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1st Time Buyer!
by Barbara Osler
1st Time Buyer! I have found this web-site because I'm very interested in buying/owning a Maltese, however, I want to make sure I create the right environment for the Maltese and myself. I'm nervous though, fearing that I may make the wrong decision in owning one. It seems to be cruel if I was working all day to leave her in a crate. The pup I'm looking at is a female 9 weeks old and I'm getting to the point I'm ready to buy, but friends and family say it's not a good idea. I love animal and always have, Are they missing something or Am I. I currently rent a small apartment and live on my own. I work full time and have very little experience in puppy training. I want to train it to be an indoor dog, although I would take it for a walk at least one time a day, if not three. I don't work far from my apartment and I don't want to create a hostile environment for the young pup because I do work 5 days a week 8 to 5PM. I believe in crate training, but worried when I'm gone all day, will the pup give me more problems when I get home? Is this cruel for a maltese? How do cats react to the Maltese and vice versa? I have been reading everyone's input on the latest discussion around the Maltese and have learned quite a bit. Please Help in my decision making based on the information I have provided and if you feel you need to know more to see if me and the maltese fit, please ask.


Hi Barbara! I'm sure that you will get many varied responses to your inquiry. First of all, 9 weeks is too early to bring the baby home. I would wait 3 more weeks if I were you. I am single and live in a small (upstairs) apartment. Mali (who is now almost 10 months old) has adapted to this environment splendidly! For the first week and a half, I confined her to my very small bathroom, which contained her Puppy John with WeeWee pads, her water and food (on the opposite side of the room) and her bed and toys. Of course when I was at home (except at bedtime) she had the run of the apartment. Now I can't imagine her not being in my bed each night. I was SO amazed that she began using her Puppy John within 5 minutes of being in her new home! We have had a few relapses in potty training, but once I put WeeWee pads in the living room and bedroom, these problems were 98% solved. I work 5 days a week (evenings) so she is alone then. But I have noticed that on Monday when it's time for me to go back to work, she seems almost relieved that she's going to get some rest! (We play long and hard on the weekend!) She goes outside for a short while on days that are pretty, but she always seems ready to come back inside. I have a cat that is 13 years old and Mali absolutely ADORES him. They get along fine although she is a little too hyper at times for him (he exits when he's had enough) Lately he has actually initiated games of tag with her. I apologize for making this so lengthy, but my point is that (if you wait 3 more weeks for your baby to mature more) you will not regret this wonderful addition to your life. The love and entertainment and companionship that the fur-baby will provide will far out-weigh any problems (potty-training, etc.) And you have found the best WebSite on earth for information, answers to questions, and full support from other Maltese lovers. Good luck to you and please keep us informed as to your decision (and hopefully the arrival of the new bundle of joy!!)
Jackie Smith

Glad to know that you are really thinking this decision out, as many people get pets, and then "dispose" of them if it doesn't work. If you work close to home, you could come home at lunchtime to let the puppy out while going through the crate training process. You may want to consider using papers or wee-wee pads, and allowing the dog to "go" indoors. You could then partition the puppy in a kitchen or laundryroom so that he could have more room to move about during the day. We did this with our dog, as we work, and kids are at school, and at least the dog didn't have to hold it so long when he was a puppy. We still leave papers down, just in case, and he uses them about once every two months or so. But at least we know if we have to be away the dog will be comfortable. We took down the partition, whn he was about 6 months, and he has the run of the house during the day, and we let him out as soon as we get home. These dogs are really companion animals, and want to be with people, so if you are gone a lot, I probably would recommend not getting this type of dog. Stick with your cat, as they can be alone more than a maltese. Hope this helps!
Barbara, The fact that you are concerned about a puppy's happiness before you actually get a one is a good sign to me that you'd be a good Maltese mom. While some may not agree with me I can only tell you of my experience with our Maltese, Angel. My husband and I also work 5 days a week and Angel is left alone. I can honestly tell you she does not seem troubled by this. When she sees we are getting ready to leave in the morning, she voluntarily goes off into the bedroom or wherever and lays down. We do not keep her in a crate. However, we did when she was little. We started out with a crate, then expanded her living quarters to a blocked off room, then when we felt she was ready, we left her have the run of the house. We have never been sorry. I know mamy people keep their dogs in a crate when they are not home but I could not do it. But here is something you may want to consider. How much time would you be able to spend with your Maltese when you are not at work? Basically, my husband and I don't have much of social life outside of work and we spend almost ALL of our out of work time with Angel. She goes with us just about everywhere we go. We even bought a travel trailer to make it easier to take her along on vacation. Maltese don't need an excessive amount of exercise so a walk and some games at home should be fine. Remember too, do not bring your Maltese home until she is at least 12 weeks old. They need their mom until then. The breeder should have told you that. I'm sure after reading all the posts and with careful consideration, you will come to the right decision. Good luck.
Sandee M.
Barbara, you certainly seem to be taking everything into consideration as you make your decision which is so wise. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. is a very long time to leave your little puppy in a crate with no breaks. You say you work close to home. Is it possible to come home for lunch and let him/her out to pee and play for a little while? If so, I would see no reason this arrangement wouldn't work. My husband does this as I work too far away. Rudy has graduated to a larger crate (2' x 3'). He's only 4 lbs so far, so this suits him fine. Baxter has had the run of the house for at least a year (he's 2 yrs old). There are all kinds of solutions to problems on this forum. Each one as good as the last. Good luck in whatever you decide.
Barbara, I am sure you will get lots of responses to your questions, but let me share my experience with you. I got Buster at 14 weeks of age. He is now 7 months old. And quite the spoiled rotten little brat! I work 5 days a week also so I try to give him lots of attention when I am at home. I started him out at night in our small bathroom with his bed, water bowl and newspapers. (I still have a problem with crate training) Within a month he was holding it all night. During the day I keep him in our large master bathroom with his bed and newspapers. Within a month or so he held it all day. No problem whatsoever. I left the papers down just in case. Now after having him for 4 months no newspapers! He also has learned to sit and shake hands already. Hope this helps some.... good luck and keep us posted
Libby & Buster
Maltese are wonderful dogs! So glad that you are giving careful thought to this! Nine weeks is too young though, another three weeks with the mother will do a world of good for your pup! Vaccinations should be more complete, social development will all be best for your pup. I got Phoebe at fourteen weeks and have never had a night's sleep interrupted by a puppy needing to go potty, she adapted to life in this house like she was born to it.

I see no reason why you can't have a dog and work - but would suggest that at least for a while you could come home and interact during the day for a bit. If you don't want to crate the little darlin' all day you could try closing off a kitchen or bathroom with all the necesssities available. Wee pads are great! I have one of those folding show pens for Phoebe & it's her 'room'. When I do have to go out I leave the radio on softy for her - don't know if it makes much difference to her, but I feel better.

I also have a cat & Phoebe loves her! The cat on the other hand just sort of turns up her nose most of the time, but they do play and I know when Phoebe had to be left at the vet's to be spayed this nutty cat was looking for her!
Leslie R

Hi Barbara! I work full time, the same hours as you do, and I have two maltese. I know how you feel, because this was a big consideration for me, also. Since 8 to 5 is too long for a small puppy to be at home, I went home for lunch for the first few months, and had a neighbor or a member of my family (usually my mom) go over one more time in the afternoon. I thought it would be an inconvenience for my neighbor and my mom, but they really ENJOYED it, and I have other neighbors who volunteered to help! I think it is great that you are thoroughly thinking this through. Good luck with your decision. I will tell you it has been a wonderful expereince for me.
The breeder (18 years experience) I bought from and the vet (in his 40's) I took my puppy to, both told me that they disagreed with the theory that one should wait until a puppy was 12 weeks old to take it home. The breeder said that was a crock and the vet said he thought they bonded better at 8 weeks. I thought I was supposed to wait for 12 weeks and all the breeders that I talked to said they never kept puppies to 12 weeks , they were all sold by then and all gone. This infomation may not be worth two cents because you will get all kinds of opinions and that's all they are, just another opinion. (But puppies can wait longer to go to the bathroom the older they are and they are easier to train, the younger they are and they haven't learned any bad habits yet. My pup did not even cry the first night I brought her home at eight weeks old, and she was still with her litter.)
suzi Q.
I am a trainer and behavior consultant and there are two schools of thought on this. Myself I prefer to bring them home at 8 or 9 weeks. The reason is that a puppy has until (approximately) 16 weeks to be successfully socialized into our world with very few problems, which is where he will live. The window isn't very large if you wait until 12 weeks. If it were only a matter of being socialized in our homes, it wouln't matter as much. But much of the process needs to be done repeatedly around strange people and strange dogs and in strange places. Yhis can hardly be accomplished in 4 weeks. Kennel shyness may develop if they stay til 12 weeks, so you would want to have assurance from the breeder that he/she took them out of the pen often to experience different environments. Socialization can be slowed if enough time isn't spent alone with a person and it will take MUCH time and effort to get the pup to have a normal attitude toward people and other (outside the litter) dogs. These are the reasons puppy training classes are so important.ON the flip side, it's good for the pups to have time with their litter mates and mother to learn social skills there. But remember, the social skills are different.It boils down to this: if you have a respected and educated breeder, the problems are much less, because he/she will do their best to get the pups socialization process started before the pups go to their new home. Come on Jay...what's your opinion? Let's hear from you. I'm only speaking from my field.

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