What makes a great pet? Appearance, personality, sociability, energy, or intelligence? Well, I would say it’s a combination of all and some more.
Every dog has these qualities in varying proportions. So the question is often best answered by taking an inward search to determine what the most important quality you desire is, and what quality best suits your personality.
The answer to if Maltese is good for first-time owners is a million times, yes! Maltese dogs are amiable and eager to please. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can handle a Maltese with little stress. Many experts advise first-time dog owners to go for smaller breeds as they are easier to handle and won’t keep outgrowing their collars and other accessories. Maltese dogs are one of such small breeds.
As a first time owner, you might not be quite sold on dogs, and a Maltese can be quite the handful. Hence, keep reading to learn more information that can help prep you for Maltese ownership.
Things You Need to Know as a First-Time Owner
Grooming is part of the job
You probably want to get a Maltese because of the cute pictures you saw in a movie or online, or maybe your neighbor has one, and she’s beautiful.
I get that sentiment, but you should understand that some work is required of you to keep your Maltese looking beautiful all the time.
Different Maltese look differently because of the different grooming styles. Maltese dogs have long, silky, flowing hair that can grow too long if you don’t groom it.
There are different possible haircuts you may choose for your Maltese, but regardless of the hairstyle, you still have some grooming to do around some body parts. The essential parts to trim on your Maltese are around the eyes, ears, and anus.
Most Maltese dogs are white and shiny; to keep them looking clean and healthy, you have to groom them consistently. You have to brush her fur and bathe her regularly to maintain a spotless and healthy appearance.
It would be best if you also brushed her teeth using good dog toothpaste and small brush daily to prevent the formation of tartar.
You would need to wipe underneath your Maltese eyes daily to prevent the formation of tear stains. You do this using warm water and a clean cloth or cotton ball and then applying a small amount of Vaseline around the area to further protect it from stains.
If you intend to leave your Maltese hair long and flowing, you may need to brush and comb it daily to avoid entanglement.
Malteses are easily spoiled
As you set out to purchase one of our cute little friends, you must understand that you have to put her in her place early enough.
Malteses are cute and cuddly, so there’s always the danger of overindulging them, which can lead to bad behavior. With this breed, you have to establish a hierarchy which she can interpret to mean, “I am not the pack leader here!”
The good news is, it’s not that difficult to pass that message. All you need to do is follow a predetermined order of communication with your Maltese.
For example, never let her go and come as she pleases, or jump on you or others, or pick her up if she starts to bark for any reason. Try to avoid carrying your Maltese in your arms everywhere like you were born to serve her, and you’ll do just fine.
They are fragile
Maltese is a toy breed, which means they are pretty small. Standing between 8-10 inches as fully grown adults, Malteses are petite and delicate despite their reputation for bravery.
Because of their minute size, they are in danger of being hurt by younger kids in their attempt to play. If you have kids younger than 13, you would need to watch them when they play with your Maltese.
Also, due to their size, it’s easy for them to fit into unlikely spaces and become stuck. This can be a frightening experience for your Maltese and cause her to panic, which may lead to more severe injury.
It would be a great idea to “Maltese-proof” (eliminate small spaces) your apartment before the arrival of the latest member of your family.
Exercise and training is necessary
Maltese dogs have so much energy packed in a tiny frame that is continually looking for an opportunity to be let out. You would need to provide positive ways for this pent up energy to be released or endure unhealthy behaviors as a result.
Exercise and training are the ideal options to help your Maltese expends her energy positively. While exercise burns the excess energy, training teaches your Maltese how to use the remaining energy properly.
A 20-minute walk or two 10 minutes’ walk daily and the occasional short run or game of catch is sufficient to meet your Maltese exercise requirements.
In terms of training, it takes 7 to 10 tries and repetitions to get the message stuck, and after that, you’re good.
They can be quite vocal
Maltese can be such yappers. Her shrill barks can be frustrating for you and probably attract complaints from your neighbors. The tricky part is, the barking might be for no good reason.
She could start barking at the sound of your neighbor pulling into his driveway or the sound of voices in the hallway. Maybe she wants to play at night if she’s left alone for some time, or if she’s overexcited.
Fret not; the yapping can be controlled and minimized to its barest minimum through some types of training. Well trained Malteses are barkless and are in more control of their actions. The key here is to invest some time and money into training your Maltese properly.
They are prone to separation anxiety
Maltese dogs are lap dogs. A brief look into their history will reveal a deep need for companionship and constant attention.
They have no history of existing in the wild and were bred to be the ideal pets and companions for the women of nobility in the ancient Roman Empire. Everything about Maltese screams companionship!
So it’s no surprise that they feel grumpy and anxious when they are without their human family. If left alone for long periods, your Maltese is likely to bark throughout your absence.
Specific therapeutic measures like playing prescribed dog music, leaving the lights on, leaving the TV on, and treat dispensing toys can help to keep your Maltese occupied for some time in your absence.
Maybe not the best choice for you if you’re extremely busy
Typically Maltese will keep you on your toes for long periods at a time. You need to keep an eye on her, so she doesn’t get in trouble, and she also needs to be by your side to be happy.
That said, it would be a mismatch if you work for most of the day and want a Maltese, except of course you’ve made provisions for that, maybe with a family member of a dog nanny.
Why Are Malteses Suitable for First-Time Owners?
Now that you understand what it means to own a Maltese dog but you’re not so sure why this cute and loving breed is good for novice owners. Let me tell you why.
These are a few of the qualities that make them great for first-time dog owners:
- They are hypoallergenic: Owning a dog for the first time can be quite the commitment, and having one that triggers allergies is worse still. You may not have the experience to handle tricky situations like these or know the signs to look out for to avoid a possible disaster. Maltese dogs shed very little and have no undercoats making them ideal for people with dog allergies.
- They are eager to please and very happy: Malteses are people-oriented and very intentional when it comes to pleasing their owners. When you get a Maltese, what you get is a happy dog whose energy and playful nature can be quite contagious, which can lift your mood on gloomy days. A typical Maltese always wants to please her owner, so at some point, you can count on her not to do the kind of things that get you upset.
- They have little space requirements: Being tiny pets, Malteses are suitable for any apartment space, although you would need to apportion a particular corner of the house as theirs. It doesn’t take much to create a corner for your Maltese; all it takes is to gate off a small portion of space within which she can comfortably stand, turn, and move around.
- Ideal companions: If companionship is your primary motivation for seeking out a pet, then a Maltese is an excellent choice for you. There is hardly a dull moment with a Maltese around, and they are willing to shower as much love – if not more – on you as you show them.
Like I stated earlier in this article, in the end, it comes down to your personal preference and why you want a dog in the first place. But just in case you want a ball of excitement, an escape from boredom, and you have the time, why not have a Maltese?