Highrise Rovers

My husband and I survived a never-ending kitchen renovation during the 2010 East Coast snowmageddon. I wanted a pet as our reward for living without a kitchen from December to March. My husband wanted a flat screen TV.

Because we lived on the 8th floor, adopting a cat seemed most logical. Our 1ish-year-old cat had some undesirable behaviors, so I read Pam Bennett Johnson's book, “Think Like a Cat.” Changing my cat's behavior set me on my journey towards dog training.

Fast forward three years later, and we brought a 1ish-year-old 17lb dachshund terrier mix into our 8th floor condo. We were both team big dog, but the condo rules had a 25lb weight limit for dogs. Now, I have a deep appreciation for small-medium dogs!

Potty training in a highrise is inconvenient. Fortunately, our dog caught on quickly and we even put pottying on cue. She was not allowed on our balcony per the condo rules. If your dog is allowed on your balcony, please make sure it's safe for her to be out there and never leave her unattended on the balcony. There are various inorganic and organic potty patch grass-like products suitable for balconies.  Some buildings have dog pottying areas within the building. This is a great early morning and late night potty break option!

Let's talk about elevator etiquette. Not all dogs or people like dogs. Have your dog sit behind you as you wait for the elevator. Ask anyone on the elevator for permission to bring your dog along before stepping onto the elevator. Have your dog sit behind you during the elevator ride. Elevators are confined spaces that can stress everyone out. It's not an appropriate nor sufficient space for dog:dog interactions. Take the stairs as you are able. Stair climbing is a great way to tire your dog out!

Use the building’s hallways for loose leash walking practice. Have your dog walk in between the wall and you. Reward your dog with a treat for walking next to you. Try this as dogs walk along the other side of the hallway. Teach your dog to walk with you and ignore distractions like other dogs.

Not all dogs like other dogs. Give other dogs space. The presence of other dogs should become a cue for your dog to look at you instead of pulling to greet another dog. If you let your dog drag you to other dogs, you are teaching your dog to pull every time he sees another dog.

Barking in a highrise can be stressful for you and your neighbors. Back then we had particularly curmudgeonly neighbors, and diligently trained our dog to stay quiet when she heard various noises. We curtailed her alarm barking through training. We knocked on the door and tossed her treats. We called her whenever we heard someone walking in the hallway and played tug. You can also ask your voice assistant to play smooth jazz or leave a calm radio/TV station on to attenuate everyday highrise noises. If you cannot curtail your dog's barking, contact your veterinarian, Behavior United LLC, or a force-free dog trainer in your neighborhood.

Living in a highrise community can be fun, especially with a dog. Many highrise communities have wonderful amenities for people and dogs alike. Be a good neighbor and train your dog to be an upstanding community member. Need help with that? Contact us at www.behaviorunited.com.