Maltese dogs are a very easy-going breed that gets along just fine in most cases. They’re generally friendly and delicate dogs that require sensitive training methods.
Their nature makes them prone to bad behavior as they tend to demand a lot of attention and act up if they don’t get it. Hence, training a Maltese requires some patience.
Malteses are intelligent dogs, so they are quite easy to train as they learn very quickly. They are ranked as one of the easiest breeds to train amongst the small breeds. The problem with Maltese is not the inability to learn but rather stubbornness and disobedience that can occur if they are spoiled or untrained. Given how cute they are, it’s easy for them to be quite spoiled.
Usually, bad behavior in dogs has more to do with lousy training than bad dogs. A well-trained dog is well behaved and a joy to have. With regards to Maltese, getting them trained is a simple challenge and here’s why.
Why Maltese Dogs Are Easy to Train?
They love to make you happy: Maltese dogs are people pleasers and are generally happy when they can do anything to make you feel better. For this reason, they’re more willing to cooperate and learn new skills if they think it will make you happy.
They are an intelligent little breed: Malteses are smart, so they learn new commands quite well, but this doesn’t mean you won’t need to repeat the commands for it to stick. The problem with this breed is that they can be a little stubborn, usually because of overindulgence.
They are easy to motivate: It’s easy to get a Maltese to follow simple commands. All you need to do is to have some dog treats in your hands, ready to reward them for following the commands.
Types of Dog Training for Malteses
Training your Maltese is like taking her to school and enrolling her for some education. As a result, there are different types and levels of education you can employ to get your Maltese to behave expectedly.
Like education, also, there is specialized training you can enroll your Maltese to gain specific skills.
Here are the most popular types of training out there:
This is usually associated with puppies as mature dogs are expected to be potty trained already. It’s the first type of training on the minds of dog owners as no one wants to have their entire house stinking dog poop.
Here’s what it takes to potty-train your Maltese puppy:
When you get a new puppy, you must keep her within your sight at all times. Use closed doors or gates to restrict her movement, so she doesn’t go pooping somewhere else in the house.
While observing her, if you notice her sniffing or squatting, pick her up quickly and take her outside to do her business.
A puppy will always need to go to the bathroom within 10 – 15 minutes after feeding. This is because their stomachs are small, and their bladders are short.
Ten minutes after feeding her, take her out to potty. This means you would have to regulate when your puppy eats, and be aware. While you’re outside, don’t use this time to play, just sit or stand until she finally poops.
You need to use the same set of commands and movements whenever you want your puppy to go potty. Use your preferred word or phrase like “go!” or “go, potty girl! Good girl!” and wait for her to go.
This way, she understands what is expected of her when you say those words. It’s also important that you praise her whenever she potties in the designated area. This will help her to repeat that behavior as dogs love to please their human companions.
Whenever it’s time to potty, take her through the same door and to the same area of the yard you’ve chosen. This way, she’ll go to that door whenever she wants to potty.
You can also use scented potty training pads that make dogs want to potty on them. These pads can be placed close to the door you want your dog to alert you with if she wants to do her business.
Perhaps the next most urgent training that will come to your mind is how to get your Maltese in control without losing your mind in the process.
This training ideally starts when the dog is about two months, intending to make your Maltese obedient to you. It’s closely related to behavioral training as they both involved altering unwanted behaviors, though this is slightly more advanced.
Obedience training involves issuing commands like sit, stay, lie down, or fetch – usually simple commands that any dog can learn to obey within a short while.
However, you will continuously have to reinforce this training by regularly using the commands throughout your Maltese life. Introducing new commands is also a great way to strengthen the bond with your dog too.
You can do this type of training yourself, or you can enroll your dog in a puppy training class run by competent professionals.
This is simply aimed at teaching your puppy how to behave around humans and fellow dogs. It attempts to rid your puppy of all innate and learned unwanted behaviors that make your Maltese harder to handle.
It’s core activities revolve around socializing, so it’s usually best to involve your puppy in a puppy play class so she can associate with other puppies and develop social skills.
Behavioral training cuts off behaviors like barking, biting, and growling at strangers. Like obedience training, you must engage your Maltese in this type of training early enough before she gets the chance to develop social anxiety issues.
This is one of the specialized types of training I implied earlier. It’s a type of training best suited for dogs who are going to be involved in some kind of dog sports or sporting event.
This is a more advanced type of exercise as it demands that the dog should already be familiar with basic commands and have formed a strong bond with her handler.
Although it’s majorly used as preparation for dog sports, agility training can be a fun hobby to stimulate your Maltese, exhaust pent up energy, and also strengthen bonds.
If you decide to put your Maltese through this training process, you should put her size into consideration. You should get advice from professionals in that field or join an agility class for beginners.
Dogs can be trained to perform various functions. When these functions include assisting humans in one way or another, then the dogs can be referred to as service dogs.
The popular types of services rendered by dogs are helping the disabled, working with law enforcement and rescue work, therapy assistance, herd protection, hunting, etc..
Service dogs must have first mastered the basic training since the training required for them to serve is advanced. Not all dogs can function in every service area; some breeds are better suited for certain services.
Service training just hones the innate abilities of these dogs to carry out the purposes for which they were built.
Maltese dogs in service are better suited to be therapy and medical alert dogs. As medical alert dogs, they can warn patients of possible health issues like a drop in blood sugar level or other health emergencies.
As therapy dogs, they are cuddly and joyful enough to help people dealing with emotional or psychiatric issues feel better during therapy sessions.
The following are some of the effective methods and techniques for training your Maltese.
- Use of positive reinforcement: This is by far the most popular method for training dogs. It’s not just fashionable, but almost indispensable for training animals. Every other process of training dogs also incorporates the use of positive reinforcements. This method is simply rewarding your dog for behaving rightly. You can reward her with treats, playtime, or a nice long petting session.
- Clicker training: This method involves the use of a device that makes a sharp noise to indicate when the desired behavior has been performed. The dog will have to be trained to associate the clicker sound to “reward time.” This is a favorite method for many professional dog trainers.
- Electronic training: This is a method that is more focused on curbing bad behavior rather than instilling correct behavior. In this method, an electric collar is used to deliver a mild shock or spray citronella when a dog does not act in the right way. This is not a favorite method for most dog owners for several reasons.
How to Train Your Maltese
Regardless of the type or method of training, you choose to go with, doing the following will help you get your Maltese properly trained:
- Prepare to begin training your Maltese from scratch even though the breeder tells you that she’s had some training.
- Try to exercise your Maltese regularly to burn excess energy. It is said that a well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog.
- Positive reinforcements are a great way to train Maltese.
- Consistency and repetition are essential to training your Maltese for anything.
- Do not confuse your Maltese. Establish the required behavior early in your Puppies life and stick to it. For example, if you don’t want your Maltese on the sofa, never put her on it.
- Don’t pick up your Maltese if she’s barking for attention. Dogs interpret being picked up as being rewarded, meaning you’ll never see the end of that habit.
- Do not try to cuddle or pet your Maltese if she starts growling at a stranger that would be interpreted as encouraging the behavior.
- If your Maltese is prone to overexcitement whenever you try to pet her, try bending your hands away if she reacts in this manner. With a few try’s she’d understand that overexcitement is unacceptable behavior.
Bad Maltese Behaviors Due to Inadequate Training
It’s not that difficult to identify an untrained or poorly trained Maltese. They usually have similar traits.
- Constant barking: Malteses have a reputation for being yappers. An untrained Maltese will bark at almost anything, and this type of barking can be difficult to get under control.
- Overexcitement: A Maltese that gets overexcited if you reach out to pet her or if a visitor shows up is likely untrained. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a difference between being happy and overexcitement. Overexcitement can lead to excited peeing.
- Biting and growling: If your Maltese has developed the habit of running after you or anyone else and trying to bite their feet, that’s bad behavior. Likewise, if she growls at strangers all the time, it could imply inadequate training.
- Jumping on people: When your Maltese doesn’t know when to stop and continually tries to jump on people, that’s a sign of lack of training.
You need to understand that training any dog can take some time. On average, dogs need about 5-10 tries to adapt to new commands, and even at that, you need to use those commands regularly, so it becomes a part of them.
The good news, though, is that once your dog is well trained, she can be the best thing to happen to you.