maltipoo puppy sitting on pillow

Your Maltipoo Is Anxious—Why And What To Do

Your Maltipoo is Anxious-Why and What To Do

The Maltipoo maintains the intelligence and spirited manner of its predecessors — the Maltese and Toy Poodle — but its charming personality and teddy bear face have earned a reputation all its own.

If you're reading this article, chances are you already own a Maltipoo or are preparing to bring one home. Congratulations!

While Maltipoos have a long list of positive traits, it's important to be aware of some of their less endearing qualities as well.  In fact, you've probably wondered why your toy Maltipoo experiences stress and anxiety.

Behavioral issues stemming from stress and anxiety top the list of Maltipoo owners' gripes. Their high intelligence, energetic nature, and lap dog genetics result in an especially sensitive animal.

In this article we're going to explore your Maltipoo's background, understand the reasons behind their anxiety, and develop a lifestyle that eliminates anxiety both for you and your pup.

Understanding Your Maltipoo

The Maltipoo is a cross between a Toy Poodle and a Maltese. Understanding the history and characteristics of both of these breeds helps an owner gain insight into the way their pet is thinking and feeling.

Maltese

The Maltese is a lap dog from — you guessed it — Malta. Malta is a small Mediterranean island off the Italian coast, and the dignified nature of this small pup bears the elegance of its namesake well.

Their trademark floor-length white coat and compact size make it easy to forget the Maltese is still a dog with quite the penchant for exercise. Their energy levels are considered medium to high and require daily walks with their owner.

Bred for the sole purpose of being a lap and companion dog, they acquire a strong bond with their owner. Failure to provide the reassurance and presence this sensitive breed demands can result in quite a bit of household discord.

Owners of the Maltese, however, are more than happy to bend to the whims of this endearingly stubborn pup. When a harmony is struck between the needs of dog and owner a remarkable bond is formed.

toy maltipoo laying on dog bed

Toy Poodle

The Toy Poodle is a descendant from the much larger Standard Poodle. The "original" poodle was bred to be a companion for hunting, traveling, and military operations. The poodle gained widespread popularity in the 19th century due to its eagerness to please, trainability, and high intelligence.

Its thick, dense coat could be trimmed close to accommodate lengthy swims, or picked into a bouffant for circus performances. A truly versatile breed, the Toy Poodle has deviated little from its full-sized counterpart over the centuries.

Your Maltipoo

I bet you didn't think that cotton ball snoozing on your lap had such a rich history, huh? Its easy to forget your small dog is descended from the laps of royalty or fields of war, but its exactly that awareness that will help you understand why your Maltipoo acts the way it does.

The Toy Poodle and Maltese were crossed in an attempt to develop an intelligent, hypoallergenic lap dog truly devoted to its owner. Maltipoos are sensitive, and highly attuned to the emotions of their guardians, sometimes vigilantly so.

The Maltipoo has the highly adaptable nature of the Toy Poodle and can easily adjust to living in a home or small apartment. However, your Maltipoo has also acquired the lack of undercoat from the Maltese. This lack of insulation, combined with their small stature, means your pup is not suited for living outdoors. This includes in a kennel.

When the needs of this playful, outgoing, energetic breed are not understood, the result can be a dog that is highly fearful and anxious.

Common Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Your Maltipoo

The Maltipoo is frequently regarded as a stubborn breed, but that doesn't have to be the end of the story. Most behavioral issues in a Maltipoo actually occur as a result of stress and anxiety, as opposed to that trademark stubbornness.

Incessant Barking

Just because constant barking in small dogs is common doesn't mean it can't be changed, and just because it's common doesn't mean its healthy either. Except in the case of older dogs when they are prone to confusion and dulled senses, a dog that is constantly yapping is trying to tell you something.

Neither of the breeds in the Maltipoo's makeup have especially strong guardian traits, so cross breed standards off the list of reasons your dog is so vocal. Nonstop barking is, essentially, a compulsion. Your Maltipoo will engage in compulsive, repetitive behavior when they don't know any other way to calm themselves.

Be aware of the patterns involving your dog's barking, and start from there. If your Maltipoo unleashes their fury any time someone comes near their owner, their home, or their food, then there is likely an underlying insecurity regarding one of those resources that needs to be addressed.

toy maltipoo sitting in grass

Potty Training Issues

The Maltipoo is among the more difficult breeds to potty train. While this can be attributed to their stubborn nature, it more than likely has other root causes.

A healthy adult dog can be expected to control their bodily functions for 8 hours at a time. Excluding young puppies and medical issues, an adult dog that is continually relieving themselves outside of designated areas is under some degree of stress. It is also not in a dog's makeup to eliminate waste in the same areas where they sleep, live, and eat.

Solutions to potty training will be outlined in detail in the sections of this article regarding establishing healthy routines and crate training.

Hyperactivity and Jumping

High on the list of Maltipoo owner complaints is their dog exhibiting high levels of energy. Its completely normal for a healthy, well balanced dog to have stores of energy to burn. What is not normal is a dog that is wild-eyed, panting, and engaging in a behavior on repeat without a break.

Again, this is a sign of a compulsive behavior likely induced by stress, anxiety, or fear. Juvenile dogs are more likely to exhibit these hyperactive traits, but they have been observed in Maltipoos of all ages.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common source of anxiety across all dog breeds and is not limited to Maltipoos. It is, however, acutely expressed in Maltipoos for a number of reasons. First, their background as working and lap dogs has hardwired the need to be near their owners into their psyche.

You cannot train your Maltipoo not to crave your attention and affection. That is part of being a dog owner, and if you can't guarantee being able to provide some of yourself to your dog every day you are better off not having a dog at all. But you can train your Maltipoo to be confident in your absence, knowing they can rely on you to return home every day.

Although separation anxiety can be frustrating, its an entirely treatable form of stress. Desensitization training is especially helpful for relieving separation anxiety in Maltipoos.

Helping Your Maltipoo Relax and Unwind

The key to helping your Maltipoo find a sense of ease and comfort in their home is meeting their basic needs. First off, put yourself in your Maltipoo's tiny shoes. The little balls of fluff are an average of 10 inches tall. Even a small apartment can seem like an intimidating labrynth to an animal that size.

toy maltipoo sitting in field

Create a safe space for your Maltipoo

I know your pup seems to have everything they could dream of when they're snuggled next to you on the couch, but its incredibly important for your Maltipoo's mental health that they have an area all their own.

Begin by picking out a quiet, low traffic area of your home. Corners are ideal because they offer more of a sense of being 'closed in.' Make sure they have a bed, a blankie, and their favorite chew toy.

If you're trying to encourage your dog to favor their own space over your lap, you have to invest in a high quality dog bed they actually want to sleep in. This Calming Cuddle Bed is a good choice because it features raised circular edges that fulfill your dog's need to burrow deep and snuggle down into their bedding.

Use a Routine

The first thing you want to adopt after your Maltipoo is a consistent routine. A reliable routine is the number one way you alleviate your puppy's stress by letting them know you are a pack leader that can be relied upon. By letting your pup know when they can expect to be fed, let out to potty, and played with, they won't see the need to try and take control of these things themselves.

Mealtimes set the framework for the rest of your routine. Refrain from letting a bowl of food sit out all day long for your Maltipoo to pick at as they wish. Establish your role as pack leader by controlling when they eat. Regulating their food intake will also help to regulate the times they need to relieve themselves.

Your dog will likely need a restroom break within 20 minutes of eating. This is a great time to also fulfill your dog's needs for exercise and attention by going for a walk.

The specifics of you and your Maltipoo's routine can be adapted to fit your needs so long as it meets your dog's physical, emotional, and mental needs.

Many symptoms of stress and anxiety, especially relating to puppy potty training, are resolved when a consistent routine is implemented.

Consider a Crate

Many novice pet owners thumb their noses at the idea of putting their beloved pet in a cage all day long. First off, any certified professional dog trainer will tell you it is completely unacceptable to leave your Maltipoo in a crate all day long.

Your dog will only be in a crate when you are away at work. If that is going to exceed 8 hours, it would be a good idea to hire a pet sitter to take your dog for a walk so they can stretch and relieve themselves.

A crate can relieve stress and anxiety in your dog by playing on their den instinct. With proper training, the enclosed space will provide your Malipoo with a sense of closeness and security. Additionally, dogs are instinctively adverse to relieving themselves in their dens, which makes potty training the number one reason owners turn to crates.

Properly administered, crate training can be the key to providing your Maltipoo with the tools they need to confidently self soothe. If crate training just doesn't sound like something that would work for you and your pup, be extra vigilant about making sure your dog has an alternative safe space as discussed above.

three toy maltipoo dogs sitting on chair

Boredom May Be Why Your Toy Maltipoo Experiences Stress and Anxiety

One of the biggest reasons Maltipoo owners find themselves with a frustrated, anxious dog, is its so easy to forget there is a canine inside of that fancy sweater he's wearing. Beneath their pampered facade is an intelligent animal that craves sunlight, exercise, time with other dogs, and mental stimulation. Many Maltipoo owners neglect to respect their dog's basic needs in this way and end up with a dog that is stressed and resentful.

Offer Regular Exercise and Interaction

Incorporate regular walks into your dog's routine. The sunlight and fresh air will have a calming effect on both you and your Maltipoo.

Don't be afraid to shake up your exercise routine by taking your Maltipoo with you to new places. The beach, the park, the trails behind your house. Your pup will be delighted to experience new sights and smells by your side.

If you and your dog are up for it, try out the dog park. Not all pup personalities do well in that environment, but for those that do its an indispensable opportunity to run and play with other dogs.

You would be amazed to see the difference in your Maltipoo after a few weeks of trying out new adventures together. The dog that used to pant and pace every time you picked up your keys might just be sound asleep when you head out for the day.

Invest in Obedience Training

It can't be reiterated enough just how intelligent your Maltipoo is. Poodles regularly rate first on lists of most intelligent dog breeds, and the Maltese usually isn't very far behind. A dog breed with such innate intelligence will need to be continually challenged to keep them from growing bored and experiencing anxiety.

A certified professional dog trainer is an invaluable resources and can offer amazing insight on your Maltipoo's behavior problemEven after your puppy has mastered the basics of potty training, crate training, and basic commands it's a great idea to continue onto advanced dog training courses.

Not only does it create valuable bonding opportunities for you and your pet, it gives the pet owner the opportunity to grow in their understanding as pack leader.

three toy maltipoos sitting in front of blue background

Homeopathic Solutions For Your Maltipoo's Stress and Anxiety

In an age where everything seems to be cutting edge and synthetic it's easy to forget about the natural solutions we've relied on for thousands of years. While obedience training and routine will go a long way to calm your Maltipoo, there are many herbal remedies that can do wonders for his mental health as well.

Valerian officinalis

Also known simply as Valerian root, this supplement has been used by both humans and pets alike to offer relief from anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress. Valerian supplements ease anxiety by revving up production of the neurotransmitter gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) which sends calming signals to the brain.

Vetiver

Vetiver is an aromatic herb belonging to the same family as lemongrass and citronella. Its scent is complex, earthy and very distinct. The soothing aroma is said to have properties that help ground your pet in situations which cause them to feel flighty and insecure.

Clary Sage

Clary Sage has been regarded for centuries for its ability to induce a calming state when inhaled. It is a gentle and soothing alternative to prescription sedatives for both humans and their pets. Studies have shown a strong correlation between use of Clary Sage and reduction in the stress causing hormone, cortisol.

Exercise Caution When Using Essential Oils

Just because something is natural doesn't mean care shouldn't be exercised when using it. Essential oils are incredibly potent compounds that can make your pet ill if used improperly.

When purchasing calming essential oils for your Maltipoo you must source from reputable suppliers that specialize in homeopathic pet remedies. Calming Dog has a line of calming sprays and treats devoted to naturally relieving your pup's anxiety. All of their products are sourced from the USA, so you can be confident in their standards of quality.

Conclusion

In this article we visited your Maltipoo's roots, saw life from their perspective, sniffed out possible problems and hunted down several solutions to your dog's stress and anxiety.

Just like a person, your Maltipoo's mental health and well being will ebb and flow over time. This is normal! Expect your pup to regress during times of abrupt change or stress.

Just remember to remain consistent, be a confident leader, meet your dog's needs, and enjoy the journey with your forever friend.

Back to blog