While some retirement communities welcome dogs who move in with their owners, this doesn't mean that you'll have a seamless transition into your new home. Living in this kind of community may be a totally new experience for you and your pet and you may need to put in some work to settle in with your new friends, especially if some of the people living in the village aren't too keen on having dogs around.
Stick to the Rules
Most retirement villages that allow pets have rules that you need to follow to keep your pet living with you. For example, you may be asked to do the following:
- Keep your dog on a leash in certain areas and under control in all public areas.
- Pick up and dispose of dog waste if your dog toilets in any communal areas.
- Do not take your dog into any designated dog-free areas or buildings in the village.
Following these rules doesn't just ensure that your dog can stay with you; it can also play an important part in how well your pet is accepted by the community. You may well come across people who worry about dogs living in the village or who have negative views about them. Break the rules and you give them something to complain about.
Help Your Dog Make Friends
While having a dog can be a real ice-breaker when it comes to making human friends, some people are less happy around dogs than others, especially when they're faced with a dog they haven't met before. You can get people in your new community used to your pet by taking it out and about with you regularly, ideally on a leash to start with so that people can get used to it.
You'll quickly notice who the doggy and non-doggy people are. If you notice that some of your neighbours are wary of your dog or are obviously non-doggy people, then respect their space and their ability to not automatically fall in love with your pet. Try to keep your dog as well behaved and under control as you can. Even non-doggy people can come to almost like a dog that doesn't bother them or give them anything to complain about.
Your dog probably won't be the only dog in a retirement village so it's also a good idea to introduce it to other pets in the community as soon as you can. Again, it may be worth starting off by keeping your dog on a leash here – your pet may be placid and well-behaved around other dogs, but you can't know how other dogs will react to meeting your pet for the first time.
If you want to learn more about how dogs get along in your chosen retirement village then ask the village's manager or owner if you can have a chat with dog owners who already live on site. The manager/owner will also be able to fill you in on any rules you need to follow once you and your pet move in.