The world has advanced beyond breeding most dogs for security purposes. In this dispensation, dogs are bred for a myriad of reasons like sports, show, family pets, helping people with disabilities, and so on.
Regardless, many people are still interested in finding out if their dogs will have their backs if push comes to shove. So in the case of Malteses, will they protect you if you’re in danger?
Yes, Malteses will protect their owners. Although Maltese is a toy breed, they’re reputed to be courageous dogs. These fearless dogs are quite willing to go all the way to protect you if they think you’re in danger. Due to their size, however, you can’t rely on them for protection in most cases, but not for lack of trying. They are reminiscent of the legendary example of a willing spirit but a weak body.
The idea that your Maltese could be protective of you sounds charming initially, but there’s a thin line between protection and obsession – and that’s where the frustration lies.
You have to be observant and pay very close attention to your Maltese to notice the signs of obsession early enough. Here are some of the signs that scream “overprotectiveness!”
Why Are Malteses Protective of Their Owners?
They Think Very Highly of Themselves
It’s laughable, but you’ll probably be amazed at how profoundly Maltese feel about themselves. Most of the time, they probably think you need them to survive and function normally.
They consider themselves your protector, companion, and possibly pack leader, all of which places a higher responsibility on them to exhibit certain behaviors.
A Maltese’s sense of duty far exceeds its size, and as a result, they act in specific ways that may be confusing to you. On the flip side, a Maltese can consider you its protector and still show off similar behavior. It’s hard to tell the two thinking apart sometimes with these little magicians.
They Can Be Territorial
Small but feisty, Maltese dogs can be very territorial and let it show now and then. Mainly because of their small size, they feel the need to continually show the stuff they are made off before they can be given the respect they believe they deserve.
This is the main reason they don’t hesitate to challenge much bigger dogs to a duel. Because of this territorial nature, you may find that your Maltese is apprehensive in the presence of some visitors or most visitors for that matter.
This may cause him to bark at strangers and follow you wherever you go as he might think you need his protection from some other humans.
Certain occurrences earlier in your Maltese life could be the reason he decides he needs to protect you all the time. This is usually true of Maltese that you get at an older age like rescue dogs.
If he had a terrible or scary experience in his history, he’s likely to be defensive and apprehensive in new situations, hence his overprotectiveness.
A negative past experience can alter a Maltese’s normal behavior and make him more afraid than is usual. Since fear is the leading cause of aggressive action in most animals, your Maltese can become aggressive if he feels any human or dog threatens his space.
This in no way means you shouldn’t get a Maltese from a pet shelter as this situation can be remedied with some love, care, training, and patience.
We recommend that you look at pet shelters if you intend to get a dog that will be grateful and love you all his life.
Too Much Pent up Energy
Maltese dogs are characteristically energetic and are always in search of activities to consume this energy.
If you don’t exercise your Maltese enough or don’t exercise him at all, he could develop an overprotectiveness of you or his favorite member of the family whenever. This way, by continually looking out for danger and taking it out, he’s useful and burning energy.
So if you find that your Maltese is barking a little more than often, chasing shadows, stepping in between you and a friend communicating, or growling at strangers, he might just be engaging his excess energy.
The good news is this behavior can be fixed by an increase in exercise routines and training to reduce the amount of extra energy your Maltese has.
Habit Due to Boredom
Like humans, dogs also get bored. Different humans figure out different ways to rid themselves of boredom and likewise dogs. If your Maltese is bored, he’s going to find new ways to occupy his day.
Given enough time, he’ll figure that the best use of his time is to protect you, and boom, you’ve got yourself a personal bodyguard.
Your best chance of preventing this boredom from turning into full-blown overprotectiveness is to find ways to engage your Maltese when you have something to do.
A great way to do this is to provide fun toys to play with like treat dispensing toys, or a prescribed bone to keep him occupied.
Maltese Are Natural Guard Dogs
Few things get passed a Maltese dog; they’re usually very alert and quick to respond. This could be due to the genuine devotion and love they have for their human companions and their personal space.
Your Maltese will be the first to alert you of a visitor at the door, and he would bring your attention to suspicious circumstances by barking at it.
They Are Fearless and Loyal
What a Maltese lacks in size, he makes up for in bravery. These dogs are fiercely loyal and trustworthy in the face of danger. They rarely cower and hide behind you in dangerous situations; in reality, you have to protect them from themselves.
They are quite willing to take on much bigger dogs if their space and family are threatened, or they feel that way.
Being very loyal dogs, a Maltese is likely to stay by your side – until the end – when you feel down or if you’re in a dangerous situation.
Even though they are small and fragile, it sure feels good to know they won’t leave you alone at your worst possible hour.
Is Your Maltese Overprotective?
It can cause you a lot of trouble if your Maltese is too protective of you. Just Imagine when your friends come to visit you and they just can’t get closed because of your dog barking and even trying to bite.
Here are the signs your Maltese is overprotective of you:
He Follows You Around a Lot
A Maltese dog can follow you around always for many reasons, and one of them is to keep you safe. He would follow you outside, into the kitchen, or bedroom so that he can be close by to protect you if you need his help.
This goes further to express the high sense of duty these small dogs have. He could also be following you around because he feels safe in your presence.
It’s important to note that even though following you around is usually for protection, it could be inspired by other factors.
For instance, your Maltese could have severe separation anxiety, could be bored, or could require help and urgent attention. Usually, a sudden change in behavior could be due to an illness of some sort.
He Tries to Put Himself Between You and a Stranger
If you own a dog, you might have noticed an awkward situation when your pet always kept coming in between you and a stranger, that’s typical protective behavior.
Sometimes this behavior is accompanied by growling and then yapping. It can happen even between your Maltese and another dog.
How to Avoid Overprotectiveness?
Overprotectiveness is familiar with pets raised exclusively by a single owner, where the dog relies on his owner for food, shelter, and affection. Almost everyone and all dogs can be seen as a threat to this security by your pet, hence his need to react protectively. It is a basic survival instinct.
It’s advised that you socialize your dog very early, while he’s still a pup and probably hasn’t learned much else. This way, he becomes familiar with new people and other canines, which drastically reduces his chances of developing overprotective behavior.
A watchful eye for the early signs of overprotectiveness in your pet, while he’s still a pup, can help you detect and get rid of the habit before it becomes a problem. Once you found that your Maltese is overprotective, you need to correct it immediately with proper ways.
How to Correct Overprotective Behavior?
Training: First, a well-trained Maltese is not likely to be overprotective. Training involves many activities and levels that suffocate overprotective behavior. If the behavior is already ingrained in your Maltese, then you can begin intensive behavioral and obedience training by yourself or with the aid of a trainer and possibly training classes in more critical cases.
Run the pack: Maltese are attention addicts, but you don’t have to let that have the rule over you; otherwise, you will end up with an ill behaving pet. Never give your Maltese affection for no reason or simply because he demands it, make him do a trick or an activity to earn it all the time.
Space: I know they are adorable, but you need to find some distance between you and your pet, and then let him spend time with other members of the family. This way, his overprotective behavior will wane in time.
Will your Maltese protect you? Of course, he would do his best, but these are lap dogs that ought to be protected and cared for, not the other way around. Please pay attention to situations that make your Maltese feel uncomfortable and fix them.