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Keeping My Dog in an Apartment: Creating responsible and dog friendly condos

Condo living has pros and cons, leaving some pet parents to ask whether they can keep my dog in an apartment at a condo, and how does responsible pet ownership work for a dog in a condo? Is there a way to create a dog friendly condo that’s mindful of the needs and preferences of all residents? How can boards create a dog friendly condo community that reduces the top complaints about having a dog in apartment living?

Condo communities, property managers, boards, and residents frequently struggle when deciding on how dog friendly condo life should be for all residents, and balancing the needs and perspectives of dog lovers with their counterparts. A common issue is that not all pet parents are responsible, and the impact of such pet owners are especially visible in high-density living.

An especially visible consequence of negligent pet ownership is the pet waste that one may find outside, whether it’s on the condo’s property, neighboring areas, or parks. Many would consider this to be their biggest "pet peeve" - pun intended!

But is the answer just between a yes and no when boards must decide whether their corporation is a dog friendly condo? For those boards and residents asking “what can I do about keeping my dog in an apartment”, there are solutions that bring together the best of both worlds! 

Let’s explore how to create a dog friendly condo together, so all residents can benefit from responsible pet ownership!

Keeping My Dog In An Apartment: Responsible Pet Ownership and Dog Friendly Condo Living

No Pets Allowed or Better Pet Parent Accountability?

We love our pets, and you don’t have to look hard to find a slew of health benefits associated to having a pet. Research shows everything from lower levels of stress, decrease risk of asthma in children, and links to lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, having a dog in a condo doesn’t just mean acknowledging the health benefits for the owner, but also the community impact of irresponsible pet ownership when keeping a dog in an apartment in a condo corporation.

Is your condo dog-friendly? Be sure to check out the governing documents, as some may have rules on whether dogs are permitted and whether there are any additional pet rules, requirements, or considerations.

Not a Dog Friendly Condo:  “No Pets Allowed” in Condominiums?

With a huge pet parent demographic and tremendous health benefits to having pets; why are some condominiums “no dogs allowed”, and others moving in that direction?

The answer is simply that “not everyone is a lover of pets” - and that’s ok. 

Some residents are allergic to dogs, have issues with barking, and/or have a fear of dogs.  But, the single most reported issue and frustration among residents; regardless of pet ownership are “pet parents not cleaning up after their pets” (a very understandable issue). 

In an article written by Sarah Jeanne Terry, “Why Don’t Some People Pick Up Their Dog’s Poop”, she discovered studies published in the Journal of Applied Psychology  which “found that pet owners only picked up after their dogs slightly more than 60 percent of the time. The Study also concluded that those who don’t pick up, also frequently lie about it”. 

We have to admit, that is not a great statistic, and pet owners must do better at respecting the requirement to pick up after their pooches, especially when there’s a dog in an apartment and plenty of neighbours to share the condo’s communal space with.

Deterring Irresponsible Dog Owners in Condos

Is the idea of accountability key to keeping a dog in a condo and dog friendly condo living?

The same article references Caroline Zink, “Why the Brain Follows the Rules”, stating “Most of us follow social norms because we worry about punishment on the other end of things. For example, people worry they might be judged or fined for leaving behind poop. However, when the threat of punishment is removed, people tend to disregard social norms”.

How to Achieve Pet Parent Compliance in Apartment Living: A Solution for Dog Friendly Condos, Stratas, and HOA’s

Get ready, we’re about to bring science and pet parents together to create a dog friendly condo!

Dog DNA Registration has been around for more than a decade. In its simplest form; a Dog DNA Registration Program is the ability to precisely match pets, parents and their unscooped waste. It’s not a type of breed DNA test. It’s the DNA specific to each dog, just the same as your human DNA is unique to you!

And, as a bonus, it’s used for lost and found pets as well, so DNA registration of your dog has many benefits!

The Condo’s Fee of Creating a Dog Friendly Condo: FREE!

Now a property manager or board might say, “Residents won’t volunteer their pets DNA” or “that appears difficult or costly”. All that changed in Fall 2018, when PooPrints Canada released a new set of Pet Rules incorporating Dog DNA Registration specifically for Ontario condominiums, prepared by Lash Condo Law firm.

The new Pet DNA Registration Rules are designed to deliver a mandatory and enforceable pet parent compliance program at no cost to condominium corporations. Adjacent property agreements were added to expand protection from neighboring pet parents.

There are no set-up costs for the program.  It is simply the cost of the Cheek Swab DNA kit (which is $69.95 per dog at the time of publishing this post), which is usually charged-back to the condo owner or tenant.  Should there be an incident requiring waste to be sent to our lab, the waste collection kit per incident ($109.95.) is also back-charged once the offending pet parent is identified.

Luckily, PooPrints has noticed that the great majority of our properties (over 90%!) never end up having to send in a sample - this is because the accountability created by the program is often enough of a deterrent for irresponsible pet parents keeping their dog in an apartment! 

This means that keeping a dog in a condo can be done in a manner that is respectful for everyone, keeps the property in a clean and pristine condition, and can create a dog friendly condo community for all!

Letting the Condo Rules Do the Work When Creating a Dog Friendly Condo

“It’s just easier - let the Pet Rules do the work.” says Garry Bradamore of PooPrints Canada. "You’ll notice a positive pet parent behavior change when the program begins. We’ve learned that the “accountability factor” is the key to a clean, healthy property resulting in happier residents and staff”, says Bradamore.  

Don’t forget that rules are different from policies and procedures! Be sure to implement this program effectively if considering it for your community, whether using the resources provided above or consulting a condo lawyer.

And That’s How You Responsibly Keep a Dog in an Apartment and Create a Dog Friendly Condo!

For more information on PooPrints® Dog DNA Registration for Ontario Condominiums visit our PooPrints profile on My Condo Vendor or 

-Garry Bradamore, President of PooPrints

Written by Garry Bradamore, Edited by Stratastic Inc.

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