Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common issue in rescue dogs that have experienced trauma or neglect. It can be a challenging behaviour to address, but with patience and dedication, it can be managed. Let's consider the steps you can take to rehabilitate your rescue Maltese and help them overcome separation anxiety.


Step 1: Understand Separation Anxiety


The first step in rehabilitating a rescue Maltese with separation anxiety is to understand the behaviour. Separation anxiety occurs when a dog becomes distressed when they are separated from their owner. This can lead to destructive behaviours, such as excessive barking, chewing, or urinating, as well as physical symptoms, such as panting, pacing, or drooling. Understanding the behaviour will help you develop a plan to manage it.


Step 2: Create a Safe Space


The second step is to create a safe space for your dog. This can be a crate or a specific room in your home where your dog feels comfortable and secure. Encourage your dog to spend time in this space when you are home, and gradually increase the time spent in the space when you are away. This will help your dog learn to feel safe and secure in the space and reduce their anxiety when you are gone.


Step 3: Gradual Separation


The third step is to work on gradual separation. Start by leaving your dog alone for short periods of time and gradually increase the duration. Use positive reinforcement to reward your dog for calm behaviour while you are away. This will help your dog learn that you will return and that being alone is not a scary experience.


Step 4: Provide Mental Stimulation


The final step would be to provide mental stimulation for your dog. Separation anxiety can be exacerbated by boredom, so providing your dog with toys, puzzles, or games to keep them mentally stimulated can help reduce anxiety. This will help your dog associate being alone with positive experiences.

If all your efforts fail you may consider asking a professional if necessary. Separation anxiety can be a complex behaviour to address, and it may require the assistance of a professional trainer or behaviourist. They can help develop a customized plan to address your dog's specific needs and behaviour.


In conclusion, helping a rescue Maltese suffering from separation anxiety can be a challenging but also rewarding experience. By understanding the behaviour, creating a safe space, working on gradual separation, providing mental stimulation, and consulting with a professional if necessary, you can help your rescue Maltese overcome separation anxiety and become a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted member of your family. Remember to be patient, understanding, and loving as you work with your dog to overcome any challenges they may have.