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Can Labradors Live as Apartment Dogs?

When you are looking to get a new puppy, it is important that you notice the size and the location of where you plan for the puppy to call home.  It is important to make sure that you are living in a place that is safe and perfect for your puppy.

Can Labradors Live as Apartment Dogs? Labrador dogs can live in apartments as well or better than other dogs.  With a little bit of training, you will find that your Labrador Retriever can be a perfect dog for an apartment.  Even though it seems that a Labrador would take over, such as a small area, the truth is that Labrador Retrievers are dogs that are easy to adapt to small places. 

With the right amount of exercise and training your Lab to get used to the different sounds and the different people that they will see around the apartment, you can rest assured that your Lab will make the perfect component to your apartment living. 

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Here are some things that can help you decide about your Lab living in an apartment:

  • Labs need the same amount of space as any other dog.
  • Exercising your Lab will help them stay calm.
  • Setting aside time for outside time, potty time, and exercise time will help your Lab to adapt to the apartment setting.
  • Your dog will love the extra attention from your apartment neighbors.
  • The favorite place for your Lab is right next to you and so keeping them occupied will be easy in any setting.

Keeping a Labrador Retriever in an apartment might sound a bit overwhelming, but the truth is, a Labrador can be just as happy in a small environment as a Terrier can.  With the right training and by giving your Lab the attention that he or she needs, living in an apartment can be a good thing.

Labs Need the Same Amount of Space as Other Dogs

It may sound false when you say that a Labrador doesn’t need any more space than any other dog, but it is the truth.  As a matter of fact, some smaller dogs spend more time running around and barking at apartments than Labrador Retrievers do. 

As a matter of fact, Labrador Retriever dogs are so loyal and caring to their owner that their most favorite place to be is at your feet or beside you.  If you are sitting in the computer room working on a paper, the chances are that you will see your Lab sitting right next to you or possibly even right on your feet. 

Most Labs want to be close to their owner, and they will move from room to room whenever you move to your next area, just so he or she can be close to you.

Exercising Your Lab Will Help Them to Stay Calm

It is important that you exercise your Labrador; rather, they are living in a 5,000 square foot home or if they are living in a small apartment.  Exercising them not only helps to keep them calm, but it also helps to keep them healthy and in the right weight that they should be. 

Labrador Retrievers need different amounts of exercise, depending on their age.  Here is a guideline to help you know how much you should exercise your Lab. 

  • 0-3 Months Old-In the first few months of life, Labradors do not need to have a vigorous exercise plan, but they do need to be taken out to play and to have fun.    It should always be in your mind to keep your Labrador moving and playing, teaching them that movement is necessary and fun.
  • 3-6 Months Old-When a Labrador gets between the ages of 3-6 months of age. They need to be outside more and more.  One rule of thumb is to take your dog outside for 5 minutes for every month of age that they are.  This can help you to know that you are giving them enough outdoor exercise regularly.  Of course, that is just a guide, if your puppy is more active, taking them out for longer periods all through the day can help them to burn off excessive energy.
  • Adult Labrador-When, your Labrador, gets into adult age. It is important that you continue to give your dog plenty of exercises.  An adult Labrador should get no less than 45 minutes of exercise a day, but it is better if you can give them around 2 hours of exercise per day to keep them healthy and calm.

Set Aside Outside Time Around the Apartment

Make sure that you spend time with your Labrador outside the apartment area.  It is important that your Lab knows and understands that this is his or her home and that he or she can feel that they are part of the apartment area.  

Take your dog down and up the apartment stairs and let them see where they live.  Take them outside to the playground area or walk around the block.  Teach your Labrador to meet people that they live close by, too, and train them to not bark or jump on their neighbors. 

Introduce your Lab daily to new things around the apartment so that they can get accustomed to different sounds and different people. 

Take extra time with potty training so that you do not have to deal with messes happening inside of the home.  Here are some tips with potty training while living in an apartment:

  • Take smaller puppies outside more often.
  • Make sure you have a designated area inside the apartment for times your dog cannot make it outside.
  • Consider using potty pads for emergencies.
  • Feed your Lab at the same time every day.
  • Find a designated spot outside for your puppy to use the bathroom and always take them there.
  • Clean up after your puppy.
  • Use the words “go potty” when they are in the spot you want them to use.
  • Reward your puppy for using the bathroom outside.
  • Confine your puppy if you are gone for long periods of time, put down a potty pad.
  • Clean up any accidents that your puppy has so that they do not go back to the same spot to use the bathroom.

Meet the Neighbors

Always be considerate of the neighbors that are living in your apartment complex.  If you have neighbors that love to see your dog, make special trips around their apartment so that your Lab can make friends with the neighbor. 

Do not allow your Lab to be around people that he or she is aggressive towards and reward kind behavior from your Lab, especially towards your neighbors and small children. 

Start training your Lab immediately, not to bark when people are around, and figure out ways to reward them when they behave appropriately towards your neighbors.

Your Lab Wants to Share Your Space

As we mentioned above, it is important that you understand that your Lab just wants to be close to you.  Allow them to follow you around the apartment and let them find their perfect spot in any of the rooms of your apartment. 

Let your Lab understand that the apartment is their home and that they are free to be in any room as long as they are following the rules.

Guide to Keeping Your Lab Safe and Happy in an Apartment Environment

If you are planning on living in an apartment with your Lab dog, it is important to make sure that you are prepared and willing to work through all of the kinks.  Here are some great tips to help you and your Labrador prepare for apartment living:

  • Keep a check on chewing habits.
  • Remember to keep your Lab groomed.
  • Training your Lab is essential in apartment living.
  • Give your Lab a lot of attention.

Chewing Habits

Labrador Retrievers are very loyal dogs, but one thing that is true about most of them is that they love to chew on things.  This behavior is normal for any dog but is especially true for Labrador breeds. 

Most of the chewing that you will see from Labs is when they are teething.  During this time, Labs will find things that they can chew on to help get rid of some of the discomforts.  They will chew on things such as:

  • Furniture
  • Shoes
  • Clothing
  • Baseboards

Since a Lab puppy’s teeth are very small and sharp, this can cause a lot of destruction to the home.  Since living in an apartment means that you do not actually own the area, it is important to make sure that your Lab is not destroying the home.  There are a few things that can be done to help redirect the chewing, such as:

  • Purchasing toys that are perfect for Lab puppies.
  • Moving things that the puppy can chew.
  • Use some type of natural ingredient on the furniture legs to encourage them not to chew on it.

Purchasing Toys

It is important that when you purchase toys for your Lab puppies that you are getting toys that are safe for your dog.  Some toys come apart easily, and they are not safe for a puppy with very sharp teeth.  Make sure that the toys that you purchase will not pose a choking hazard for your puppy.

Finding toys that allow the puppy to push out treats is one of the best toys that you can buy.  The Lab will work and chew on the toy until the treats come out, and then they will do it again.  This will not only keep your puppy happy, but it will keep them occupied and busy with that toy so they will not want to chew on other things.

Limited Chewing Opportunities

Make sure that you move things that your Lab can chew on.  Move socks and shoes into closets and put away anything that your puppy might think looks appetizing. 

If you are going to be out of the apartment for long periods of time, consider putting your puppy in a crate or using a barrier to keep them in one area.  Not only will this help to keep the chewing down, but it will also help to keep them safe and out of trouble while you are away.

Furniture Spray/Repellent

If you have a puppy that likes to chew on the legs of the furniture, try to find a way to deter them from this, such as a spray or repellent that you can spray on the legs.  Make sure that the ingredients are all-natural and safe for your puppy. 

If there is a flavor that you have noticed that your puppy does not like, use that on the legs of the furniture.  Eventually, they will grow out of most of their chewing habits.

Keep Your Lab Groomed

Labrador Retrievers are considered short-haired dogs, but they still shed a lot.  Even though they have short hair, they shed a lot during the beginning of spring when their coats are getting lighter for the summer months, and they also shed a lot during the end of fall when their coats are getting heavier for the winter months.

In order to keep your apartment in tip-top condition, always groom your Lab by brushing them on a regular basis.  It is important that you brush them every day in order to get off the loose hair and to make sure that their coat is shiny and healthy. 

Keeping your Lab groomed can also help to keep down any allergens that you or your family might have. 

Training is Essential

It is very important for you to train your dog, especially if you are going to be living in an apartment setting.  The best thing about Labrador Retrievers is that they are dogs that are very smart and very easy to train.

If you decide that you are going to train your Labrador on your own, it is important that you are patient and that you give them time to learn.  Even though training them is easier than other breeds, everything takes a little bit of time, and this does too.

When training your Lab, it is important that you consider some of these rules:

  • Pick a time where there are fewer distractions.
  • Start at an early age.
  • Training will help them handle their bodies better.
  • Lab training creates a stronger bond with you.

Fewer Distractions

It is important, especially if you are training your Lab from your apartment, that you pick a time where there are fewer distractions.  Try to avoid training when it is time for the school bus or when there are a lot of people that are outside your door. 

Consider this when outside, too; if the playground is busy, it might not be the best time to try to train your Lab.

Start Early

It is essential that you start training your Lab at a very young age.  You can do this by first teaching your puppy to be more socialized.  This is possible by showing your puppy new people and letting people pet and makeover your Lab. 

If there are children that are around the apartment complex, allow them to talk and pet your puppy.  This will help them to know and understand people and will help them to not be as ready to bark and to show off when strangers are around.

Training Will Help Them Handle Their Bodies Better

Some dogs are considered clumsy and have a hard time handling their bodies when they are running or playing.  By training your dog to follow commands, you are helping them to learn about their own bodies and helping them to be able to train their body to move the way that they want it to and to stay in control of it.

Lab Training Creates a Strong Bond

When you are training your dog, especially a Lab, it can help you to have a stronger bond with your dog.  By praising and making over your Lab when they do something right, it shows them how much you love them, and they will want to do what pleases you.

It is important for you to have a strong bond with your Lab if you want them to be the dog that you want them to be. 

How to Train Your Lab

In order to train your Lab for your apartment setting, it is important to remember these things:

  • Make sure to keep your dog socializing.
  • Give them plenty of exercises.
  • If you are having a problem training them, take them to an obedience class.
  • Always keep your rewards positive.
  • Be patient and repetitive.

Crate Training Your Lab in an Apartment

One way of training your puppy is to crate train them.  Crate training can be a method that will not only keep your dog safe when you are not around, but it can also be used to keep your dog in a confined area in a small place such as an apartment building.

Crate training also can help you to be able to potty train your puppy quicker and can help to eliminate accidents in your apartment while you are away from home.

Here are some tips on how to crate train your Lab:

  • Choose the Right Size Crate.
  • Make the Crate Personal.
  • Slowly Introduce Your Lab to the Crate.
  • Leave Your Dog in the Crate for a Short Time.
  • Leave Your Dog in the Crate for Longer Periods of Time.

Size of Crate

There are many different types of crates that are available at your local pet store.  Some of them are plastic, while others are metal.  When choosing the right crate, it is important to remember how big your dog is going to be.  A lab, for example, is considered a medium to large dog.  This means that eventually, even though your puppy might be small, he or she will get to a point where they are large and will not fit in a small crate.

Make sure that you purchase a crate that your dog will be able to stand up in, circle in, and lay in without being squished or without being uncomfortable.  If you are worried that the crate is too large for your puppy, purchase a crate with dividers so that you can open up the divider as the puppy gets bigger.  Remember, some dogs become very attached to their things, and if you purchase a crate that is too small, the dog may never sleep in another crate, even if he or she is too big.

Make the Crate Personal

Make sure that your Lab knows and understands that this is THEIR crate.  Do this by making sure that the crate is inviting and calming for your puppy.  Put in special blankets and toys that belong just to your Lab.  This will help them to realize that the crate is theirs and that it doesn’t belong to anyone else but them.

Remember that the crate is meant to be a safe place for your puppy and your puppy might spend a lot of time in it while you are out of the apartment, so make sure that it is inviting and safe for your Lab.

Slowly Introduce the Crate to Your Puppy

When you first begin crate training, your puppy will probably be a little anxious and worried about this new item.  Put some treats inside of the crate and a few toys and let the puppy explore the crate on its own.  This will allow the puppy to not feel that they are being punished but that they are getting something new and exciting.

When the puppy goes into the crate, praise them and talk about how exciting the crate is.  Be very animated and get the puppy excited.

Leave the crate open for a few days and let your Lab make their way in and out of the crate as it pleases.  This way, the crate can become familiar and a fun place to be.

Leave Your Dog in the Crate for Short Periods of Time

Once your Lab feels safe around the crate, now is the time to put them in for small periods of time.  Put in some treats and let your puppy go inside and shut the door.  Give your puppy a few minutes to get used to it, and when your puppy is calm and quiet, open the door.

Do this for longer periods of time each day until your puppy can go in and out without crying or being upset. 

As your puppy gets used to the crate, walk out of the room once they are in it and locked in, and then come right back to the room.  This will give the puppy confidence in the crate and help them to know they are safe and that you are coming back. 

Leave Your Dog in the Crate for Longer Periods of Time

After your dog gets used to short periods of time, you can start leaving them for longer periods of time.  Start with a couple of hours here and there and then move to overnight. 

Once your puppy gets used to the crate, you can start leaving the door open, and you will find that they like to go in there just to sleep or play.

Are Labrador Retrievers High Energy?

This last question is one of the most important questions for having a Lab in an apartment.  Labs do have high energy, but even though they have high energy, it does not mean that they are constantly full of energy.  If you have a Lab and you plan on moving to an apartment, the best thing that you can do to control that energy is to take them outside for daily exercise.

Remember that your Lab needs to exercise at least an hour a day, and even better 2 hours.  Some dogs are more high energy than others, and so it is important to decide how much exercise your Lab will need and what you can do to help get rid of some of that energy.

If you have an area in your apartment area to take your Lab to run, it is best that you can do it there so that the Lab can get used to the place around them and know that it is their apartment just as much as it is yours.


Having a Lab living in an apartment is something that some people would think wouldn’t work, but this isn’t true.  A Lab can live in a small apartment just as easily as any small breed dog.  The important thing is to make sure that you follow the guide and that you work to train your dog, give it lots of exercises and show it a lot of love and compassion.

Just because you want to move to an apartment does not mean that you have to give your Lab away.  Labs can make great apartment dogs with just a little bit of time and patience.