Renter’s Tips to Hide a Dog from Your Landlord

Do you keep a pet dog in a no-pet apartment? Then this publication explains how to hide a dog from your landlord and not get caught. Hiding a pet dog is grounds for violation and possibly evading pet rent and deposit if the pet policy allows pets.

how to hide a dog from your landlord

Generally, it is a good idea to rent an apartment that allows pets. Keeping a dog in an apartment without pet-friendly policies can have you charged for any damages, evicted or you can be forced to give up your dog.

Hiding a pet dog for the long term can be challenging, so be prepared for the consequences. Otherwise, move to a new apartment.

How to hide a dog from your landlord

As a cynophilist (a dog lover), it is difficult to stay without your fur friend, so you want to go the length to keep and protect them.

Do the following to hide your dog from the landlord:

  1. Stop your dog from barking

Get rid of any motivation for barking to hide the dog in your apartment. Try observing the barking times of your dog barks or what makes it bark and avoid it to discourage barking.

For instance, if you notice that your dog barks at pedestrians, close your blinds. If it barks at music, then quit playing music in your apartment.

Dogs also typically bark when someone knocks or rings the doorbell. Do something to discourage guests from knocking or ringing the doorbell. Explain the situation to them if necessary.

You also want your dog to get enough physical and mental exercise daily. A tired dog is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration, according to the Humane Society. Dog neutering will also make your dog calmer.

  1. Give rewards for not barking

Try to ignore your barking dog. A dog could be barking to draw your attention, so giving it the attention encourages it to bark.

Just ignoring your dog will not stop it from barking. You want to immediately reward the dog with treats and praise when it stops barking. Try to engage in regular exercise and use puzzle toys to keep the dog occupied.

However, if your dog is barking too loudly in the apartment, you need to keep it quiet immediately.

If your dog learns you reward it for keeping quiet, increase the amount of time it needs to stay quiet before receiving a reward. Only follow this practice when outside the apartment to prevent other neighbors from suspecting that you keep a dog.

  1. Teach the quiet command

You can teach your dog to be quiet. First, teach the dog to speak.  You would have to encourage barking to teach your dog to speak. Reward your dog for barking while teaching it to speak.

Rewarding the barking should be in response to a command. When the dog knows “speak”, it can learn the “quiet” command.

Bring the dog away from your apartment to teach these commands. Allow your dog to bark when you say “speak”.

When the dog barks, say “quiet”, and then reward it when it stops barking. Repeat the lessons until your pet dog knows to stop barking when you say “quiet”.

Use the quiet command whenever your dog gets noisy in the rented apartment. Just say “quiet” when it barks at anything, including the doorbell, a knock on the door, or even when a car goes by.

  1. Move your dog when the landlord visits

Take your dog somewhere else whenever your landlord is visiting the apartment. You could have a friend or family member keep the dog for as long as the landlord is over.

A landlord is legally required to notify you before they enter your apartment, so they will not just enter the property without notification. Depending on your state, you should get at least a 24-hour notification.

  1. Walk the dog

You want your dog out of the apartment when the landlord is over, so dog walking is an option.

Your roommate can walk the dog for the duration of the inspection or the reason for the landlord’s visit.

When dog walking, your dog should walk at your side. A dog should not walk more than a few feet ahead of you to give you control if a distraction occurs. Consider getting a harness over a collar to redirect any straining onto the dog’s shoulders and chest instead of their neck.

  1. Clean dog hairs

Vacuuming and cleaning dog hairs are a great way to hide your pet dog from your landlord. Dog hairs are a sign that you have a dog hidden, which makes your landlord or inspectors suspicious.

Apart from vacuuming the floor, also concentrate on vacuuming furniture your dog accesses in your apartment. This includes the carpet, which can make a dog’s presence obvious.

  1. Deny your dog

If you get caught or questioned about the dog ownership, you have to deny it to protect yourself and the dog.

You could have a friend vouch for you that the dog belongs to them and not you. Tell the landlord that you are only watching or sitting the dog for the day.

Unfortunately, the landlord will be more vigilant after finding a dog in your apartment, until they can confirm that it does not belong to you. This means becoming extra careful about keeping the dog hidden in the apartment.

  1. Hide dog-related stuff

Put away all dog-related stuff in a hidden compartment. You need a special drawer for your pet dog’s toys, blankets, treats, brushes, and food.

Do not leave your canine’s detritus spread out all over the place. Of course, your landlord can stop by at any time, but cannot access your apartment without your permission.

  1. Register your dog as an emotional support animal

Under FHA (Fair Housing Amendments), your landlord cannot turn you away if you have a registered emotional support animal (ESA), even with the no-pet policy.

Your landlord is obligated to make reasonable accommodations for your emotional support pet dog.

Moreover, your landlord cannot ask you to pay any pet rent or deposits for having the emotional support animal. However, they can require payment for any damage done by the dog.

Note that to be considered for ESA, you should have qualifying mental health or psychiatric disability by a licensed mental health professional – therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. – properly documented in a formatted prescription letter.

The consequences

If your landlord finds you hiding a dog, they can have you dismiss it or be evicted for violating the lease. You would have an eviction for a violation if you get evicted, making it difficult to rent another apartment.

If you intend to keep your pet dog, move to a new apartment that allows pets.

Read also: when you can sue a landlord for their reference

However, moving to a different apartment can be expensive. You would have to pay for moving trucks, gas, etc., and transferring your utilities. The new apartment will require you to put down a deposit or even pay the first month’s rent upfront.

You have to pay for damages upfront at the new apartment where pets are allowed. A pet deposit covers any damage your pet dog causes to the property.

Suppose your dog chews the carpet, the amount you put down for the pet deposit covers the damage.

Final thoughts

Look out for your neighbors’ attitude. Some neighbors may not mind if you bend the rules, while others may get irritated. Understand that some renting neighbors probably chose the apartment complex because they dislike dogs.

Be respectful to your neighbors to keep them from reporting you to the landlord. Also, prevent your dog from attacking neighbors, barking loudly, or damaging neighbors’ properties.

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