Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pooches: Renting Apartments in the City with Big Dogs (and Pitbulls!)

We have been busy this week, so we are reposting some of our post that answers your most asked questions. Lately we've been getting a lot of questions from people wanting to move into the city. They are curious about the availability of rentals for large dogs, and pitbull-type dogs, and if there seem to be any issues transitioning a dog into a 'city lifestyle'. These are just some experiences we've had, but we would love to hear everyone else's thoughts and experiences.

 Apartment Availability:
 We've found ourselves quite lucky that Chicago is a very dog-friendly city, and most of the limitations seem to be size and weight limits rather than breed restrictions. Miss M and I lived in two apartments before moving into our condo with E. Miss M and I lived in a building with 3 Labs, an Akita and a blind Cocker Spaniel. We've also found several neighborhoods with a large population of pitbull-types dogs; there seem to be a lot in the Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, West Town areas (Chicago people...what else am I missing?)
We have also heard that it's easier to rent from a specific landlord who owns the building than trying to work with a management company.

Interviewing with a Landlord:
Our first landlord was actually hesitant to allow a pitbull-type dog, so Miss M actually had to 'interview'. Ok, it was really just showing up and letting the landlord meet her, but since she can be quite charming and persuasive, that was all she needed to move in. We've heard about people putting together portfolios with letters of reference, (from foster parents, former landlords, trainers), training certificates and photos for landlords who were hesitant to meet a dog. We also read this really great article from Bad Rap with many forward-thinking ways to work with landlords.

Choosing the Right Type of Rental:
We think the hardest thing about moving into the city, especially if your dog is accustomed to their own backyard, is learning to walk in the city. There are so many other dogs and distractions in the city, that it could be difficult for a dog to adjust if they're not used to all the bustle. If you have 2-3 dogs, it would be a good idea to look for a rental with a backyard option until you and the dogs can get accustomed to walking at the same time. It took me a really long time to learn to walk 2 dogs at the same time, and I've never been able to walk our dogs plus a foster. And going on that many walks can be exhausting.

We would love to hear everyone else's experiences about renting with dogs or transitioning into the city. Has it seemed to be an issue?

PS. Ideas on 'paying it forward' to make renting with dogs a positive experience so more landlords will begin accepting dogs.
What to know when moving your dog to the city
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DerbyAnn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DerbyAnn said...

I really love your Blog.. is so "refreshing" and positive for all pit-bull owners.
All of you (Ms M, Mr B and you the proud “papa and mama”.) made my day!

Unknown said...

We are fortunate that our condo building only has size restrictions and no breed restrictions too! Most neighbors are comfortable with Layla but it was really important for us to ensure that she has excellent elevator manners. And if there's someone in the elevator before us, we always ask if they are OK with dogs. Usually the answer is a puzzled look and "of course!" but we want to make sure that we are representing dog owners and especially pittie owners in a positive light! The winter months actually help too-- because Layla is usually dressed rather fashionably which I think puts folks at ease and is a good conversation starter :)

We actually made the move from the city to the 'burbs which has had its own interesting challenges. Layla actually does better in busy, active environments-- my theory is that there's so much going on she doesn't tend to focus on one particular thing. Where we live it's a bit quieter and not as well lit, so, particularly at night, Layla is a bit more on edge and will focus on any noise or shadows. We're working through this with lots of treats and positive reinforcement :)

Chill Out Spartacus said...

We are moving to Chicago this summer with our 57-lb bully mix (Boxer we think) and 35 lb corgi mix. The neighborhoods you listed are on our radar for coolness points already, so we're thrilled to hear they are large-dog friendly as well. Although it seems like having a yard can practically double the rent, we're pretty sure it's a requirement for us as our dogs acclimate to city life. Spartacus, our boxer/bully mix, is learning to manage his leash reactivity in the relatively quiet town of Athens, Ga, but we expect the high dog traffic of Chicago to be a bit startling at first.

We found your blog after stumbling across the Sociabulls facebook page as we prepare for this big move, and we're already eager to apply for membership. It sounds like the perfect tool for Spartacus to build confidence after missing out on some foundational socialization.

Thanks for your great post. We love Mr.B and Ms.M, the Sociabulls group, and all the sage advice you have for being a responsible dog owner!

Anonymous said...

If there are breed restrictions, ask anyway. They may be there to weed out folks who want a certain breed for the wrong reasons, and they're typically not the kind of renters a landlord wants to attract. Our dog loving landlord has restrictions on paper, but they are absolutely negotiable for responsible dog owners!

My Dog Barry said...

West Loop is also very dog friendly. I used to live in Lincoln Park, where it is super hustle and bustle, busy and crowded (but fun!). Moving to the West Loop has been a huge change for us. We're thankful we can walk Barry in the city but in a quieter and less crowded neighborhood than Lincoln Park. The building we live in encourages dog/pet ownership and there are no breed or size restrictions. There are nearby parks and on Madison most of the shops in the West Loop part are dog friendly too.

In general I think calling and talking to someone to find a dog/pet friendly apartment is a first step and most places are open to it!

Alyssa said...

Would anyone be willing to share the name of a landlord or two or apartments/condos that are friendly to all breeds? I have a senior rottweiler who is extremely friendly and I am having a difficult time finding any place at all that will allow rotties (even old, friendly ones). I am moving from Michigan to start an exciting career in Chicago. I've emailed and called many places and haven't had any luck. I've scoured the main websites (zillow, trulia, hotpads) and some obscure ones as well-mostly property management sites which you've recommended to avoid.

Thanks so much for any assistance you can provide. As it is, your article was very helpful.

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