Renting an apartment with pups, especially without a yard, definitely presents challenges.  When we first moved to Chicago we rented a 10th floor apartment and had to take an elevator down to the street about 6x a day to take the pups out. You can bet that got old fast.  As soon as our lease was up, we moved to the 3rd floor of a 4 flat so we could get in and out easier with the dogs.  Clients always ask if I can find them an apartment with a yard.  While it’s not impossible, it’s almost impossible.  Buying a single family house? No problem to get a yard.  Buying a condo? A yard could definitely be possible.  Renting an apartment? Yikes, I’ll do my best, but the chances are slim.  So here are my top tips for managing without a yard:

  1. Live on a lower level or move to small building.
  2. Rent or buy in a building that has a dog park/run in the building such as K2 or Lakeshore East.  That way you can still live in a mid or high rise, but have access to a private dog run right in the building for your pup.  This is especially great in the winter when it’s cold outside!
  3. Buy long lead leashes and go to any park in the city and throw a ball around.  Long leash leads are great because your dog can run like he’s off leash, but you still have control of him and aren’t breaking any leash laws.  We have both 20ft and 30ft leashes depending on how big the park is where we’re going.
  4. Send your dog to camp.  We adore and swear by Dog Country Dog Camp.  Steve picks up our pups 2x per week from our home in Lakeview, drives them an hour to Indiana, and lets them run around a huge 5 acre fully fenced in farm all day with 6 other lucky pups. There’s even a pond they can swim in and plenty of squirrels and birds to chase.  He then brings them home dead tired and they sleep for days.
  5. Hire a dog walker.  Here’s the Yelp page dedicated to dog walkers in Chicago. 
  6. Sign up for dog daycare. Many daycare facilities in the city will even pick up/drop off    your pups for a small extra fee.  Our favorite dog daycares in the city are Green Dogs in the Ukrainian Village, Active Dog Daycare in Logan Square and The Village Dog in Wilmette.

What’s your best tip for living without a yard in Chicago?


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.