I have been living in my tiny house, The Fortune Cookie, for about a year and a half now.A big question that people inquire about is having pets in a tiny house. It is a super valid question. I was worried about that a lot as I began downsizing to prepare for moving into my house. You wonder if they are going to have enough room to exist, let alone eat, sleep, and play.
This is where I introduce my furry familiar, Riley. He is a four year old shih tzu who has lived with me the entire duration that I have resided in The Fortune Cookie. He is built like a linebacker, a pretty solid 20 pounds of muscle, cuddles, and spitfire. He’s big for his breed, but still a small dog by most standards. Some of you who have been following my blog for awhile have seen me talk about my buddy.
Riley is a pretty awesome dog, who is fairly communicative about what he wants or needs. I feel pretty lucky in that regard, as most of the time I know exactly what he wants when he decides to get my attention. He has a particular growl when he wants to play, or when he is bored. He will flop melodramatically on the floor and do this whine/growl thing that sounds like a goat with laryngitis. It serves to make me laugh so hard that I am inclined to acquiesce to his request.
He will ‘sit pretty’ if he wants me to cuddle him or if he wants a new visitor to pick him up. He’s a total ham and uses it to his advantage. He will ring the doggie door bells when he needs to go outside, some of the time it is even to use the bathroom. Lastly, he will stare me down if it is dinner time and I haven’t fed him yet. Usually accompanied by a punctuated, gruff, bark. Also, he isn’t inclined to chew anything when he is bored or upset, for which I am thankful. He used to eat books in his pup years (sorry Robyn).
The thing about have a tiny house and a dog, is if you don’t walk your dog daily, you might need to start. If you do walk them every day, I may recommend walking a bit further. It’s true, there is not a whole lot of room for them to play in, and if you have a mid to large sized breed that is even more necessary. Riley and I typically go for a daily walk. If not, we play rough and tumble in the house and tug with his stuffing free animal shaped squeak toy. If you have a dog, you have an idea of their needed activity level, make sure that you’re meeting it.
During the summer, I just leave my front door open. Riley will come and go as he pleases. We have a large, fenced backyard here and that helps. Typically, he will just perch himself on my top outside stair and sunbathe, or hide under the house in the shade. During the winter he just asks to go out when he has to use the bathroom or he is bored.
I happen to have access to the main house on the property, which is home to Jada, Eowyn and Kass’ two year old boxer. She happens to help with Riley’s daily exercise routine also. When I am out of town I usually have Riley stay at Robyn’s house with her and her sharpei/terrier mix, Marti. When I am just going to be gone for a few hours (and am not taking Riley with me), he hangs out in the main house. I have doggy daycare available to me by way of friends and family when I need it, which I am super grateful for. Having fantastic family and friends and a well behaved dog works to my advantage.
Riley shares my queen size loft bed with me at night. He’s a bed hog to tell the truth, but he makes a great foot warmer. Before I moved into The Fortune Cookie, I worried endlessly about Riley potentially falling off of the bed. After I first moved in I used to wake up from a dead sleep if my foot made contact with him, sure that I had launched him six feet off of the bed. It has never been a problem, he has never fallen. I have a greater respect for his self preservation instincts than I used to.
I had a decent sized dog bed for him at one point, but found that he preferred all the ‘human’ furniture in my house. I then donated it to Robyn and Marti, and Riley delights in using the bed when he is visiting cousin Marti. I was immediately delighted to have the space back and Riley hasn’t seemed to miss it.
I’m a dog person, not to say that I don’t like cats. I just don’t have any cats, and really have no intent of owning one anytime soon. I just picture cat claws damaging my house made entirely of wood and cannot bring myself to do it. If you’re a cat lover, I recommend reading this blog post by Tammy Stroebel. She covers cats and tiny houses pretty succinctly, not to mention beautiful cat pictures… which is the primary reason the internet exists.
I know a lot of you are animal lovers out there. What kind of challenges do you think you might have with a pet in a small space? If you live in a tiny home and have a pet, what solutions have you come up with to sharing a space with your furry friends?