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Best Set-Ups

Creating a Great Set-up for your Maltipoo

cute-black-maltipoo
Skylar Rose, at 6 months and 5.5 lbs.
photo courtesy of Samantha and Carol Cooper

Overview

There's lot of reasons why it's wise to think about where you're going to keep your Maltipoo when you're not home. Or even when you're busy. 

Picking a spot for a puppy or dog may be an afterthought once a new puppy is brought home.

Or, it may only be when an issue really starts becoming a problem that owners seek a new way of doing things.

You'll be happy to know that there are effective and comfortable options for creating areas for a puppy or dog that can help with a host of issues. And, you might be surprised about some of the ways that this can help. 

Here, we'll cover:
  • The ways in which a designated area can help
  • Crates vs gates vs playpens
  • What to have in the area

Details of How the Designated Area will Help

1. Housebreaking.
When you are potty training, a crucial component of this is that you are either 1) keeping a very close eye on your puppy; ideally by tethering your Maltipoo to you or 2) keeping your puppy where you can contain the messes.

Un-trained dogs should not have free reign in the house.

Too many owners skip this important part, and these will be the frustrated owners that are dealing with pee and poo being everywhere. 

However, if you follow housebreaking rules (choose one area outside, bring your puppy out often enough, give immediate praise and reward, and properly clean messes with an enzyme cleanser) and you keep your Maltipoo in his own spot, you'll find much faster success. 

Any time at all that your puppy is not tethered to you side (via leash to a harness), he will be in his area that contains pee-pads.

Other items in the area will be toys, food & water, a bed, and if needed, a companion toy. Since dogs rarely soil on their own belongings, pee and poo will be deposited on the pads. 
2. Teething and chewing. 
When puppies are teething, urges to chew are off the charts. And Maltipoos of any age can develop chewing habits.

It is very common for these pups to tear up the house. Carpeting can be gnawed at, table legs are nibbled on, and just about anything on the floor may be mouthed.

Taking time to carefully choose great teething toys and using an 'interrupt and refocus' method can be helpful.

And part of this is to keep your puppy in one spot so that the entire house is not destroyed. 

As the pup is exposed to his own approved toys and is not ripping up household items, this sets up a foundation of good behavior. 
3. Separation anxiety. 
It is just heartbreaking to know that your dog struggles badly when you are away. Yet, you must leave the house to work or take care of other responsibilities. And, it can turn leaving the house for fun into one huge guilt trip. 
beautiful-maltipoo
Coco, at 4 months old, photo courtesy of Elisa Perez
Fortunately, there are quite a few things that you can do to help your Maltipoo better cope when alone. And all of these, every single element, centers around a designated area. 

There are 2 aspects to this:

1. If a puppy or dog has a whole room to himself, or a house house, this distributes his separation anxiety remedies throughout the area... often out of reach, and not helping at all. They can be moved by your dog, roll away, or otherwise be too far from a dog to be of use, often in a matter of minutes after your departure. 

However, if you have have a great set-up for your Maltipoo, this ensures that the items that you got to help him are right there. 

2. When a dog feels overwhelmed with anxiety, being in a room all alone (or worse-yet a whole house) increases the feelings of isolation. One element that does make dogs feel more secure is a 'den'. It is canine instinct to associate a den with safety.

When you create a nice area for your Maltipoo when he's alone, he'll gain that feeling of security and, along with his aids, be better able to relax. 

Crates Vs Gates Vs Playpens

Do not use a crate:

Crates, also referred to as kennels or carriers, are not a good choice. These are often very small and are terribly confining. The idea is to create an awesome area for your Maltipoo, not keep him stifled. 

Most puppies or dogs that are kept in crates feel claustrophobic, and crates often cause both physical and emotional stress. 
Gates are a 'maybe':
Gating off a room, or a section of a room, can work for some owners. This is not the ideal set-up if you are housebreaking your pup, if your dog chews on non-toy items, or if your Maltipoo suffers from separation anxiety.

However, if you have an older dog that is fully potty trained and he does just fine when you're gone, this may indeed work for you. 
Playpens are awesome:
Indoor canine playpens the answer to so many issues. These are truly a Godsend. Unlike crates, these are not overly restricting or oppressive. And unlike a gated off room, a playpen keeps a puppy or dog's important aids and necessities right by his side for easy access. 
Below are some fantastic, recommended playpens. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. And next, we will go over what types of things to have in the playpen to meet your Maltipoo's needs. 

Items to Have for the Designated Area

maltipoo-curly-hair
Once you have your pen or other method of creating an area, what do you put inside it? 

Don't go running out to buy a huge pile of things! 

In fact, if you have too much in there, the good stuff will be buried. And, you don't want things to feel too cluttered for your Maltipoo.

Instead, carefully choose a few select items that will help your Maltipoo puppy or dog in certain ways. 

Here is what we recommend, and why:
1. A quality canine bed. 
Your Maltipoo's pen will be his area to retreat to when he wants to rest away from any type of commotion. It will also be his special den when you are not at home. And, if you are still potty training your puppy, this will be where he sleeps at night.

So, you'll want your dog to have a quality dog bed to rest and sleep.
When a dog is always on the floor, this causes wear and tear on the body. And this can manifest as joint problems later in life. 
Most toy breeds do best with bolstered beds, as this offers structure and a way to cuddle up via the padded walls. However, if your Maltipoo likes to stretch out, as opposed to curl up, you may find that a flat mattress is the way to go.

Do keep in mind that quality means everything here, just like for your own mattress. While you might want to wait to get an orthopedic memory foam mattress until your Maltipoo is done growing, this is the best choice for those 1 year and up. And a 'must' for seniors. 
2. Pee pads.

Even if your Maltipoo is completely trained, it's not a bad idea to have these in case you are gone longer than your dog can hold his needs. Even fully trained dogs have physical limitations. 

And for puppies, these are a must. The playpen will be a defined space, holding other items (more ahead). Since dogs very rarely pee and poo on their own belongings, urine and bowel movements will most likely end up on the pads. 

If you find that your puppy or dog likes to play with these, tears them up, or moves them around too much, there is an answer. Canine litter boxes are a great size to hold pads. You'll want to use this without the clay, just pop a pad into the shallow base and it will keep it in place. 
funny-maltipoo-dog
Sadie, shopping for a new Bougainvillea plant,
photo courtesy of Veronica Reynolds
3. Water.

Always leave a bowl of fresh water, even if your Maltipoo will only be in his area for a short amount of time. 
4. Food; and optionally in a treat-dispensing toy.
The right treat dispensing toy can be a great help.

If your Maltipoo tends to tip his food bowl or play with this food, this is the right choice for you.

And, for dogs that have to be left home alone, this is a great tool to have. It fixes two issues at the same time. 

It ensures that your Maltipoo has his mid-day meal while you are gone. At the same time, it is a method of keeping him busy. 

You'll want one that is a bit challenging, but not overly so. It should be properly sized, and easy to clean.

Filling this with your chosen kibble is just fine. And to make it last longer, you may want to mix dry kibble with some smooth, all-natural peanut butter. 
Let's take a break here, to show you our recommended beds, the canine litter box that we talked about, and a great treat-dispensing toy. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. And next, we'll cover some more super-helpful items to keep puppies and dogs busy, and to aid with anxiety. 
5. The right toys, specific to your Maltipoo's needs.
If you think of toys as tools, you'll be better able to choose a few good ones that cater to your Maltipoo's specific needs. 

Here's what to consider:

Teething toys.

Really a 'must' for any puppy that is teething. This establishes good chewing behaviors and the right teething toy can help quite a bit with itching and discomfort. When these are placed in your Maltipoo's area, he'll be sure to use them to soothe his teething woes. 

'Stay busy toys'. 

Dogs can be bored just like we can. Be sure to take your Maltipoo for two walks per day, ideally lasting for at least 20 minutes each. Also, take time each day to play one-on-one, and do some command training. 

But, no matter how much attention you pay to your puppy or dog, there will be times that you'll need your Maltipoo to keep himself occupied, And of course, this is vital when your dog is home alone. 

Good 'stay busy' toys will be engaging. They'll draw a dog in and keep him focused. 

The Babbles that we recommend emit funny noises and sayings (20 in all), and are really a blast for dog of any age. One does animal noises (goat, chicken, horse, frog, etc.) and the other does human voices ('Hot diggity-dog', 'Hi, baby!', and more!)

Companion toy. 

This is a such a great help for dogs that have trouble being alone. A companion toy is as close as you can get to giving your Maltipoo a friend without bringing home another dog. 

The one that we recommend is a good-sized quality stuffed animal. It emits a rhythmic heartbeat, which mimics a living creature. And, optionally, it has a setting to emit a comforting warmth. With this, your Maltipoo is no longer alone. 
Below are the recommended toys that we've discussed. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. And next, we will talk about some additional bonus items, that can also be very helpful. 
6. Bonus aids for Maltipoos with separation anxiety. 
There are some extra things that you can do to help your dog such as experimenting with a window Vs non-window view, and coming home for lunch (or hiring a mid-day dog walker).

In addition to this:

1) Another helpful method is to have something playing in the background to reduce feelings of isolation. The TV or radio is one viable option. However, music that is designed specifically for dog's ears and composed to lower stress can 
work well as an additional calming aid.

2) There is also the option of treat-giving webcams. Please note, these can be a bit pricey. So, do not feel as if you need to get one of these if your budget does not allow for it. This said, wow, these are awesome! There are some that make it incredibly close to actually being there with your dog. 

These sync to an app on your phone. Then, from work or wherever you happen to be, you'll see your Maltipoo in real time. There is two-way audio, so you can hear your dog, and your Maltipoo will hear your voice. The best part? You tap your phone, and a treat shoots out. How cool is that? 
These recommended bonuses are below. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. And next, we'll go over some tips when setting up your Maltipoo's area. 

Additional Tips for your Maltipoo's Area

1. It's best to keep the playpen in one spot. However, since these are very portable, it's okay if you need to try a few areas to find one that your Maltipoo feels most comfortable. 

2. Most dogs appreciate being in a room that is used by the family; they do not like to feel isolated. The living room or kitchen are good spots. 

3. If you choose a playpen that does not have a bottom and you want to place it in a room that has carpeting, you can obtain a piece of linoleum for the pen to go over. Most home supplies have these and it is relatively inexpensive. 

4. If you obtain a playpen that has a door (which is what we recommend), leave the door open when you are home. Allow your Maltipoo to come and go as he pleases (as long as you are keeping a close eye on him, if he is not housebroken or has chewing issues). 

To keep a close eye on your Maltipoo, tether him to you, with him on a harness, and you with the leash around your wrist or slipped through your belt loop. 

If you don't have a harness for your Maltipoo, you may want to consider the EcoBark Maximum Comfort Harness; it is available in extra-small, small, and medium, comes in 8 different colors, and is easy to put on. 
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