Archived Message
Spiteful Behavior?

by Rosemarie

My husband and I just adopted a 6 year old female Maltese named Nikki. I have two other dogs in the house, a Maltese and Toy Poodle. I notice that when I leave her in the kitchen with the gate up and go elsewhere in the house or to run an errand she starts to destroy something in the kitchen and cries constantly until I return. I tried putting her in her crate when I'm not around, and she tore up her bedding. I was elsewhere in the house today, grooming my other Maltese, and when I came back in the kitchen, she tore up the dog bed, and was crying the whole time I was out of the room. My other dogs never did this, please advise with any solutions to my problem. P.S. I was told by the Maltese Rescue I got her from that her previous owners ignored her toward the end and she used to pee on the rug to get attention.


Rosemarie: Sounds like you adopted a problem. I recommend you give her a lot of positive attention. When ever she does something good, even if it is only resting on the floor, tell her she is a good girl. She needs to relearn what is acceptable behaviour. She must learn to enjoy praise and affection. Sounds like she must have only got attention when she was bad, so she thinks I'll be bad and get their attention. Negative attention is better than no attention at all. Good luck and keep us informed how she is doing. Also keep everything out of reach that she can destroy and gradually introduce things to her that she can play with. I'd start over and treat her like a puppy.

I agree with Shelley, you must give her lots of attention! The strange thing is, a few years ago, my groomer had told me about a Maltese named Nikki who needed a home because his owner had died. The owner, God rest her soul, was the only human Nikki ever really had contact with, nevertheless, I took Nikki in and she did not get along with my other 2 or my (yuk) husband at the time. I kept her for a few days but there was constant growling and nipping at my 2 and I was the only person Nikki would come to. If anyone was to approach me while I was holding her, she would growl and show teeth. I felt SO bad that we had to give her back to my groomer,words cannot describe how I cried. So when I read your message and saw the name Nikki it hit home! Just spend as much time as possible with her and give her lots & lots of hugs & kisses.
-Karen Kalamaras

I adopted a female rescue maltese over a year ago. Like people who have been mistreated or abandonned these dogs carry emotional bagage. I was told estimates of between two to six weeks were typical adjustment periods. I'm seeing that adjustment, but it has taken much longer than a few months. Clancy is a sensitive dog (by nature I think), but when she came to live with us she was terribly timid. She never had the behavior problems that you described, but she was almost desperate to be close to me. She wanted to be held all the time, and she would squeeze up on my neck so tight I felt smothered. She still does this sometimes, but not as constantly. Your dog seems to be exhibiting the same kind of anxiety and fear that are surely the result of her previous circumstance. Hopefully, as she adjusts to the idea that her new home is safe and that she is cared for she will calm down. Clancy is much more confident than she was a year ago. She used to shy away from almost everything and now she acts like she is quite something. The best thing to try is to be as reassuring as possible. When you are in the next room talk to her in a soothing voice. Praise her lots and lots when she is good. These dogs love to be told how wonderful they are. Once your Nikki realizes how much you value her I'm sure some of this behavior will begin to change. Good Luck.

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