Dalmatians are notoriously hyper dogs. So, when I mention that my fiancé, Jesse, and I live in a studio apartment in the heart of the city with our Dalmatian, Ernie, people often respond with a look of surprise, skepticism, or shock. Sometimes it’s an amusing mixture of all three. Fortunately for us, Ernie is at the calmer end of the hyperactivity spectrum. Yet, while our little guy can chill with the best of them, he’s still a pup at heart and certainly has his fair share of energy.
With this in mind, Jesse and I moved into our shoe box apartment three years ago with Ernie’s energy and activity levels top of mind. We’re very diligent about taking him out at least 5 times daily, including several walks of at least 20-30 minutes, if not longer — yes, even in these glorious Boston winters. We’re also lucky to live so close to multiple dog parks and the Boston Common, where Ernie can run off leash and play with other pups to his heart’s desire. There are also plenty of parks and trails in the city or just outside of it that we take him to from time to time.
Getting Ernie out of the apartment has also come naturally in many respects because he’s so integrated in our daily lives. He often comes to work with me downtown, is always a big help when we’re working in our community garden plot, goes shopping with us at Boston’s many pet-friendly stores, and joins us when we visit family and friends around the city, state, or up in my fiancé’s hometown in Vermont. Ernie is a champ on public transportation as well and thoroughly enjoys the constant stimulation he gets from the many people he meets and interesting smells he encounters.
We’re also grateful for the wonderful community of people we have met on Instagram, which has given us the opportunity to meet up for play dates and fun events in and around the city. There tends to be lots of dog-specific or dog-friendly events around cities like Boston, so building a community on Instagram and doing some additional research will open plenty of doors in that regard.
When it’s too humid out in the summer or dangerously cold or icy out in the winter, Jesse and I do our best to stimulate Ernie inside the apartment. He’s got plenty of balls to throw around, toys to play tug-of-war with, and puzzles to solve. He is also easily riled up and will chase us (or the vacuum) around the apartment until he gets tuckered out.
Living with a Dal in the middle of the city ended up being much more manageable than we ever imagined. It just takes planning, diligence and a little creativity to pull it off. If you’re considering raising an energetic pup in the city, never fear. You can do it! Just be sure you’re committed to getting your pup out of your place and as much exercise, socialization and stimulation as possible every day. Take advantage of the people, parks, Instagram community, and other resources around you. If Ernie, Jesse, and I can do it, anyone can. We’ve got faith in you!
Have you raised a high-energy dog in an apartment? Leave your tips in the comments!