Archived Message
separation anxiety

by Angel

I may be a first time Maltese owner and I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me. An elderly aunt is moving into a retirement apartment. She has two Maltese and can only take one. I have a chance to take her 5 year old. My concern is for seperation anxiety. I work full-time and the dog would be alone all day. I am a former Shih-tzu owner and really love that breed. In your opinion would it be too cruel to the dog(dumpling) to leave her all day, especially after she is used to her owner and other dogs being around all day. I really appreciate any feedback. Thanks.


Maltese adapt well to new situations. I recently took in a 6 year old rescue Maltese that had lived with a 71 year old female in a very quiet household, and was the only pet. Due to an accident she could no longer keep him. I brought him home to my 6 maltese and a noisy home. He acted like he had been here all his life. He had never been around children, but fell in love with my Grandchildren, playing with them like he was a puppy. I placed him with a young couple who also have a great dane puppy that stays outside and they get along great. They kept a cat indoors and he loved the cat too. They too work all day, so he has been left alone in the house by himself for the first time in his life. They leave the t.v. on for company, and said that he seems fine with the time to himself, but are extremely happy to see them when they get home. I visited him and he seems very happy with his new home life.
-Marsha A.

Angel, My Lucy had me home all day for the first 7 months that I had her because I have my own business and work at home. But I got a new client that wanted me to work on site a couple of days a week, so I had to "explain" to Lucy and leave her (though I still got home for lunch).

The first couple of weeks she cried the whole time I was getting ready to leave (and I cried because she was crying). After about the 3rd week, she'd come downstairs with me when I was ready to leave, collect her cookie, and bounce upstairs, where to the best of my knowledge she made a little nest in my closet (dirty clothes) and slept until I got back.

She now has her own routine that never, ever varies: when I come home at lunchtime she waits at the top of the stair. She rolls over to have her belly scratched and waits to get a few kisses and hugs. Then we walk. Then she gets her cookie and heads upstairs quite content. When I get home in the evenings she waits at the window and when I put my key in the lock runs and "hides" in the living room. When I find her, she races around and plays. Then we go out and she is just fine and dandy.

So, I would say that like children, dogs learn to adapt--as long as they know you love them and are coming back. You might have a little stress at the beginning, but once the dog knows you love it and are coming home it will be fine. You might want to try finding a "safe space" where the dog will have some room but can't get out to tear things up or whatever--a gated kitchen or laundry room-- so that you both feel secure while you're away at work.
Hope this helps.
-cathy brown

I read somewhere that when you first introduce a dog to a new home try to make it a time when you can be there for most of the day. Then gradually increase the length of time that you are gone. It sounded like a good idea. I also like to leave a radio on. I don't know if it really makes any difference to my darlings, but it's worth it if it helps at all. There is nothing like the greeting they give me when I get home. Unconditional love at it's purest form. I found my female Clancy at a humane society. She had been a breeding dog in a puppy mill, and was given up at around eight years old (we don't know for sure because her former owners lied and said she was much younger, but our vet estimated eight). Anyway, she adjusted beautifully to our lifestyle and I'll bet yours will too.

Cathy, Hi! I can relate to your routine. I too have a routine first thing in the morning with Pixie Bella that never changes. She won't go out to potty until I give her kisses, tickles, and tell her what a good girl she is. She wiggles and wiggles her tail and circles around me so happy to greet me in the morning. It's a wonderful way to start your day, huh? I just checked on her. My son stayed home ill today and there is she laying right up next to him "comforting" him. It is so precious. What an angel. Interesting you mention your doll sleeps on your dirty clothes. I read somewhere it helps to put an article of clothing in the crate so the dog can be comforted by your scent. Obviously, you prove that to be true. Your little one feels close to you by sleeping on your pile of dirty clothes. There not dirty to him/her[?]. The dog is identifying with your scent I think, and feels close to your this way. How special your dirty clothes are.

Carina, Hi! I also leave my radio on real soft [Pixie Bella like classical music I've noticed] when nobody is home and I have to secure her in the crate. I think it really does help because they don't feel all alone because they are still hearing voices and the music is soothing. I also put a nature tape in sometimes too. Makes her probably think she's on one with nature. Who knows for sure, but I agree with certaintly can't hurt.

Vicki, A "travel hint" related to scent. Lucy also loves to pull the towels down (used ones) and curls up and sleeps on them in the bathroom. She often does this morning when I am getting ready to go out. When I have to board her (rarely, I hate to have her caged, so usually take her along) I take one of the used towels to the kennel with her (and usuall about every toy and chew she owns) so they can let her sleep on it. It makes it a little easier for both of us.
-cathy brown

My little Annie is four months old and is 1 1/2 pounds and so full of love. When we are getting ready in the morning to leave (my husband and I get ready for work and my daughter for school)Annie puts on a sad little face knowing that we'll be leaving her soon. We keep her in my daughter's room with the door closed and we keep her TV on. Annie has her little basket of toys and her bed on the floor. Usually when we come home, she has the toys all out of the basket and is sooooo happy to see us. I know that when the weekends come, she is the happiest puppy around. We just love her!!

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