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Archived Message

No one home during day

by Sandy

I am planning to get a Maltese puppy in the next month or so. I work full time and leave at 6:45 a.m. returning home about 5:15 p.m. My teenage kids get home around 4:30 pm, but their schedule is sporadic so they can't be consistently depended on. I will be the puppy's main caregiving "mom"!

I understsand the importance of not allowing the puppy the run of the house when no one is home (both for puppy's safety and the house's sake!), but I've also read not to keep them crated for extended periods of time. How does one accomplish this, along with housebreaking, without keeping the puppy confined? Also, my entire house is carpeted except for my kitchen which is hardwood floors. It would ruin the floor if the puppy was kept confined by a gate in that room.

Also, I just recently started a new position and do not have vacation time available at this time to be home all day for housebreaking. Any hints? Thank you!


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Sandy, Maybe the solution is to get a dog that's a little older and maybe already housebroken. Your current situation sounds like a hard row to hoe for both you and the pup. Do you have a laundry room or something similar that is neither carpeted nor a hardwood floor? Can you afford a pet sitter to drop by (or ask a neighbor or friend to do so) to let the baby out? You just can't leave a new baby in a crate all day. It can't possibly hold it and would be miserable sitting in its own urine/poo until someone gets home. Think about a baby human and how wet their diapers get--until your pup has learned to "hold it" and has the physical capacity to do so, it needs to at least pee-pee numerous times in the day. I don't want to be a pessimist, but perhaps you should put off getting a pup until you CAN take a vacation or until you can make some arrangements that will work for both you and the pup.
-cathy brown

Sandy, I agree with Cathy.The maltese is a companion breed and needs a lot of attention. They also must be groomed and bathed, often. Maybe it would be a good idea to wait until you have more time so you could really enjoy your maltese. Good luck!
-April B.

Thank you for the idea of the laundry room Cathy. We do have a fairly decent sized one and the puppy could this use room with an open crate and a puppy john. We also have a large bathroom that is partially tiled (we could put a baby gate to separate it from the carpeted area). I have to believe that not everyone that has a maltese stays at home during the day. There must be a way to work this out without making it an unhealthy and negative situation for the puppy. I would lavish it with attention when I returned home, and I my kids would also when they're home. Does anyone out there have a maltese puppy (or older) and are out all day?Thank you Cathy and April, you have given me some issues to think about.

Sandy, I also work all day and the poor little dear has to stay home alone. Proving she is not trustworthy, I have a small bedroom that has been designated "Kirby's Room". This room is carpeted so I covered the entire room in plastic runners and used duct tape to seal the seams. It looks tacky but it sure is effective! She has a puppy john in her room which she uses most of the time, but when she gets tired of being alone and wants to make an editorial comment, she uses the plastic which is easy to clean up.

Sandy. If you can use the laundry room or bathroom, all should be okay--this gives the baby a little room to move around, a safe place to stay, and a place to potty. You are right, of course, most of us work. I was really lucky with Luce because I have my own business and was home all the time with her when she was tiny. This made the potty training a whole lot easier. I would suggest using wee-wee pads at least initially with the new baby since you will not be home. These are scented and call the dog to use them (more or less). I have one more suggestion that might be helpful. Try bringing the baby home over a weekend/long weekend. (Can you call in sick a day???--sorry!). That way you will have a couple of days to help it find out what the papers are used for. Also, you can probably anticipate that there will be lots of crying while you are away, so leave the radio on (someone here suggested a talk station) when you leave. (Also, I think if you check in the archives you will find some posts about other things folks have done to help with this and Jay's article on Separation Anxiety has good info.) I think this is definitely do-able and didn't mean to dissuade you from adopting a fur ball. Actually, yesterday I was thinking about your post and was going to suggest a bathroom, since most of us don't carpet there. My little rescue dog, Carty, uses both my bathrooms for dens. He prefers sleeping in them to anywhere else.
-cathy brown

Thank you for your help Cathy. You've given me some great ideas. Taking a long weekend would be the way to go. I know you weren't trying to dissuade me from a getting a puppy, but you brought up some issues that definately need to be dealt with. How long do the puppies usually cry when left alone? Is this something they stop doing within a few day/weeks/months? I know each puppy is a individual but is there a norm? Sorry to sound so ignorant but the our other dog was a pound puppy and four years old when we got her so we didn't have the "baby" experience. Thanks again!

I agree. Your lifestyle right now should not be with a puppy. It wouldn't be fair to the dog to be treated like a piece of furniture. Sometimes in life you need to think of others instead of yourself.

Hi Sandy, Having a puppy with you lifestyle is definitely do-able. If you check back, not too long ago, there was a post about leaving a puppy while at work. It turns out that quite a few of us do that very successfully. Personally, I'm scheduling my vacation when I will be receiving my new little girl so that I will have time to properly potty train her as well as some bonding time. The laundry room idea sounds great as well as leaving the radio on. When my girl was a puppy, I would leave her and listen for the crying sometimes it would last just a few minutes and other times my neighbor would tell me she would just howl for about 10 minutes - so i really do think it is individual. A good trick that I also found was never make a big fuss when you're leaving and put down some special treats to occupy her as you go out the door. They are so interested in the treats that its a little while before they even realize you're gone. Keep reading this board and you'll find lots of great advice and tricks - I've always had a dog and still find new ideas here like leaving a hollow bone w/peanut butter stuffed in the middle - now that would keep a pups interest for awhile! Good Luck with your new Pup and I'm sure, like me, all the love you lavish on him/her when you are around will more than make up for time spent away. Congratulations!

Hi Sandy, I'm a single, working mom (puppy mom) and I wanted to get my 2 cents in. I purposely brought Lulu home on a long weekend and spent 3 days with her. I tried to get home on lunch hours to let her out or family would come and let her out the odd time. For the first few months I kept her in a crib that I had remodelled, it had plexiglass sides and was floor level, then she graduated to the kitchen (hardwood floors and I baby gated her in) and I would leave newspaper for her. Now my lil' Lulu is 14 months old, has chewed her way through the baby gate and jumped the plyboard I put up after I couldn't use the gate. Lulu and I had a heart to heart talk and for the last 2 weeks she has had the run of the whole house. So far she has had 1 accident. I thought long and hard before getting her about my schedule but she's doing great and our time together is good, quality time. Good luck!

Jackie, I can relate. Mika never chewed through gates but when she was little we kept her in the kitchen with plywood over one opening and a gate at the other. She learned how to get over the wood very quickly. We gave her two rooms then and bought baby gates. She never learned how to get out but the gates were a hassle to us. Now at 8 months she has run of the house and does very well. No accidents! Jackie and Mika
-Jackie Florio

Sandy, if you can, try to consider getting more than one dog - it does help an awful lot with the loneliness. We bought our Maltese three years ago as a puppy and introduced him to our rather larger and older Springer Spaniels. We were anxious at first that the dogs would not be compatible but being "pack" animals, they love being together and play endlessly. Not only that but they are terrific guard-dogs especially the Maltese who barks at anyone who comes up our path. We keep them all in the kitchen which has a gate and a tiled floor - it does get a little mucky at times but it is all worth it in the end....I am definately a Maltese convert !

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