Are you a dog owner who rents a home? Finding a rental where you can have a dog is the hard part. Now that you have figured out your living situation, it's important to take the proper steps so you do not lose the privilege to live with pets. Some renters give dog owners a bad name, making it even harder for dog owners to find rental homes. Here's how you and your dog can be great tenants.
How to Live in a Rental With Your Dog
First and foremost: no matter where you live, it is essential that you act as a responsible dog owner. Your neighbors don't enjoy hearing your dog bark constantly, and they certainly do not want to step in his waste. Always pick up after your dog; not doing so is that fastest way to make enemies of your neighbors. Don't leave your dog alone for long periods of time so he get bored and, in turn, becomes vocal and/or destructive. You should only let your dog run loose in designated off-leash areas, and be sure he is supervised at all times. Bottom line: if the word on the street is that your dog is a nuisance, it's bound to get back to your landlord. This could mean lots of fees and even termination of your lease. It can also ruin your chances of finding another place to rent with your dog.
If your dog has even the slightest tendency towards destruction, your best bet is crate training. It's one thing for your dog to chew up your personal belongings. It's an entirely different issue if your dog rips up hundreds (or thousands) of dollars worth of carpeting. Someone has to pay to replace it, and that someone is you. If your dog cannot stay in the crate while you are gone, consider doggie daycare or hiring a pet sitter to check in and walk your dog periodically.
Be sure to immediately repair any minor damages caused by your dog, such as scratches on doors and walls, minor carpet tears, messes, etc. If your dog causes some kind of major damage, the best thing you can do is report it right away and offer to pay for the repair or replacement. Apologize, then explain to the landlord or rental office how you are making the necessary changes to prevent further damage. If you try to hide the damage, your landlord is bound to find out eventually anyway, and it won't make you look so good.
Here's another reason to be a good pet-owning tenant: references. If your landlord has a good experience with you as a renter and pet owner, he is likely to pass on a good reference to your next landlord. This can make renting with a dog an easier experience for you the next time around.