If you’re considering moving into an apartment (or already are) you’ll want to know just how well a large dog like the Rhodesian ridgeback can adapt to apartment life, if at all. This article will explain everything you need to know.
Despite being such large dogs, Rhodesian ridgebacks can adapt to apartment life surprisingly well. With a well-planned routine along with sufficient exercise and time outside of the apartment, a ridgeback will be just fine.
Can a Ridgeback Live In An Apartment?
Although it seems unlikely, with enough consideration of your ridgeback’s routine and your own routine, you can make it work.
I personally have friends living in apartments with a Ridgeback that’s very healthy, happy, and has a great life. So it can be done.
Many other owners, and certainly breeders naturally go against the idea, and of course, I can see why. While apartment life is achievable, it’s true that it’s not ideal for such a large breed.
And although I do think it’s possible, there are times when it’s not advised or recommended. Let’s go through the scenarios of when it can work, and when it wouldn’t work.
When Ridgebacks Can & Can’t Live In Apartments
Let’s run through what it would take for this to work out well and why.
Your routine isn’t suitable
The first stumbling block for most would be having a full-time job that requires you to be out of the apartment for more than 3-4 hours at a time. A ridgeback shouldn’t be left alone more time than this anyway, but being inside an apartment (without an accessible yard) makes this situation even harder for them to cope with.
Being at the apartment will allow you to interact with your ridgeback, train, play, and keep him company. This is very important. If this isn’t achievable for you, then it will be very hard to keep your ridgeback happy and content inside an apartment.
No local area for exercise
If you’re choosing an apartment in the city, it’s important to know how far away the nearest dog park or suitable area for exercise is. If it’s unrealistically far, this would likely cause you to skip your ridgeback’s walks (at least few times). And this is not good enough.
Not only do you need to have the time to exercise your ridgeback around 2 hours per day (ideally once in the morning and once in the evening) but there needs to be a suitable place to go like a big park or open grassy space. Your ridgeback needs to run and have a lot of space, this can’t be achieved by keeping him on the sidewalk. If there are no parks nearby, it will be very difficult to make work.
If the neighborhood is too noisy
Rhodesian ridgebacks are very in touch with their survival instincts, and so if your neighborhood is not quiet and calm, then all the noise and commotion will keep your ridgeback on constant high alert. This will make their life stressful and full of anxiety, especially whenever you might need to leave them alone.
Your ridgeback must feel safe, secure, and calm in your apartment, and the neighborhood in which you live can have a dramatic impact on this.
Apartment block rules
Some apartment blocks might not even allow dogs, and some others, actually have a specific list of breeds that they will and won’t allow. So this is very important to check beforehand.
It’s also important to consult with your neighbors that share a wall with your apartment. They will need to know that you’re about to get a dog, and there might be some extra noise coming their way.
Additionally, your apartment block might have a yard, but it might not allow dogs to use it. These are all things that are important to consider beforehand.
Do Ridgebacks Need a Backyard?
One of the standout benefits of houses compared to apartments is that they usually come with a private backyard.
Having a backyard is of course a huge advantage when owning a dog, especially one that loves to run around and use as much space as they can, like a ridgeback.
The other advantage is potty training. Having a yard allows you to train your ridgeback to pee and poop outside while still on your own property. This is both more hygienic and convenient than dealing with this inside an apartment.
While it’s not a necessity for a ridgeback to have a backyard, it is preferred. If a ridgeback doesn’t have a backyard then more you’ll need to make up for this by spending more time outside of the apartment for exercise and potty breaks.
As long as your ridgeback receives sufficient exercise and time outside of the apartment, he’ll be for the rest of the time inside one.
Potty Training a Ridgeback Inside an Apartment
Unfortunately, no matter how often you go outside with your Rhody, you won’t be able to prevent every pee and poop from happening indoors. And while it’s never ever recommended to train a dog to eliminate inside the home, there’s no other choice for apartment owners.
You’ll need to train your ridgeback to pee and poop in a small corner of the apartment on some kind of disposable potty mat or tray that contains the pee/poop and is easy to clean.
This can be achieved by simply taking your Rhody there as often as possible to eliminate, using a chosen “potty time” command, and praising heavily whenever he successfully goes in the correct spot. With time, your ridgeback will learn that’s where he goes to pee and poop.
The Most Important Factor
Whether or not your Rhodesian ridgeback can successfully live in an apartment, comes down to one thing: How much time you have.
If you have the available time, then you can take your ridgeback outside for exercise as much as needed, you can go for extra walks, train him, play, interact, keep him stimulated, and make your Rhody’s life ideal. Living in an apartment will not take anything away from his ability to feel fulfilled and happy.
Sure, apartments are generally much smaller, but as long as you have the time, don’t mind sharing the space, and prioritize your ridgeback, then nothing else matters.
Some owners will never agree with a ridgeback living in an apartment, and other owners are already doing it very successfully. I’m not here to command or tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, if your routine allows for it, then go for it!
Recommended read: How much are Rhodesian ridgeback puppies?
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