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Behavior Issues (Main Page)

Maltipoo Behavior Issues

Top 4 Maltipoo Behavior Problems 

The wonderful hybrid Maltipoo dog is known for his easygoing personality, loyalty to his humans and overall friendly personality that makes this cross between a Maltese and a toy or Miniature Poodle a wonderful family pet.
However, there are a few behavior problems that can arise with either a puppy or an older dog. In this section, we are going to discuss the top 5 behavior problems that Maltipoo owners encounter. 
We'll also talk about steps that you can take to counter that behavior.

What behavioral problems do Maltipoos show? The top 4 are:

1) Excessive barking at night

2) Difficultly with house training

3) Separation Anxiety

4) Jumping/ acting hyper

Let's take a look at each of these to help you find solutions if your Maltipoo puppy or dog is showing any of these behavioral issues.
1) Excessive Barking at Night   
This breed - in general - is not known as a 'yapper' however due to a variety of factors, a Maltipoo may be stuck in a behavioral pattern of barking incessantly. While there are triggers that will cause an adult to bark, this issue is most commonly seen with puppies under the age of 1 year old.

We'll look at the triggers and things that you can do to help your puppy or dog be a bit quieter.

Barking is high on the list of behavioral problems and certainly doing this at night tops things in regard to frustration that an owner can feel when the Maltipoo is up and making noise til the wee hours of the morning.

Before we dive into the most common reasons for this, do first be sure that your puppy or dog is not acting out due to discomfort. Wired bottom cages are just terrible on the paws (and the whole body for that matter), small crates are too confining for a dog to stay all night and areas that are drafty may cause a puppy or even older Maltipoo to be extremely vocal. You'll also want to ensure that your dog is in good health. Some issues such as hip, legs or back problems may not flare up until the dog is lying down and therefore nighttime ruckus may be validated. 

Once the above elements have been ruled out, we can start to look at this from a behavioral problem standpoint. There are essentially only two reasons why a healthy dog in a warm and comfortable environment will keep you up all night:

1) Bathroom needs that are not being attended to
2) Attention seeking behavior
The Fix - For puppies and even for older dogs that may just not be able to last through the night, do be sure to bring them outside about 1 hour before bed and patiently wait 15 to 20 minutes for there to be urination and/or a bowel movement. 

A common mistake is for owners to assume that if a dog needs to go, he will do so within mere minutes and this can create tons of problems. Some dogs need time to find just the 'right spot' and for others, it's a matter of the body needing extra time to relax enough to expel out urine and/or feces.

Then, at night, barking should be attended to IF a reasonable enough time has passed that needing to go out seems possible. If so, it is super important to keep lights very low and have zero talking. Let the dog do the deed and silently bring him back to his spot.

In this way, owners can teach a dog that is waking up that while housebreaking needs will be met, there will be zero fun and absolutely no engaging interaction at all. Teaching a dog that getting up at night is just about the most boring thing that can happen is often all that is needed for him to stop this particular behavioral problem.

At ALL other times, the dog should be 100% ignored. This is easier said than done when you may be worried that your neighbors are about to call in a disturbance or if the noise may wake up your children. However, dogs that have a behavior problem of barking for attention quickly learn to self-sooth if no one runs over to do it for them. 

Remember that even storming up and shushing the dog is a form of attention; to stop a dog from being vocal in the dead of night, there must be no interaction whatsoever. 

As long as he is healthy, warm, safe and potty needs are met, leaving him to self-sooth with toys and a cozy blanket will give him the opportunity to learn to calm down and relax without his human right there. This gives a pup a good foundation for better behavior as an adult. Rushing over to every unfounded yelp, whine and whimper only creates a terrible, vicious cycle of repeated negative behavior.
2) Difficultly with house training

Owners know that housebreaking a Maltipoo puppy will be a challenge, but most people go into it with a good, positive attitude that it will soon be over and all will be fine. So, what do you do with a Maltipoo that struggles with learning this or at times even seems defiant?

Trouble with potty training is the 2nd most common behavior issue with the Maltipoo, though when we look at this in more detail, it really does not fully fall under the 'behavior' category. 

Let's look at the top complaints by owners and what can be done to resolve things:

My Maltipoo pees or poops as soon as I bring him back inside! It is important to make sure that the dog is focusing on the task AND to allow enough time. In regard to focusing, make sure that your dog is not multi-tasking. There should be no playing or roaming around. Keeping your Maltipoo on a 6 foot leash, stand in the middle of the designated area and allow him to circle within that spot. While he may sniff and look around, do not engage in any play or talk to disturb him.

In regard to time, while it would be great if dogs went on cue, some need up to 20 minutes for bowel muscles to relax and push out the fecal matter. With urination, a dog may release half the bladder and need a bit more time to release the rest.

Set up an outdoor chair, bring your phone or flip through a book… but give him enough time. 
My dog can't hold his needs for more than an hour! The first thing to look at would be any health issue that was causing this. With a full and complete checkup to ensure that there are no medical issues, an owner can then look to other reasons.

While we are discussing this under Maltipoo behavioral problems, this can often be a matter of a physical issue. Here's how it works: Very young puppies have very little control over holding their needs. As they grow, bladder and bowel muscles grow stronger BUT this only happens if they are allowed to become stronger!  

If you took an 8 month old pup outside every 2 hours and once he turned 3 and then 4 months old, you did not extend that time, his body will still be used to going every 2 hours.  

The key will be to gradually let there be more time in-between taking the dog outside. Aim for 15 minutes longer than normal and slowly work out from there. A Maltipoo that is used to going every 3 hours cannot suddenly learn to hold on for 8 hours… However if this is done in 15 minute intervals over the course of days and weeks, he can certainly work his way there.
My Maltipoo pees or poops at night when I'm sleeping! He didn’t even wake me up! Barring any health problems, this is not uncommon with young pups. And while most dogs will alert owners to a need, some are very quiet and will just do the deed silently. You'll want to make sure to bring him outside 1 hour and then 20 minutes before bed, giving him those 20 minutes we spoke about above.

In addition, 2 hours before sleep time, no more food should be fed. Do not, however, limit water.

You'll also want to make sure that the sleeping area is big enough. If a dog needs to go, he will indeed go even in a small confined space. For this reason, it is best to create a gated area that can hold a bed and pee pads. This way, if you are not alerted, there is a good chance that the pads will be used.

Finally, making sure that your Maltipoo gets enough exercise and activity during the day can help the dog sleep better through the night. Two daily walks are best and some play time (fetch, etc.) along with some command training all work together to provide enough stimulation to help a dog stay asleep at night.
My Maltipoo is peeing everywhere in the house! This may be a urinary tract or bladder infection, so once those and other health issues are ruled out, you can look at this as a behavioral problem with the Maltipoo. And as you may have guessed, this will be marking behavior if the dog pees all over the house. Marking is more like a spraying or a 'misting' as opposed to emptying the entire bladder.

Unfixed dogs will spray much more than those that are spayed or neutered, so if you are not planning on breeding your dog you may want to seriously consider having him or her fixed. It also cuts down the risk of many health problems including several forms of cancer.

Dogs that feel that they must exhibit dominance may have this behavior problem. Working to establish yourself as the true leader can help. Be sure to never offer food unless the 'Sit' command is obeyed, teach all commands and be the first to enter & exit the house, holding the leash in such a way that your Maltipoo must follow you and not the other way around.

Finally, be sure to use the right cleaner for any areas that are affected. Solutions with enzyme fighters will do the trick, as they can eliminate odors that humans cannot even detect. 
3) Separation Anxiety

Dogs that simply cannot handle being home alone can exhibit quite severe behavioral problems. They may be very destructive (chewing anything that they can), barking up a storm, work themselves into a frenzy, try to escape from their area and even become exceedingly depressed.

Here are some quick but very helpful tips to help with this behavioral problem:
  • Never crate the dog. He should be given a good sized, gated off area so that he does not feel confined.
  • Experiment with window vs windowless views. Sometimes having a line of sight to the outside world can help with feeling isolated and with others it can be a trigger for out of control behavior.
  • Leave a light on when you leave. If a clouds roll in or you get home as the sun is setting (or later), your Maltipoo won't be in an empty, darkening house, which in and of itself can set off nervousness.
  • While you may have to work 5 or more days a week and cannot offer quantity of time, offer quality time! Explore different routes when walking, use a sling to bring your Maltipoo with you to run errands, engage your dog to help you around the home, and spend as much time together as possible.
  • Some owners worry that this will 'spoil' a dog into becoming too used to being with the owner that it makes it worse when he is left home alone. However, just the opposite is true. When a dog is starving for attention at all times, that is when his behavior is at its worst. But when a dog has a full, enriching and interesting life, he has often 'had his fill' and copes better during the quieter times.
  • Have the right toy supplies. Be sure to leave plenty of chew toys, toys that hold treats and peanut butter and for Maltipoo with severe problems, a cuddle toy that emits a soothing heartbeat can be just the trick to calm a dog down. Note: 
  • Act as calm as you can when leaving and when you arrive back home, work hard to behave in a matter-of-fact manner.
4) Jumping/ acting hyper

The Maltipoo is certainly not a lazy dog and while some can be quiet and shy there are just as many that are a bit too hyper. A Maltipoo may have the behavioral problems of jumping on you or on guests , running around in circles like a loon and basically acting a bit crazy.

There are some things that you can do to help:

A Healthy Outlet - Make sure that you give the puppy or dog an opportunity to release pent up energy in a constructive way. Some dogs do okay with one walk per day, many are best with two but some need three. Each dog has his own level of energy and will need a way to express it.
If a dog is stuck in the house for too long, just about any element can trigger him to act out and jump up. 

This can range from just a person entering the room to the doorbell ringing. Dogs need to explore, to see, to smell and to stretch their muscles. While a short jaunt around the neighborhood may not seem like much to you, it can do wonders for a toy sized dog like the Maltipoo
Exposure - The response by some owners is to cut the dog off from the very thing that is causing the problem. 

For example, an owner may place the Maltipoo in his gated area when company comes over or avoid taking the dog to the park due to his behavior. Some owners will hesitate to take their dog for a walk if the dog jumps, barks and acts crazy when cars, people or other dogs pass by. 

This is often due to an owner feeling embarrassed about having a dog that displaying behavioral problems and some owners don't want to feel the stress of dealing with it.

However, when you limit a dog in this way, you rob him of the chance to learn to tolerate the trigger. The best method to deal with this sort of behavioral issue is to continually expose the dog - without force, pressure or expectations - to what is causing the problem. 

At the same time, there should be zero response by the owner no matter what the dog does. When out for a walk, keep him on harness an leash (the harness and not just a collar will protect his neck while he freaks out) , and you should keep walking as intended and bring your dog along. 

Indoors, the same ignoring technique should be done. No eye contact, nothing. When a dog finally tuckers out and is quiet - that is the moment a treat and praise should be given. 
Should a dog be given a reward if he is only quiet because he got tired? Yes!  If he calmed down - no matter the reason - reward reinforces what will and what will not bring him the goodies.

Continual exposure to things that elicit negative behavior works well whether or not it makes sense to you that the dog acts that way. For example, a car passing by once a week while out for exercise may seem like a huge deal to a dog that hardly sees one but if you take that same dog and have him see cars every day, twice a day for a month something happens…

Those cars are not such a huge deal now. They got boring. They lost their appeal. When a Maltipoo's owner ignored the jumping and the ruckus and kept walking… and the dog kept seeing the same thing over and over…. It became part of the scenery and not so important after all. 
Related: Maltipoo Likes Being in Closet - In our Q&A blog, an owner asks why his Maltipoo suddenly likes to be in the closet, only coming out once in a while. 
Maltipoo Aggressive Behavior - If your Maltipoo is nipping, biting, growling, or otherwise acting aggressively, this article is for you. 
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