Looking for a new home? Check out Alvern Gardens!

Alvern Gardens is currently offering a special on pet friendly three bedroom apartments: second month’s free rent and no pet fee! There are only a few three bedroom apartments available, so if you’re interested, call 412-561-4663 today for a tour.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for planting their own small gardens.

The on-site leasing office is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays. Walk-ins are welcome during these hours. If you’d like to schedule a tour outside of these hours, agents are available by appointment on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The rent for the 822 sq ft three bedrooms is $815/month plus electric, all other utilities are included in rent, including heat, cooking gas, and hot water. All apartments are cable and internet ready (Comcast is the provider).

The spacious layout features separate living and dining rooms, a coat closet by the front door, and a linen closet by the bathroom. The apartments are equipped with brand new wall-to-wall carpeting, a full-size gas stove and refrigerator, ample cabinet space in the kitchen, and a ceiling fan in the dining room. Additional storage is included with each apartment.

Residents have full control over the radiator heat and are welcome to install as many window air conditioning units as they desire. All windows come with screens, locks, and stays, and are designed for easy ac installation.

Coin-operated laundry facilities are located in the basement. Four apartments share one facility, and there is a change machine in the on-site leasing office for the convenience of our residents.

The on-site dog park is open to residents and their pups during daylight hours. Plus, with pool season fast approaching, it’s worth noting that Alvern Gardens has a pool.

pool

Parking is on street, first come, first serve, with permit-only off street parking included with certain units. Garages are available for rent for $55/month.

Alvern Gardens is situated just a five minute walk from the St. Anne’s T stop, where both the Red and Blue Lines stop every five to twenty minutes. This quiet residential neighborhood is just minutes from shopping, restaurants and recreational areas such as the Ice Castle skating rink and South Park.

If Alvern Gardens sounds like the place for you, please call us at 412-561-4663 to inquire about the application process.

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Apartment living: what your dog needs to know

Last week, we listed our picks for the best dog breeds for apartment living. We noted that some of the breeds, dachshunds for example, might need a little extra training to adjust them to close quarters. So this week, we figured we would go into detail about the kind of training a dog needs to do well in an apartment.

pet friendly apartments
For you and your dog to live comfortably in an apartment, he needs to be well behaved, friendly, and calm.
  • More church mouse than guard dog: Incessant barking is a problem no matter where you live with a dog, but it can cause serious issues when you live in an apartment. Your dog needs to be taught from day one to stay quiet when people knock on the door, come in and out of the apartment, and in and out of the building.
  • Professional walker: All dogs should be well trained when it comes to walking on a leash, but because apartment dwelling dogs stand to encounter a lot more traffic even in the hallways of their building, it’s extremely important that they heel properly.
  • Come when called: Even though most apartment buildings, Alvern Gardens included, have rules that dogs are not allowed off their leash outside of their own apartments, dogs should still be trained to come when they are called. Just in case they do sneak out the door, and for proper dog park etiquette as well.
  • No jumping: As we noted already, apartment dwelling dogs encounter a lot more people than house dwelling dogs. This means that they need to know how to behave when they run into strangers. A polite dog doesn’t jump up on every person he meets, and he certainly doesn’t bark or growl.
  • Friendly neighbors: Just as apartment dwelling dogs must be polite to their human neighbors, they must be polite to their fellow dogs. It’s unlikely that yours will be the only dog in a dog friendly building, so ideally your dog should know and be on good terms with all his canine neighbors as well as his human neighbors.
  • Crate training: Unless you plan to be home every time you need maintenance to enter your apartment, it’s important to train your dog to stay in a crate while you’re not home. Better yet, you could take him to doggie daycare, or hire a dog walker to come check on him while you’re at work. It’s safer for your dog and the maintenance man if your furry companion is kept out of the way. In fact, most maintenance men aren’t likely to enter an apartment if they aren’t sure the dog residing there is in a crate.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living

We’ve been posting a lot about cats lately, so we decided it’s time to post something about dogs. Really, we’re shocked we’ve gone this long without offering a list of the best dogs for apartment living. So here’s our list. These dogs don’t get bigger than 40 lbs, so they’re all approved for Alvern Gardens Apartments, but they each have more traits than size alone that make them great apartment dwellers.

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Quiet, cuddly, and friendly, these dogs do well in small spaces. We know one who is a proper, lazy gentleman who won’t lift a paw if it’s above 78 degrees outside, and once round the block is plenty exercise for him, too.Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  2. Pug: Quiet, friendly, low energy, at home in small spaces, and highly adaptable, pugs are popular for a reason. We’ve met a pack of pugs who are devoted sailors, so you can bet a pug will adapt just fine to any environment, even the tight quarters of apartment life.
    pug
    By DodosD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. English and French Bulldogs: Low energy (read: lazy), gentle, quiet, and good in small spaces, French and English Bulldogs make lovely companions in apartment life.
  4. Dachshund: With proper training, these stubby legged and spunky little guys make friendly, loyal family pets. They need a little more exercise than the other breeds on the list, but their short legs make for slow, easy walks, and they can get their workout indoors as well.dog-1083690_1920
  5. Shih Tzu: A calm, friendly breed that does well in small spaces, shih tzus are a classic lapdog companion. Plus, the goofy bow in the fur is not a requirement.dog-220393_1280
  6. Chinese Crested: Yes, this is that weird naked dog, and a member of this breed has been crowed ugliest dog alive, but did you know there’s a furry version too? Whether you prefer your crested hairless or powder puff (yes, that’s what they’re called), he’ll be low energy, he’ll do well in a small home, and he’ll be happy to spend hours just laying around.
    Powderpuff_Chinese_Crested_1
    By DodosD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  7. Japanese Chin: This little fluff ball is surprisingly low maintenance in the grooming department, requiring just one weekly brushing (as opposed to the daily brushing many fancy lapdogs demand). This is also a breed that does well in small homes.dogs-956677_1920
  8. Toy and Miniature Poodles: As their names indicate, these are small dogs that do well in small spaces. Additionally, poodles are very intelligent and easy to train, making them well disciplined apartment dwellers.dog-706958_1920
  9. Mutt: Although we’ve just listed a bunch of fancy pure-bred dogs, we have to confess that we love a good mixed breed rescue. Most shelters will be able to give you a rough idea of what’s mixed in, and researching the component breeds will give you a good idea of size, energy levels, intelligence, ease of training, shedding and grooming needs, as well as overall temperament and whether a pup will be suited to apartment living. It’s always a good idea to give a dog an in-home test run if you have the option.Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments

Keep dogs’ paws safe this winter

As most dog owners know, regular walks and outdoor playtime are hard on paws in winter. Here are some tips for keeping your pup’s paws safe.

  • Don’t leave your dog outside unattended, even in a secured area that they’re used to roaming during warm weather. Keeping a close eye on your pooch is key to making sure the cold isn’t taking its toll.

    Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments
    Just because I’m fluffy doesn’t mean I’m impervious to cold. Keep me safe in winter!
  • Shorten time spent outdoors, especially in extreme cold. Obviously, the less time exposed, the better. If you’re on a walk and your dog starts showing signs of being too cold (shaking his paws when he picks them up or even limping), it’s time to turn around and go home—whether he did his business or not.
  • Gear up with a coat and booties, if your dog will tolerate it. Some dogs can’t stand wearing clothes, and some don’t even need them, but if your dog has a wiry or thin coat with just a single layer of fur, it needs some protective gear. Even if she’ll only wear booties on her hind paws, it’s still better than nothing in extreme cold.
  • Stick to the grass instead of salted pavement. The salt that’s essential to keeping sidewalks safe for human pedestrians can seriously hurt a dog’s paws, so keep your dog walking in grassy areas, and if possible/necessary, carry her over salted patches of pavement.
  • Clean your dog’s paws as soon as you get back inside. Use a clean towel to wipe down all four paws, thaw out any clumps of snow that might have gotten caught in long fur, and check between the pads of each paw to make sure no salt has gotten stuck.
  • Don’t allow your dog to lick its paws. Excessive licking can cause sores (and stinky feet!), but it’s also a sign that your dog’s paws hurt. If you notice him licking, give his paws a closer look and make sure they’re clean and  not injured in any way.

Pet sitters, kennels, and doggie day cares of the South Hills

Looking for a pet sitter or kennel to take care of your fur baby while you go on vacation? There are plenty of options in the South Hills for these services and more. From pet taxis to dog walking while you’re at work, these are the top hits for getting pet care in the area.

Camp Bow Wow

If you’ve driven or ridden the T through the South Hills, you’ve probably seen Camp Bow Wow on Killarney Drive (they also have locations in Greentree, Highland Park, and the North Hills, all of which appear in Yelp’s top 10 for pet sitters and boarders in Pittsburgh). It’s a day camp for dogs that also offers overnight stays and obedience training. Dogs stay in “cabins” with beds and blankets and get access to indoor and outdoor play areas. You can even check on your pup while you’re at work or on vacation with the Online Camper Cams. Plus, you can have your dog groomed while it’s there.

pet friendly apartments
Going on vacation as a pet owner doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are plenty of pet care providers throughout Pittsburgh.

You might not think of a dog camp as a place to adopt a dog, but Camp Bow Wow also fosters adoptable dogs. So if you’re on the market for a furry friend, consider checking them out.

The Dog Stop

The Dog Stop advertises itself as an “all-inclusive dog care facility.” As their name suggests, they only offer services for dogs, but those services are indeed all-inclusive. They have their own doggie day care and grooming services, but they also offer boarding while owners go on vacation, dog walking, in-home dog care, and training.

It seems that, because they’re dog specialists, they offer more specialized services. For example, their in-home care ranges from simple pet sitting to in-home obedience training. They also have a pet taxi and a concierge that delivers food, treats, and toys right to your home.

Fetch! Pet Care

Fetch! is number 4 on Yelp’s top 10 pet sitters in the Pittsburgh area. They offer dog walking as well as routine visits for cats and small caged pets. You can also schedule an “almost overnight” visit where one of their pet sitters visits your pet for 2 hours in the evening and again for an hour in the morning. Their concierge matches your pet with the best sitter for them, and they also offer free consultations for when you’re thinking about hiring one of their sitters.

Just like Camp Bow Wow offers services both while you’re on vacation and while you’re at work, Fetch provides pet care when your pet needs it.

Park Your Paws Pet Care

Park Your Paws  offers in-home boarding where a background checked and insured pet sitter stays with your pet while you’re away, or your pet stays in the pet sitter’s home. If that’s not your style, they also offer potty breaks and walks. You could even hire a regular dog walker through Park Your Paws to let your pooch out while you’re at work. If you’re leaving for vacation and are strapped for time, Park Your Paws also has a pet taxi service for taking your pet to the kennel.

The service employs pet sitters who are experienced with cats, dogs, bunnies, ferrets, birds, reptiles, and more.

If you’re curious, the company offers free meet-and-greets between you, your pet, and the pet sitter before you sign up for services.

Park Your Paws offers many of the same services as Fetch!, but what sets them apart from Fetch! is their Doggie Day Care, a service much like Camp Bow Wow and The Dog Stop.

Looking for a pet friendly apartment in Pittsburgh? Contact Prudential Realty Company to find out about their pet friendly communities throughout the area.

Put a leash on it

As most dog owners know, leash laws vary from place to place and the rules about whether your dog is allowed off leash in a certain area or not aren’t always clear. When in doubt, keep your dog on its leash.

Even dogs that are well trained and obedient when running off leash can become unpredictable in new situations. Some of the worst areas to let your dog off the leash are high traffic areas where cars and people, some of them with other dogs, pass by frequently. This area might be right outside your front door and your dog might think of it as an extension of its territory, but that doesn’t mean it will stay put no matter what. A new dog or a new person might come by and provoke a reaction. Even if your dog wants to run off just to say hi, it’s still running off and out of your control. Especially if it turns out that the other dog isn’t friendly, things could get ugly. Another scenario to consider: what if your dog wants to greet a person who is afraid of dogs? You might assure them that your dog is friendly and won’t hurt them, but that’s like trying to tell Indiana Jones that the snakes in the pit don’t mean him harm. As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to not only keep your dog safe, but to make sure it respects other animals and people who don’t want to interact with it.

Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments
Even the best behaved dog can have a lapse in obedience. Keep your dog safe by keeping it on its leash.

So where is it OK to let your dog roam off leash? Your local dog park is the ideal place. The area is fenced in so Fido can’t run far, and the whole point of it is to have a safe space for friendly dogs to socialize. Many dog friendly apartment communities like Alvern Gardens and Cloverleaf Village have dog parks for their residents to enjoy. These parks are designed for those who don’t have a fenced in yard of their own to give their dogs exercise in a safe place. So why even bother letting your dog off the leash anywhere else?

Consider this as well: if you live in an apartment community, your landlord might have rules about keeping your dog on a leash when walking the community grounds. Abiding the rules of your community is important not just because the rules are in place for a reason, but because breaking the rules has consequences. For example, if you let your dog off the leash in and your landlord has prohibited this, you could lose the privilege of having a pet in the apartment at all. You could even be evicted for breaking the terms of your lease.

Whether you already have a dog or are thinking about adopting one, familiarize yourself with the leash laws of your county and state, as well as any ordinances that might be in place in your municipality. If you do choose to let your dog off its leash, always have the leash handy to reel your dog back under your control if needed.

FAQ: Do you have a gym?

Here at Alvern Gardens, visitors frequently ask if we have a gym. We don’t, but we do have a pool and a dog park. We’re also close to several gyms and yoga studios. So for the convenience of current and prospective residents, we’ve rounded up a list of places close by where our residents can get their exercise.

Gyms

fitness
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise, but if you’re looking for something more, there are plenty of gyms and yoga studios to choose from in the area. (Residents of Alvern Gardens Apartments can enjoy their summer poolside for a $10 season pass.)

Fitness 19 seems to be one of the most affordable gyms in the area, and Alvern Gardens residents frequently receive mailers with special offers.

Healthtrax is an affordable gym in Bethel Park, and based on their website, a friendly place for people of all  fitness levels who are looking to get healthy and stay healthy.

We have not one, but two LA Fitness clubs close by. One is in Bethel Park, and the other is in Bridgeville. Both offer a variety of amenities for about $30/month.

Club One Fitness, reportedly the best gym in Pittsburgh, has a South Hills location on Castle Shannon Blvd. They’re pricier but it looks like they might be worth it.

If you’re looking for a 24-hour gym, consider Snap Fitness in South Park. If you join before the end of the month, you’ll get 50% off!

Yoga

Because there are quite a few places to do yoga around here, we thought we’d round up some of the most affordable, convenient options.

The Mt. Lebanon Public Library hosts a free weekly yoga class Wednesday evenings. Participants don’t have to register, but they do have to bring all their own equipment.

Health Thru Yoga is the closest studio to Alvern Gardens (walking distance!). There are discounts for seniors and T riders as well as free classes for military families. You can even schedule a private session if you’d like.

Yoga Innovations is a little yoga studio in Bethel Park. They offer kids yoga and Mommy and Me Yoga, as well as a pay what you can class for adults every Wednesday evening. The studio welcomes walk-ins, and they even rent mats if you don’t have your own.