One of the most important things to consider when adopting any dog is whether or not the breed you choose will fit into your lifestyle.
No two dogs are the same, and different breeds vary in the amount of space, exercise, attention, or grooming they require to live happy and healthy lives.
Labradors are no exception.
As a bigger breed, you may pause before bringing a Lab home to an apartment or smaller living space.
It can be easy to assume that you will be resigning your dog to days of cramped, uncomfortable living.
While this may be true for some other breeds, it is not a hard and fast rule.
Though larger and energetic, these fun loving pups can make good apartment dwelling dogs, as long as you take into account a few important considerations, and make adjustments.
Are Labs Good Indoor Dogs?
Here are a few good reasons Labs do make good apartment dogs…
One of the biggest reasons Labs may be content living in smaller spaces is their innate desire to be close to their owners.
Even those living in a sprawling home with plenty of room to roam may notice that their Lab prefers nothing more than to be glued to their side
Related: When Do Labs Calm Down?
While this attachment can make apartment living easier, it can lead to separation anxiety.
Labs are social pets, and want to be with their people as often as possible.
With training it may be feasible to leave your dog alone for many hours at a time in an apartment. It’s not recommended, and may lead to problematic or destructive behaviors.
If you are more of a homebody or work from home, your Lab should have few problems feeling happy in your space.
Your Neighbors Will Love Them Too!
Another benefit to having a Lab in apartment style living is their friendly and open disposition toward people, be it strangers or children.
In congregate living situations such as apartment complexes, where you are living on top of other people, it is a large benefit to have a friendly or social dog.
A Lab is unlikely to instill fear into neighbors or children in your building, and can be a welcome site for any dog lover.
This friendly disposition doesn’t mean that Labs have perfect manners, however.
In order to be good neighbors, owners must take the initiative to train disruptive behaviors such as barking from their dog.
A friendly dog is great, but will be unwelcome in an apartment building if they develop a reputation as a noisy neighbor.
They Are Highly Trainable
One of the main reasons Labs can do well in apartments is that they are highly intelligent and trainable breeds.
There are many behaviors and traits that make any dog unsuitable for smaller living quarters.
Running, barking, chewing, and bathroom etiquette are all critical points of training that must be addressed early in your dog’s development in order to avoid serious problems down the line.
Labs are quick, eager learners who are born with a desire to please.
If given the appropriate time and attention, you can raise a Labrador that will be a great addition to any living situation.
There Could Be Some Issues But Also Solutions…
It is important to remember that, as with any larger, high energy breeds, you may face a few obstacles in your journey to adjusting your Lab pup to apartment living.
There are plenty of tactics you can use in order to make the transition more seamless, and ensure that your pup is happy and healthy at home.
High Energy Levels
One of Labs prominent personality traits is their high energy.
In the first few years of life, as they mature into adulthood, your Labrador can be a lot to handle, and always ready to run.
Related: When Do Labs Stop Growing
Though challenging in larger homes that have attached yards, this may present greater problems in spaces such as apartment complexes that may not have outdoor living space available.
Failure to accommodate your dog’s energy level can lead to significant destruction and restlessness in the home.
It’s crucial that you make sure your Lab is getting the physical and mental stimulation that it needs.
Before moving a Lab into a small apartment space, it’s important to consider whether or not you have the time in your schedule to provide your new pup with significant daily exercise and mental stimulation.
Dog parks, long walks, hikes, and jogs all go a long way in managing your Labs energy levels, and preventing your dog from becoming listless, bored, or destructive.
However you are able to provide it, Labs should have at least 45 minutes to an hour of physical activity each day.
Barking is an undesired trait in any living situation, but in apartments, it is critical to avoid.
Excess barking can be a nuisance to neighbors, and may earn you complaints to your building if allowed to continue.
Proper training can help you to avoid problems with barking, and make sure that both you and your neighbors can enjoy daily peace and quiet.
Exercise can release pent up energy stores that may result in barking from bored Labs.
Discouraging barking, and avoiding situations that trigger barking in your dog can be helpful.
Because Labs are not vocal breeds, in comparison to other dogs, barking has specific triggers such as boredom, or too much time alone.
Labs left without social stimulation for longer periods of time may become restless, and bark as a result. Avoiding time in isolation can prevent other attachment issues as well.
Every puppy will need to go through periods of potty training.
This daunting task can be made difficult by apartment living, where taking your dog outside may be more of a trek than opening the door to the backyard.
Labs are not difficult dogs to house train, but apartment dwellers will need to be more mindful, and employ a few handy techniques to make sure accidents don’t happen.
As you begin to potty train your puppy, they may need to go to the bathroom often.
As they grow, this need will decrease, and they will be able to spend longer periods of time indoors before they need to relieve themselves.
Potty pads may be helpful for owners who can’t get up every hour to take their dog outside.
When your dog gets to be a bit older, it becomes important to establish a routine, or schedule with them.
The regular and routine a bathroom break is, the easier it may be for your Lab to know when they will be able to go outside.
Bathroom breaks in apartment buildings means descending several levels to designated areas where dogs are allowed to relieve themselves.
Depending on your apartment’s rules, it is important to be equipped with a leash and collar, and to follow your buildings guidelines.
Most puppies teeth, but some may have a longer period of teething than others.
Because of Lab’s extended puppyhood, they may chew longer than other breeds.
Chewing is destructive and unpleasant in any home environment, but can be a real problem in apartment settings where security deposits are at stake, and repairs may be costly.
Curbing your Lab’s urge to chew is important, and should start early.
One of the best things you can do to negate problematic chewing behaviors is to provide your Lab with other teething alternatives.
Approved chew toys such as kongs are safe for dogs, and are a way to allow your Lab to teeth and chew without causing damage to your apartment.
Thankfully, if trained and monitored, most Labs will grow out of chewing in a year or so when teething ends.
Too Much Time Alone
A big obstacle in owning a Lab in an apartment setting can be a Labrador’s significant desire for socialization.
These breeds do not take well to alone time, and left alone for larger periods of time, your dog may become anxious, restless, and begin to act out inside your apartment.
This can not only be destructive to your apartment, but can cause problems with neighbors if your Lab begins to bark, or make a disruptive amount of noise.
This isn’t to say you can never leave your Lab alone in your apartment, but care should be taken to adjust and train your dog to become accustomed to spending time alone.
A Lab should never be left unattended without bathroom breaks, or designated time to run.
If you are having trouble leaving the house for short periods of time, it may be beneficial to begin crating your Lab.
Allowing your Lab to become comfortable with crating can ensure that they will not become destructive in the home.
Dogs should not be crated for significant amounts of time, and providing your dog with enough exercise, stimulation, and attention should be your first priority.
Can a Labrador Fit Your Apartment Lifestyle?
This is a question that should be answered after taking into account what sacrifices and lifestyle changes you are willing to make in order to accommodate the health and happiness of your Lab.
If you are able to stick to regular exercise routines, daily training, and provide your Lab with plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs and exercise their minds, Labradors can thrive in apartment homes.
If you do not have the time to give your Lab regular exercise and training, or you are away from your apartment for long periods of time, it may be a good idea to look into other breeds who have less extensive needs.
Though Lab’s may not fit your current lifestyle, there is a great breed that will.