Are Golden Retrievers Good Dogs For Apartments Or Small Homes?


Like any dog, a Golden Retriever can live happily in an apartment or small house provided that their need for exercise and mental stimulation get met and they get their own private space at times. They will need to be taught good behavior and housetraining as puppies, especially if you share walls with your neighbors.

Although a smaller home is not ideal for a large or active dog, it is not a dealbreaker, and moving to a smaller home is certainly not a reason to give up a loved family pet.

3 Things To Consider When Getting A Golden Retriever While Living In An Apartment Or Small House

Regardless of where you live, adding a Golden Retriever to your family requires plenty of forethought and planning. If you happen to live in a smaller home or apartment, there is a little more to think about.

Consider The Dog’s Size

The average Golden Retriever weighs between 55lb to 75lbs and stands between 21 and 24 inches at the shoulder. This size brings up a few considerations for those people living in apartments or smaller houses.

  • For all intents and purposes, living in a small space with your dog will be like having a small family member living with you. To avoid living on top of each other, consider a smaller home or apartment with a more open floorplan.
  • Your dog will be walking around your home, and if you have downstairs neighbors and hardwood floors, you are likely to get complaints. Consider a carpeted apartment instead.
  • Find out if your apartment complex has weight limitations on pets. Some residential companies limit ownership to small pets to prevent the situation outlines above!
  • Your dog needs their own space where they can retreat and be alone if they desire. If you are moving into a smaller space, make sure that there is enough room for your dog to have this type of space.

Consider A Golden Retriever’s Energy Level

Your dog’s energy level should play a significant factor in whether or not a particular breed of dog is compatible with your lifestyle.

For example, if you have plenty of time to walk and play with your Golden or invest in doggy daycare, they can burn off excess energy during the day.

If you are not committed to providing your Golden Retriever with proper exercise, however, they will have energy to burn and will find a way to expend it! This outlet will likely leave your neighbors and your dog unhappy.

Consider Your Neighbors

If you live in a small home or apartment that shares walls with neighbors, consider how bringing a Golden Retriever home might affect them.

If you are devoted to your new pet, you need to accommodate your dog’s needs so that everyone can live comfortably.

For example, if your dog has separation anxiety, they may bark and yelp and even try to escape while you are away from home. These separation anxiety symptoms will, of course, cause problems and disruption for your neighbors.

So, instead of leaving your dog at home feeling anxious, consider:

  • Bringing your dog with you to work.
  • Seeking advice from a trained behaviorist for behavior modifications
  • Enrolling your dog in daycare or using a pet sitting service to keep your dog company.

It’s also necessary to pursue proper training for your Golden so that they know what you expect from them and so that your neighbors won’t have to deal with a “spoiled dog.”

Keeping Your Golden Retriever Happy While Living In A Smaller Space

Having a Golden Retriever live in a smaller home with you isn’t just about trying to keep your neighbors happy, it’s also about keeping your dog happy!

Goldens are a social breed and do not like being left alone. If you plan to be away from home for long periods, a Golden Retriever isn’t the ideal breed for you.

If you already have a Golden and have moved to a smaller home, consider a combination of the following suggestions to keep them happy:

  • Doggy daycare is a good outlet for high-energy goldens, and it provides socialization to prevent loneliness that can lead to destructive behavior.
  • Goldens have high exercise needs, and for them to be happy, you must meet those needs with multiple daily walks, doggy daycare visits, doggy playdates, and off-leash games in a safe and secure area.
  • As mentioned before, having a quiet, personal space is necessary for any dog. Ensure that this type of space is available for your dog even when living in a smaller home.
  • Plenty of time outdoors with your Golden is also important for their socialization and overall mental health. Take frequent walks together and let them stop and sniff and “read” their environment. This mental stimulation is just as important as the walking itself!

Keeping Your Golden Retriever Comfortable While Living In An Apartment

Keeping your golden comfortable while living in an apartment requires all of the factors that we have already mentioned, but it also requires:

  • Assessing the accessibility of your apartment for your dog – do you have a dog with arthritis? If so, don’t move into a third-floor apartment with no elevator!
  • Does your dog have severe separation anxiety? Consider doggy daycare for days when you would otherwise have to leave your dog alone.
  • Does your Golden have compromised eyesight? Moving into a smaller space can increase the chances of bumping into things. Use scent dots, invest in a “Halo,” or work with your dog to teach them the layout of the smaller space.
  • If you plan to live in an apartment for the long haul, keep in mind that Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis, so choose an apartment with elevator access or live on the ground floor!

Successfully Raising a Golden Retriever Puppy While Living In An Apartment

Successfully raising a Golden Retriever puppy in an apartment requires a BIG commitment. Consider the following necessary steps to successfully raise your new pup in a less than spacious home.

  • Your Golden puppy will need to go to the bathroom frequently. You will have to take them up and down the stairs EVERY time if you want to successfully housetrain them.
  • Your pup will bark and whine at some point during their first few weeks, and your neighbors need to be prepared (and possibly bribed with puppy kisses).
  • Your puppy will need socialization, training, and real-world experience, you must provide these things through proper training classes, doggy daycare, playdates with other dogs, and exposure to many new environments.
  • Consider that puppies have potty accidents before they are completely housetrained and when teething, they will chew just about anything! Without proper precautions, your new puppy may mean losing your security deposit.

A Word About Downsizing

One of the most common reasons that dogs are given up by their family is that the family has had to downsize and they feel their dog would be unhappy in a smaller living space. In the vast majority of cases, this simply isn’t true.

Most dogs just want to be with their “pack” or family and moving into a smaller home is little to no inconvenience, it just requires a little extra work on the part of the human family – more regular walks, trips to parks on the weekends, playdates with doggy friends.

Remember, where there is a will, there is a way!

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