You need to follow certain etiquettes to ensure that your dog and your neighbours can live harmoniously in your apartment complex. By Vinita Nayar.
Living in an apartment complex is all about compromising and adjusting so that you can live amicably with people from different backgrounds, communities, beliefs and outlooks. It can be tough to navigate all the rules that each apartment complex sets down and to smile at or ignore that pesky neighbour. But it has to be done!
When you have pets, especially dogs, be prepared for trouble. There will be a few, or even many, people in the complex who do not like dogs. Your apartment may have rules that pets are not allowed. However, don’t let that deter you. Legally, no apartment complex can ban you from having pets.
Some of the rules set by the Animal Welfare Board of India in their recent circular are:
- Despite other tenants being in consensus about not allowing pets in the apartment, a ban on owning pets is illegal and can’t be enforced on tenants.
- They can’t pass any such notice regarding the size or breed of dogs which will be accepted in the apartment, while others are rejected.
- The barking of pet dogs won’t be considered as a valid reason to ban dogs from the apartment. However, pet owners are advised to try their best in keeping their dogs quiet, especially at night.
- Apartment associations can’t pass any laws against pets using the elevators or lifts or impose a fine on tenants whose pets use said elevators or lifts. However, if an alternative lift already exists in the apartment, pet owners are advised to use it for convenience.
- Pets can’t be outright banned from gardens, parks and other public spaces.
Nevertheless, as a pet owner in an apartment complex, you need to ensure that your dog causes little or no inconvenience to neighbours. This will go a long way in getting your neighbours to accept and maybe even begin to love dogs.
Always take your dog out on a leash: Many people are afraid of dogs. When they see the dog on a leash, they are reassured that the dog cannot attack them. You may know that your dog is friendly; a stranger will not. Plus, if you have a hyper-friendly dog, who loves to run up to people or jump on them, then you most certainly need to keep him on a leash.
Be accommodating: You may be standing to wait for the lift and a neighbour who is scared of dogs may come along. When the lift arrives, stay back and allow them to go. Wait your turn for the lift to come back. It’s a small gesture but goes a long way in promoting harmony. Over time, your neighbour may be okay with sharing the lift with you and your dog. I speak from experience!
Clean up after your dog: Carry a poop scoop, plastic packet or newspaper and clean up after your dog poops. After all, the kids in the apartment will be playing on the lawns, neighbours will take a walk along the roads. So, ensure that you cause the least nuisance to them.
Train your dog to pee on the side of the road: This is very important. You need to train your dog to relieve itself on the roadside and not in the centre of the road. It is not impossible to do this; all it needs is patience and persistence. My dogs never take a pee in the centre of any road; they always go to the side.
On barking: This is a tough one. Some dogs tend to bark more than others. And if you leave your dogs at home alone all day, chances are they will bark, especially the ones who have separation anxiety. This can become a pet peeve with your neighbours! If your dog has separation anxiety, speak to your vet. She will give you pointers or even meds to control it. Ideally, have someone at home to look after the dogs and keep them company.
Make sure your dog gets adequate exercise: When a dog is cooped up in a flat, she can get cranky. More so if you have a big breed dog. It’s up to you to ensure that she gets enough exercise. Take her for long walks in the early morning and at evening or night. If there is a space where she can run free, you could play with her, getting her to fetch a ball or her favourite toy. If your dog gets adequate exercise, chances are she will not bark or whine through the day.
All injections need to be up-to-date: Do ensure that your dog gets his prescribed shots. If, god help, your dog bites someone, the first thing the association will ask is whether your dog has had his shots. You could be in trouble if he hasn’t.
Let people know if your dog is not friendly: Many dogs are timid, scared or aggressive. The nervous or frightened ones can snap if strangers attempt to pet them. On the other hand, many dog lovers will just bound up to your pet to cuddle them, and this can make some dogs aggressive. Let your neighbours know so that you can prevent any untoward incident.
All it takes is a little care from our side to ensure that our dogs don’t trouble neighbours. And having well-behaved dogs will truly help in getting people to accept our canine pals. So, do your bit!