It’s been just over six months since the dogs and I moved to Plymouth. While living in a flat with the spaniels was never something I thought would happen, here we are! They’ve both adjusted really well to apartment life and while it’s taken some time for them to feel settled, they’ve both come on leaps and bounds. They’re definitely more than happy with their high-rise home. I know there’s a lot of debate about whether dogs can live in flats. I thought I’d share my experience living in a first floor, two bedroom apartment with two crazy working cocker spaniels!
We moved to Plymouth at the start of 2020, after living in Cornwall for a couple of years. I really like that it’s equidistant to Dartmoor and Cornwall, giving us plenty of options when it comes to dog walks! We’re also walking distance from the sea, which is something I love about living in this flat with the dogs. I’ve never lived so close to the sea before, it’s amazing. Come rain or shine the dogs and I love walking over to the beach in the morning, or enjoying a sunset SUP session in the summer.
Before we go any further, if you’re thinking about introducing a dog into your flat, remember to check with your landlord/property management company first. You need to check your building allows dogs before you even think about welcoming one into your home. Fortunately, we live in a dog friendly building. In fact, people are always surprised when I say just how many dogs live in flats here. On our floor alone there are french bulldogs, huskies and of course our two working cocker spaniels. There’s also a cockapoo and a couple of whippets who live on other floors. Apart from the occasional startled bark when they meet each other unexpectedly in the lift, everyone gets on well. Woody and Hen enjoy barking with the Frenchie next door whenever they see the postman from the balcony!
We’re very fortunate to have our own balcony in the flat. It has astro turf on the floor, which makes it look so much more inviting. The dogs enjoy sunning themselves in the afternoon and it’s a great place to relax with a cup of tea in the evenings. Aside from one accident by Hen right at the start, the dogs have never tried to do their business here. While there is also a communal residents’ garden on the ground floor, I prefer taking Woody and Hen out to the local green spaces for them to do their business. Fortunately neither has been too keen on toileting in their own back garden, even when we had one, so it was an easy adjustment for them.
At the time of writing, the spaniels and I have been living here for just over 6 months, though it took about 3 for us all to settle in. Contrary to popular belief, many spaniels remain calm when they’re in their home. They save their mad antics for when they’re out on walks! Fortunately for us this is the case with Woody and Hen, who love nothing more than snoozing when they’re in the flat.
Hen, who’s blind, took a little longer to settle in at first. He’d pick fights with Woody for no reason and seemed tense for the first couple of months. Of course, this is completely understandable given his limited sight. It’s easy to forget that all dogs, no matter their vision, will take a while to settle into a new home. Thankfully, Hen’s stopped his tough-guy outbursts and is much happier now both him and Woody know the house rules. It took them both a while to get used to the new sounds and sensations, especially with the lift but now they love it. I’m not convinced they understand the mechanics, as they still get surprised if they see someone else inside. Watching them strut along the hallway like they own the place makes me laugh every time!
There are a couple of items that have helped us out immensely since moving into the flat with the dogs. Firstly our drying coats have been a lifesaver, especially when you live in a small apartment. We pop them on the dogs after a walk and they dry in no time. Woody and Hen are also both crate trained now, something they learnt later in life. Don’t believe the myths that you can’t crate train an adult dog, my two were both over 2 before they were taught! There’s also a huge misconception that crates are cruel. While their appearance does seem menacing, I think they’re great. The crate means the dogs have their own mini bedroom to sleep in at night, which they love. They (we have multiple) also provide the perfect den to retreat to during the day for a bit of quiet time.
On the whole I love living here with the spaniels. We spend so much time exploring outdoors that actually a smaller living space is perfect for us. Our location primes us for more adventures than ever before. I’m so grateful to be a stone’s throw from the sea. As with any forever home, it’s important to find the right dog for your lifestyle so do your research! You may have to compromise on factors like breed size, particularly if you live in a smaller space. However, in my eyes there’s no real reason why dogs can’t happily live in flats. Just remember, wherever they live and whatever their past, it’ll take your dog a while to settle in and feel completely at home!
What do you think about dogs that live in flats? Have you ever lived with a dog in an apartment before?
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