I love hearing my dogs bark. Dolly delivers a throaty howl whenever the doorbell rings, and Spot yips in frustration if his pool toy or ball sits too long at someone’s feet. These sounds make me smile.
That said, I live in an apartment and fully understand that my neighbors may not share the love. I answer the door quickly and pay close attention during inside playtime. If only others were as considerate; I have moved twice to get away from excessive barking. With another move on the horizon, I put together the following five tips for finding a quiet dog-friendly apartment to help both myself and others who prefer to live in peace.
1. Read online reviews
Apartment review websites — Apartment Ratings, Apartment Reviews, and even Yelp — can provide insight into communities on your shortlist. Look for reviews that mention barking dogs and how management dealt with the situations. If you see an unpleasant pattern, avoid the complex altogether or discuss the complaints with the leasing agent when you tour the property.
2. Ask what policies exist for excessive barking
Communities that allow dogs typically require tenants to sign a pet agreement, which can include its own section on excessive barking. Ask to see the agreement during your visit to the leasing office. Look closely at both the rules and the penalties for breaking them, which can range from warnings and fines (if allowed by state law) to eviction in severe cases. Management also may involve the police, if local laws regarding excessive barking have any teeth. If the complex does not have a separate pet agreement, ask whether community noise regulations cover the issue, and ask about their enforcement.
3. Walk around the apartment community
An unescorted stroll after leaving the leasing office can offer additional insight. Walk random hallways and listen for barking dogs, making note of their unit numbers for when you must decide on a particular unit. Look for other signs of irresponsible dog owners, such as piles of poop in common areas. Excessive amounts also can point to a poorly maintained property and serve as a red flag.
4. Visit the desired unit several times
If you find an apartment community that appears to meet your expectations, visit the unit you want at least twice. When you do this depends on your lifestyle. I work from home, so I will stop by in the morning on a weekday to gauge the noise level and also later in the afternoon. If you work away from home, you may want to visit on a weekend to experience what the noise level will be during your precious hours at home. Also, don’t be afraid to knock on your potential neighbors’ doors and ask how they like their area of the complex.
5. Be blunt with the leasing agent
Certain leasing agents will tell you what you want to hear, while others will do their best to meet your expectations and avoid future problems. If you have a low tolerance for excessive barking, be upfront about it. I plan to let any leasing agent I deal with know that if I am made miserable by a barking dog, I will share that misery with management until the situation gets resolved.
Keep in mind that no apartment community that allows dogs will be bark-free, and you wouldn’t want to live in one that didn’t allow its four-legged residents the occasional outburst of emotion.
If you can recommend quiet dog-friendly apartment communities, or if you have additional tips to offer, please do so in the comments!