Are Golden Retrievers Good Apartment Dogs? (Surprising Answer)

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Want to know if you can have a golden retriever while living in an apartment?

Yes, potty training will be harder if you don’t live on the first floor, and yes, exercising them will be harder if they don’t have a backyard to run around in…

But if you’re prepared, you love your golden, and you’re willing to put in the work, then yes, golden retrievers can adapt to apartment living.

However, it won’t be easy, and it might not even be legal, so keep reading to see how to raise a golden retriever in an apartment.

How To Potty Train A Golden Retriever In An Apartment

The biggest problem most people have with owning a golden retriever while living in an apartment is potty training.

Golden retriever puppies need to pee often.

And by often, I mean as frequently as every hour.

Can you handle taking your pup outside every hour?

It might be tough, but here’s the good news: it won’t be for long and goldens can be potty trained relatively quickly.

If you follow these steps to potty train your golden retriever, they can be potty trained in as little as two weeks:

Step 1: Take your golden retriever outside often

If your puppy only goes potty outside in the grass, and never gets an opportunity to go in the house, then they’ll be potty trained quicker than one who has an accident inside every now and then.

Step 2: Take them to the same spot

Dogs like to go potty where they smell their previous business, so taking them to the same spot every time will help them know where to go.

Warning: this need can backfire on you when they have an accident, so see step 5 for how to manage it.

Step 3: Praise them for going outside

When they go where they’re supposed to go, throw them a little praise party and give them treats to let them know they’re doing the right thing by going potty there.

Step 4: Keep them constrained

When they’re in a crate, they most likely won’t have an accident, so you can use that to your advantage by putting them in there any time you can’t keep an eye on them.

Of course, don’t leave them in for too long, and right before and right after you put them in the crate take them outside.

Step 5: Handle accidents correctly

Like I said in step 2, dogs like to go where they smell their previous business.

If your pup has an accident in the house, clean it properly with an enzymatic cleaner, which gets rid of the stain (unlike regular soap and water) so your puppy can’t smell it anymore.

For more in depth information about potty training, read this blog post about how to potty train your golden retriever, and download the free potty training cheat sheet.

Potty Training With Pee Pads

Some people may decide to use pee pads to potty train their dog.

I’ve never used pee pads, so I can’t make any comment on how to use them, but I have heard many people don’t recommend them or regret using them.

You might not have an option, but at least do lots of research and careful consideration before choosing this route.

7 Tips To Use Up A Golden Retriever’s Energy In An Apartment

golden retriever apartment

The second biggest problem with having a golden retriever in an apartment is managing their energy levels.

When our golden retriever, Oliver, was a puppy, we lived in a small apartment.

He had TONS of energy and it was a little tough, but we made it work.

Here’s how:

Tip #1: Use puzzle toys

Puzzle toys, like these frozen kongs, are great for mentally exhausting your dog.

This is just as helpful at getting out your dog’s energy as physically exhausting them.

Tip #2: Train your golden

Training, like puzzle toys, makes your dog think, which is tiring and satisfying for them.

Tip #3: Go to the park

I’m not a huge fan of dog parks (we’ve had some bad experiences), but there were some empty baseball fields nearby that Oliver and I would sneak into and run around in.

Tip #4: Set up doggy playdates

My sister-in-law has a dog and whenever she and Oliver get together, he’s always wiped out after.

Tip #5: Play tug

Tug is a physical game that exerts energy, but doesn’t need a lot of space to play.

Tip #6: Take your golden to doggy daycare

One of my good friends has an energetic dog and lives in a tiny apartment in Boston.

He takes her to daycare three times per week while he’s at work, which gives her plenty of exercise.

Tip #7: Teach your dog to love chew toys

Chew toys are an excellent way for dogs to blow off some steam and entertain themselves.

P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

The Best Thing About Golden Retrievers Living In An Apartment

golden retriever apartment living

Golden retrievers shed a ton.

If you live in a big house, this can mean lots of sweeping and vacuuming

But not if you live in a small apartment!

The smaller the space, the less you’ll have to clean.

Golden Retriever Apartment Living FAQs

Are golden retrievers too big to live in an apartment?

Golden retrievers are on the bigger side (usually between 55-75 pounds).

This makes it a little harder for them to live in an apartment than, say, a five lb. chihuahua.

The biggest thing is their need for lots of exercise, but if you follow the tips above, you’ll be fine.

Will a golden retriever destroy an apartment?

If a golden retriever is anxious or not physically and mentally satisfied, they may become destructive.

You can stop destructive behaviors by confining them in a crate when they’re unsupervised and utilizing the tips in the section above about using up your dog’s energy.

Are golden retrievers allowed in apartments?

Some apartments may have rules about whether or not dogs are allowed.

They may have size limits or only allow certain breeds, so check with the office to make sure a golden retriever is allowed.

Are golden retrievers too loud for apartments?

Although a golden retriever has the record for the world’s loudest bark, golden retrievers are typically moderate barkers.

They also have frequent zoomies, which may be a little unpleasant for the neighbors downstairs.

So be sure to show your neighbors how sweet your golden is and remind them that they’re worth it.

Is it unhealthy for golden retrievers to live in an apartment?

Before your puppy gets their vaccinations, you’ll need to be extra careful about where you take them out for potty.

Try to avoid taking them to the same spot that everybody else’s dog goes potty, and talk to your vet about other things to avoid before they have their all of their vaccinations.

Can golden retrievers adapt to living in an apartment?

Golden retrievers who grew up in a house can adapt to living in an apartment as long as their energy needs are met.

Sure, there’ll be more trips to the park since you can’t just go in the backyard anymore, but it is doable.

Can rescue golden retrievers live in an apartment?

Some golden retriever rescues require a house with a fenced-in yard, so keep that in mind if you want to rescue a golden retriever.

Are some golden retrievers better for apartment living than others?

Not all golden retrievers are created equal.

Some goldens, like field bred golden retrievers, typically have more energy than those bred for the show ring.

So as you’re talking to potential breeders, you might want to ask them about how active their dogs are.


can golden retrievers live in apartments

Golden retrievers may be more difficult to raise in an apartment, but it’s not impossible.

Potty training will be harder, and you’ll need to be very intentional about getting them enough mental and physical exercise, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be done.

That being said, if you’re not willing to put in the work, that’s totally ok!

Golden retrievers aren’t for everyone and I’m glad you’ve discovered that before you got a golden.

Have any questions about raising a godlen retriever in apartment?

Have you had golden retrievers in an apartment?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you liked this article, you’ll like the complete guide to golden retriever puppies.

P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

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