Tuesday, November 18, 2014

City Dog: The Benefits of Living in a Smaller Space with Bigger Dogs

For all the years we lived in our 2-bedroom with our 2 big pups (plus the occasional foster!) we always thought things would be so much better if we just had a bigger space.
And I think that a lot of people in the city are hesitant to get large dogs because they feel the same way.
Now that we have that bigger space, we're realizing that there actually are a lot of benefits to having dogs in smaller space.
And since we've tried both, this is what we've figured out:

Being Able to Monitor:
If you have a smaller space, you are always able to know where your dogs are and what they're doing.   When our pups first came to live with us, and even as we've been fostering, we've been able to intercept any destructive chewing or human-food gathering because we could hear it happening and we can stop it before it became an issue.
With our larger space it becomes more difficult because we're separated by so much space we don't know anything has been happening until after the destruction has been done (especially by a sly "Serial Shoe-chewer" that lived with us over the summer).
I also like being able to know where the pups are at all times. Living in a smaller space, there were only about 2 places they could be. Though now that we have 3 levels, sometimes I really need to look for them. Which was especially frightening the time some workers came and left the back gate open and I was frantically searching for the pups who were safely sound asleep in our bedroom.

Being Separate without Being Separated:
While we never thought about it in our smaller space, our pups generally like being with us at all times. Which is nice, until we run upstairs to get something and they follow us up, and back down, and up again when we realize we forgot something else. And this is becoming harder for our older dogs (but they still insist on doing it anyway).
We also found our fosters were more likely to feel comfortable in their crates when they realized we were all nearby. They show a lot more anxiety if they need to be separated on another level and they can still hear us, but they're not able to see us.

Cleaning Issues:
I really enjoy cleaning, and I developed a whole routine of preventative measures to make cleaning easier. And it worked in our small space!
Though in our larger space I'm realizing how much more space we now need to clean. Which would be an issue even in a pet-free home.
I really felt on top of the cleaning when we were in our smaller space and now it's just completely overwhelming.

We've seen it from both sides, but we're always curious to hear about other people's experiences.
What are some benefits you've realized from living in a smaller space or larger space?

Some Other Small-space Related Posts:
How we solved the problem of having large crates in a smaller space.  And made them pretty.
When we figured out we don't really need a yard.
How we keep our pups happy and exercised.
Keeping our small home from looking like an aisle of PetSmart.
Being considerate of shared-wall neighbors.

Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and story lines beyond the blog.


Katherine said...

I have been a one dog woman for a while now. Karma my sweet 8 year old pitty loves to be playful with other dogs. I acquired another dog several months ago. Gigi the Beagle sized Golden Retriever is on the opposite side of the spectrum to sleepy couch potato Karma. High energy Gigi must have doors closed off to other rooms and a gate is at the foot of the stairs to my bedroom. This is very inconvenient for Karma who would like nothing better than to sleep on the bed all day. Both dogs get along great.They have their playtime triggered within each other at the same time - for a half hour before bedtime... Yes they both sleep with me on the bed. Gigi is very insecure. I have had to make my house smaller by shutting doors especially for house training Gigi, cause she will go anywhere. I have to shut the bathroom doors since she has fun with tissue in wastebaskets. Oh the love of high energy dogs...

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Good points! I totally agree. I raised Kaya & Norman in a tiny studio apartment. Looking back, it could not have been more perfect for puppy training. There was only one main room with faux wood & linoleum floors. Plus our own private small yard. Also, the yard backed up to a busy walking street so it was really useful to teach them not to bark at people & dogs going by.

That being said, I was so relieved to move to a normal sized house:)

OG said...

Great post! Petey doesn't get into trouble like he used to as a puppy, but if I had more rooms with more couches, I'm sure he would appropriate them :)
And throwing a ball across the main/long L of my L shaped studio provides enough romping room :)

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