Keeping Roommate & Landlord Happy with Your Dog

This is a quick checklist of areas in which you must exercise thought and effort to prevent your dog from having an unpleasant impact on your roommates (or landlord), thereby preventing you & your dog from becoming unwelcome or evicted. (although written with the Bouvier in mind, this material would apply to any dog.)



by Pam Green (copyright 1994)

This is a quick checklist of areas in which you must exercise thought and effort to prevent your dog from having an unpleasant impact on your roommates (or landlord), thereby preventing you & your dog from becoming unwelcome or evicted. This is based on many years of living with human roommates (who had dogs of their own) in a rented house. Actually most of these rules are just as applicable if you own the house and are the sole human resident as these rules go a long way to prevent your dog from having an unpleasant impact on yourself.

Train your dog in basic obedience and household manners. Keep this training "refreshed" and teach your roommates how to command, correct, and praise the dog for all basic commands.

Train your dog to live peacefully with all other pets in household, especially cats and birds. Correct your dog with all vehemence needed to convince him that chasing or molesting such co-pets is utterly taboo !! Provide dog gates (stretch gates) needed to impede any chases. Keep closed door between dog and cat or bird when you are not present to supervise.

Housebreak your dog and provide adequately frequent potty breaks outdoors or provide dog door and safely fenced yard. If your landlord is reluctant to have you cut into his door to insert a dog-door, simply ask permission to take his door off, store it safely, and replace it with a door of your own purchase for the duration of your tennancy, restoring the original door when you move out. Poop-scoop every day at least once a day and dispose of poop where it will not be offensive to anyone. If the potty area is shared with tennants from other units, who might not be dog lovers, you must scoop or bag all poop ASAD (as soon as deposited) and remove it to a proper disposal place.

Exercise your dog adequately to use up any excess energies that might otherwise lead to undesirable activities, eg chewing, indoor over-vigorous romping, outdoor hole digging, etc. Especially exercise well before leaving dog home alone for some hours. If your roommates have dogs , it may be possible to excercise all the dogs together, allowing each roommate to help the others in this regard.

Confine your dog sufficiently to prevent undesirable home alone amusements. If your dog is at all prone to chewing, garbage can raiding, or any other undesirable home alone behavior, either confine him to your own bedroom or else crate him. Also work on training and behavior modification to eliminate such behaviors. Increase vigorous outdoor exercise : a tired dog is a peaceful dog.

Groom your dog and bathe as needed to keep him nice looking, sweet smelling, flea-repelling, and pettable. A matted or dirty dog is repellant, even to those who like dogs, and inevitably some of the dirt is transferred to furniture and floors. Comb and/or brush dog thoroughly at least 3 times a week, and deposit pulled out hair into waste basket or outdoor trash can. "Nilodor" shampoo is good for odor control and is formulated to be OK for dog's skin. (Update note : use Advantage or Frontline to prevent your dog from being a flea factory.)

Reduce amount of dirt dog brings into home. In foxtail season, keep foot hair closely clipped and rest of dog trimmed to 1" or less to reduce transport of foxtails into home. In irrigation season or rainy season, ie when wet and mud are potential problems, keep foot hair closely clipped and leg & underbody trimmed to 1" or less to reduce mud transported into home ; also stop on back porch to towel off the worst of it. In warm weather, a dirty dog can be hosed off outdoors and kept outdoors until dry again. I'd also recommend putting washable bedspreads over any furniture the dog is allowed to get up upon -- or that the dog sneaks up on when no one is supervising -- to reduce dirtying of that furniture.

Do more than your share of housework to compensate for the more than your (equal) share of house dirtying that your dog contributes. Eg take an extra turn with the vacuum cleaner. Or take over some chore that your roommates especially hate to do. Let them know that you regard the extra work as something you are doing on behalf of your dog. (See also "Pet Clean-Up Made Easy" by Don Aslett, Writers Digest Books, $9 paperback) (Update and confession : thank Goddess my roommates' dogs were contributing just as much dirt as mine. And none of us were fond of housework so we hired someone to do it and split the costs.)

Provide adequate flea control to home and dog. I especially recommend doing a thorough flea "bombing" ("fogging") with a product containing a good Insect Growth Regulator such as methoprene ("Precor") or fenoxycarb in the Spring before the beginning of really warm or hot weather. This will prevent flea population explosion within the home through the summer, as the IGR prevents eggs and larvae from maturing into adults. You may need to bomb twice a year, or use a spray containing IGR on pet bedding and other flea hostels. On bomb day also wash all pet bedding and add flea dip to the rinse cycle. To protect the dog himself from fleas, spray him as often as needed with Avon "Skin So Soft" diluted 1 part "SSS" to about 8 parts water ; this is quite repellant to fleas and mosquitos, and it is very safe for the dog and those who pet him. (See also "How to Control Fleas with or without Insecticides" by Ted Kuepper, TK Enterprises, $5 paperback) (UPDATE note : the foregoing has been rendered obsolete by the advent of Advantage and Frontline.)

Feed dog a quality dog food which is easily digestible, thus less productive of flatulence. Bouviers are somewhat more prone to flatulence than most other breeds, and some people find these "poison gas" attacks objectionable. I suggest a lamb and rice kibble, such as Nature's Choice or similar brand, to be less gas producing. Avoid foods heavy in soy or corn. If necessary, try the new product "Curtail" also sold under name "Beano", which claims to be an anti-fart remedy. Also consult your vet about possible digestive disorders (eg pancreatic insufficiency) or internal parasites, which might contribute to the problem.

Finally, recognize that as you ask your roommates to be considerate of your beloved dog and tolerant of inconveniences associated with the dog's presence in the shared home, you must in return be considerate and tolerant towards your roommates' pets or other inconvenient activities. What goes around, comes around. Living together means compromise and tolerance, ideally with each roommate is willing to "go more than half-way" to accommodate the others.

If you are renting, make sure to be an ideal tennant in every other way. Be nice to your landlord and let him know that you appreciate having a "dog friendly" place to rent. A few kind words can go a long way.

Be prepared : be willing and able to move out if ever that becomes nescessary due to conflicts or any other reason. Be aware of availability and costs of alternative housing, and build up your savings account to be prepared for a possible future emergency move (and possible kennel board bills to tide you over a housing gap). Your dog is absolutely dependant on you to be his friend and protector throughout his life, which includes providing a home you can both share.

Remember :
      "a roommate is only a roommate,
      but your dog is your buddy for life ! "


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 4/12/03 revised ?/?/03
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