Maltese Dog Training Tips
- Diligence, attention and patience are the keys to house training a Maltese puppy. During house training, the puppy should not be left unattended unless he is in a yard or an area where he can do his business if necessary. Take him out when he first wakes in the morning, after he eats and after he naps on an established schedule. Take him out before bedtime and, in the beginning, try to give him an outside break every couple hours.
The dog should walk out of the house and to the same spot on a leash, not in your arms. Many Maltese and other small breeds have a difficult time with house training because they never learn to communicate their need to go because they are picked up and carried outside.
- A crate provides your Maltese with a safe place. Her crate should be large enough for her to sit, stand, turn around and lie down in, with enough room for a food and water bowl, but not much larger. She should learn to eat and sleep in the crate, which should be a comfortable place for her to rest. Place a dog bed or pillow in her crate. She shouldn't be left in the crate for long periods of time and she should never be placed in the crate as punishment. Introduce her to it in short intervals with encouragement and praise. She will eventually know that it "belongs" to her and is her space. When this happens, the crate is where she will go when she wants to sleep or be alone.
Because Maltese tend to form such strong bonds with their human guardians they are prone to separation anxiety. Crate training your Maltese can eliminate some of the issues that could accompany this problem.
- Teaching your Maltese basic obedience skills such as sit, stay and coming when called can be easily done using clicker training. Clicker training involves teaching a dog to associate the "click" with a treat. Training is broken down into small steps with each step toward the desired behavior marked with a "click," which is immediately followed by a treat.
- One of the primary complaints from Maltese owners is that their dogs bark too much. If you're trying to get your Maltese to quit barking excessively, ensure that you do not give him any attention for the barking. If you yell at him when he barks, this gives him reinforcement to continue barking because you have given him attention. Do not give him what he wants for the barking, whether its to come inside, come out of his crate or get a snuggle from you. To answer this "demand" tells him that when he barks, he gets what he wants. With basic obedience training and/or clicker training, teach your dog the command "stop." This too will assist you in stopping the excessive barking.
Another common complaint from Maltese owners is the dogs' tendency to run around in spurts and bark madly, referred to as "zoomies" by the Complete Guide to Dog Ownership. These outbursts, as with many behavior problems, can be minimized if not eliminated by ensuring the dog gets enough exercise.
Do ensure that your Maltese has what he needs -- food, water, shelter, enough attention, frequent bathroom breaks and plenty of exercise. If he's not getting these needs met, it's not excessive barking you're experiencing. Your dog is telling you what he needs.