Butterfly6 : I’ll try and answer your questions but my experience is limited to one dog.
1. We have a dog in a 2BR apartment with a small courtyard. However, we have a pug and they can’t tolerate cold or hot temperatures so they are ideal inside dogs. A larger breed would be ill suited to these conditions.
2. We had a pen for our puppy which was large enough for a bed, a water bowl and a separate area for his toilet mat. He was in there for eight hours a day. After a few months we transitioned to a baby gate separating the laundry from the rest of the house. He is still not well behaved enough to have the run of the house – he goes number 1 on the mat at all times while inside and goes number 2 on the mat as well…but sometimes he smears it around or eats it. It’s probably not the most fun ever but plenty of people work full time with dogs, I don’t think it’s cruel.
3. As above – yes, they can go inside, particularly handy if you work long hours or if your dog is a wuss about going outside in the rain. Our pup goes inside and outside.
4. Walk schedule depends on the dog. We walk our pug twice a day for 20-40 mins each walk, weather permitting (due to their lack of tolerance of extreme heat, some days we have to walk him early in the morning and exercise him inside at night, same when it rains). Walks are a fun time for the dog to play as well as toilet time. Low maintenance dogs could handle less walking than high energy breeds.
5. Essentials for puppy were food and water bowls, toilet mats, urine stain remover, bed, toys, pen/crate, travel crate, grooming brush, food (initially provided by the breeder), and pet insurance because pugs can have health issues. There are a lot of vet visits with a puppy, so be prepared for that if you choose a young dog (or kitten I’d assume). Things like vaccinations, flea and worming treatments are all done frequently at a young age until they transition to yearly vaccinations and three monthly flea treatment. We also had to get him desexed at 7 months. You will go through paper towels, cleaning supplies and urine remover like nobody’s business. Also, if you get a shedding breed, invest in a good vacuum.
6. Depends on the dog. Puppies are a LOT of work and very expensive. We decided to get a puppy first, TTC when puppy is around a year old, then wait until our child is past the toddler years before getting another puppy. If you adopt an older dog, make sure you are well informed about its temperament. You want to avoid dog or people aggressive dogs, and probably want to avoid reactive dogs as well if you anticipate your kids walking it. Puppy school/obedience classes can be a good idea for socialising your dog as well as observing how your dog reacts to others.