog’s toys. This can result in some serious jealousy and can even cause aggression towards the other dog in the worst cases.
Instead, you can give your dog the chance to feel comfortable with the other dog in the beginning. After that, it might be eager to share its toys with its new playmate.
Familiarising The Pooch With The Neighbourhood
Bear in mind that, if you take your dog for a walk around some particular streets regularly, it will get to know these neighbourhoods and feel safe in them. Hence, this will positively contribute to the formation of a feeling of home for your dog. Its life will take place outside just as much as inside, so it must be familiar and comfortable with your neighbourhood.
During the first months of its walks, be extra careful. Unless you are in the park, it’s common courtesy to keep your dog on the lead. Keep in mind that the first months will be more stressful for your dog as there is a lot of interaction with other people and dogs so they might feel a little overwhelmed.
In addition, try not to walk your dog on streets where there is a lot of traffic or many people while they are getting used to their new surroundings. They can get frightened and shocked very easily, which can result in it associating walks with stress, and this in combination with living in a flat is not good at all.
Dog’s Social life
This point is extremely important. Especially during the pandemic and the quarantines, our dogs get to see only us. Living in a flat and having no interaction with other people and dogs can seriously influence the psychological state of our dog and will shape how they are in the future. Don’t forget that Golden Retrievers are very, very social creatures. They are in great need of socializing and interacting with others.
Therefore, try to find a way of having some people and playmates that your dog feels familiar and comfortable with.
The way you establish your relationship with your golden companion is vital. Because of the training and the difficult first months of your relationship, you might lose your temper once or twice, and shout at your dog. Even though some “scolding” is necessary at times when it is being naughty, keep in mind that you easily create a lasting bad impression on your dog.
This will contribute to the dog not having a very affectionate relationship with you, which is any dog owners worst nightmare.
On An Ending Note
Overall, Are Golden Retrievers Good Apartment Dogs? Of course, they are! If you take training and socialisation seriously then there’s no reason why a Golden Retriever can’t live a very happy life in an apartment providing there are lots of walks and playdates.