Are Maltese hard to train? Despite their small size and adorable appearance, Maltese dogs can present a challenge when it comes to training. These fluffy companions may seem like a dream pet, but don’t be fooled by their cuteness. Their stubbornness and independent nature can often make the training process a bit more difficult than expected.

When it comes to the question of whether Maltese dogs are hard to train, their history and background play a significant role. Originally bred as companions to aristocrats and royals, Maltese dogs were not typically trained for specific tasks or jobs. This lack of working dog mentality can make them less inclined to follow commands and training cues. However, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, Maltese can still be trained effectively. Remember, these intelligent and affectionate dogs respond best to gentle guidance and rewards, making training a rewarding and worthwhile journey for both the pet and the owner.

are maltese hard to train?


Are Maltese Hard to Train?

Maltese dogs are often seen as adorable and charming pets, but many people wonder if they are easy to train. In this article, we will delve into the training capabilities of Maltese dogs and provide you with an in-depth understanding of their trainability. Whether you’re a prospective Maltese owner or a current pet parent looking for training tips, this article will provide valuable insights into the world of training these beautiful dogs.

1. The Intelligence of Maltese Dogs

Maltese dogs are known for their intelligence and ability to learn. They are quick learners and can pick up commands and tricks with relative ease. However, it’s important to note that each dog is unique, and some Maltese dogs may be more stubborn or independent than others. It’s crucial to approach training with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement to bring out the best in your Maltese.

One of the defining characteristics of Maltese dogs is their desire to please their owners. They are highly motivated by praise, treats, and attention, which makes them receptive to training. However, it’s important to keep training sessions short and engaging to avoid overwhelming your pet. With the right approach and dedication, you can successfully train a Maltese dog.

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Additionally, early socialization and exposure to different environments, people, and animals can contribute to the overall trainability of your Maltese. By introducing your dog to new experiences in a positive and controlled manner, you can help build their confidence and make training easier.

2. Common Training Challenges

While Maltese dogs have the potential to be excellent learners, there are some common challenges that owners may face during the training process. One of the main challenges is their stubbornness, which can make them resistant to following commands at times. It’s essential to remain patient and consistent, using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play to incentivize their cooperation.

Another challenge with Maltese dogs is their small size, which can make them prone to developing a stubborn or bossy attitude. It’s important to establish yourself as the alpha or leader of the pack early on to prevent behavioral issues from developing. Consistency, clear communication, and setting boundaries are key when training a Maltese.

Separation anxiety can also be a challenge for Maltese dogs, as they are known to form strong bonds with their owners. Proper crate training and gradual desensitization to being alone can help alleviate this issue. It’s important to remember that training a Maltese requires time, effort, and understanding of their unique personality traits.

3. Effective Training Techniques

To successfully train your Maltese, it’s crucial to use effective training techniques that suit their temperament and learning style. Here are some techniques that can be particularly helpful:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Rewarding desired behavior with treats, praise, or playtime helps motivate and reinforce good behavior.
  • Clicker Training: Using a clicker helps establish clear communication between you and your Maltese, signaling when they have done something correctly.
  • Short Training Sessions: Maltese dogs have a relatively short attention span, so keeping training sessions brief (around 10-15 minutes) helps maintain their interest and focus.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key when training a Maltese. Use consistent commands and cues, and establish a routine to create a structured learning environment.
  • Patience and Persistence: Training takes time and effort, so be patient with your Maltese and don’t give up. Consistent practice and repetition will yield the best results.

By employing these techniques and tailoring your training methods to suit your Maltese’s individual needs, you can overcome common challenges and ensure a successful training experience for both you and your pet.

4. Training Tips for Maltese Owners

4.1 Potty Training

Potty training is one of the first and most important aspects of training for any dog, including Maltese. Start early and establish a consistent routine for bathroom breaks. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, when your Maltese eliminates in the appropriate spot. Consistency, patience, and crate training can help speed up the process.

4.2 Socialization

Early socialization is crucial for Maltese dogs to ensure they grow up to be friendly and well-behaved. Expose your Maltese to different people, dogs, and environments from a young age. Enroll them in puppy socialization classes or arrange playdates with other vaccinated and friendly dogs. Gradually introduce them to various stimuli to build their confidence and prevent fear-based behavioral problems.

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4.3 Obedience Training

Teaching basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “down” is essential for a well-behaved Maltese. Break down these commands into small, manageable steps, and use positive reinforcement to reward your dog’s success. Training in a distraction-free environment initially and gradually increasing distractions can help your Maltese generalize the commands and follow them in real-life situations.

Common Myths About Training Maltese Dogs

There are several common myths surrounding the training of Maltese dogs. Let’s debunk some of these misconceptions:

1. Maltese Dogs Are Difficult to Housetrain

While it’s true that small dogs can sometimes have more difficulty with housetraining, it is not specific to Maltese dogs. With proper training techniques, consistency, and patience, Maltese dogs can be successfully housetrained, just like any other breed. Early and consistent potty training can help them develop good habits.

2. Maltese Dogs Are Stubborn and Cannot Be Trained

Maltese dogs can be stubborn at times, but with the right training approach, they can definitely be trained. Their intelligence and willingness to please their owners make them capable of learning commands and tricks. The key is using positive reinforcement, being patient, and using consistent training methods to overcome any stubbornness they may exhibit.

3. Maltese Dogs Cannot Be Off-Leash Trained

While it’s true that Maltese dogs have a predisposition to be independent thinkers, it doesn’t mean they cannot be off-leash trained. Starting obedience training from a young age and using positive reinforcement methods can help train your Maltese to come reliably when called. However, it’s important to remember that each dog is an individual, and some may require more training and practice than others.


Maltese dogs are not inherently hard to train, but they do come with their own unique challenges. With their intelligence and desire to please, Maltese dogs can be trained successfully using positive reinforcement techniques, patience, and consistency. It’s important to address common training challenges, such as stubbornness and separation anxiety, by establishing yourself as the pack leader and providing clear boundaries. Always approach training with a positive attitude, and tailor your techniques to suit your dog’s individual needs. By investing time and effort into training your Maltese, you will have a well-behaved and happy companion.

Key Takeaways

  1. Maltese dogs can be challenging to train due to their independent nature.
  2. Consistency and patience are essential when training a Maltese.
  3. Positive reinforcement is the most effective training method for Maltese dogs.
  4. Starting training early and socializing your Maltese puppy can make training easier.
  5. Maltese dogs thrive on praise and rewards, so be sure to praise them for good behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you having trouble training your Maltese dog? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some commonly asked questions related to training Maltese dogs and our expert answers to help you out.

1. How can I make training my Maltese dog easier?

Training a Maltese can be a bit challenging, but with the right approach, it can be made easier. Start by establishing a consistent routine and using positive reinforcement techniques. Break the training tasks into smaller, manageable steps, and be patient. Keep training sessions short and fun, and always end on a positive note. Enrolling in a puppy training class or seeking professional help can also make the process smoother.

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Remember, consistency is key! Stick to a specific set of commands and be clear in your expectations. Reward your Maltese with treats, praise, and love when they successfully follow your commands. With time and patience, your Maltese will become a well-trained and obedient companion.

2. Is it true that Maltese dogs have a stubborn nature that makes them difficult to train?

While Maltese dogs can sometimes exhibit stubborn behavior, it doesn’t mean they are impossible to train. Like any other breed, each dog has its own personality, and training approaches may need to be adjusted accordingly. It’s important to understand that consistent training and positive reinforcement can help overcome stubbornness.

Instead of resorting to harsh training methods, focus on building a strong bond and trust with your Maltese. Use rewards and praise to motivate and encourage good behavior. Remember to keep training sessions short and engaging. With patience, understanding, and a bit of creativity, even the most stubborn Maltese can be successfully trained.

3. At what age should I start training my Maltese puppy?

The earlier, the better! Start training your Maltese puppy as soon as you bring them home. Puppies have a natural inclination to learn, and early training sets the foundation for good behavior. The ideal time to start training is between 8 and 12 weeks of age when their cognitive and physical development is in full swing.

Focus on basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and leash walking. Use positive reinforcement techniques like treats, praise, and playtime to motivate your puppy. Remember to keep training sessions short and fun to maintain their interest. Consistency, patience, and persistence in training will help your Maltese puppy grow into a well-behaved adult dog.

4. Can I train my Maltese dog without professional help?

Absolutely! While professional trainers can be a great resource and provide valuable guidance, training your Maltese dog without professional help is possible. With the right mindset, information, and dedication, you can achieve training success on your own.

Utilize online resources, such as books, articles, and videos, that offer tips and techniques for training small breed dogs like Maltese. Join online communities or forums where you can seek advice from experienced dog owners. Remember to be patient, consistent, and use positive reinforcement methods. With time and effort, you can train your Maltese dog to be a well-mannered and obedient companion.

5. What are some common challenges I might face when training a Maltese?

Training a Maltese can come with a few challenges, but they can be overcome with the right approach. Some common challenges include housebreaking difficulties, barking, and attention-seeking behavior. Maltese dogs may also be prone to separation anxiety, which can affect training progress.

Address these challenges by being consistent, patient, and providing ample mental and physical stimulation. Use positive reinforcement to redirect unwanted behaviors and reward desired ones. Seek professional help or consult experienced dog trainers if you need guidance. Remember, perseverance and a positive attitude will help you tackle and overcome any training challenges you may face with your Maltese dog.

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Training a Maltese dog can be challenging, but not impossible. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, they can learn basic commands and tricks. However, their independent nature and stubbornness may require extra time and effort.

It is important to start training early and socialize them with other dogs and people. Use reward-based techniques and keep sessions short to maintain their attention. Remember, every dog is unique, and some Maltese may be easier to train than others.

In summary, while training a Maltese can be a bit tricky, it is achievable with the right approach and dedication. With love and understanding, your Maltese can become a well-behaved and obedient companion.

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