Stealing the hearts of all who meet them and bringing home medals from agility championships, Maltese are little dogs that pack a big punch.

With a history that goes back to the late 1800s, the Maltese dog breed is known for its long and silky coat and aristocratic disposition. They may look like the royals of the dog world: high maintenance, prissy, maybe a little bit over the top (depending on their hair style), but Maltese dogs are very playful, fearless and smart.

Motivated by treats and eager to please, this toy breed is fairly easy to train, making them great contenders on the agility course.

Training a Maltese

Highly intelligent, it’s best to start training them when they’re puppies as with all dog breeds.

Here are some training tips to get your Maltese on its best behavior and maybe even dog doing a couple tricks.

Positive reinforcement:
  • Encourage your Maltese puppy by praising them when they follow instruction and giving them their favorite treats and rewards. For example, if you’re teaching your dog how to give paw:
  • Put him in sitting position. Give him a treat.
  • Tap the back of his paw. He will eventually react by moving his paw away. That’s when you say “paw” and shake his hand. Give him a treat.
  • Ask him to get into sitting pose again. Give him a treat.
  • Tap his paw again until he gives you paw. Give him a treat.
  • Repeat until your dog gives you paw on demand. This trick usually takes one session to learn.
Short trick sessions:
  • Keep your training sessions short so that your Maltese doesn’t get bored. A short session is usually about 10 to 15 minutes. Using consistency, repetition, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your Maltese all sorts of tricks like sitting, shaking hands, dancing and more.

  • Socialize your Maltese from a young age. If you’re puppy spends time with other dogs and adults, she will be more comfortable in social settings and also less distracted when you’re trying to communicate with her. Socializing means going on doggy dates, taking walks to dog parks, and putting your dog in daycare if you’re gone for long periods of time.

Weighing less than seven pounds, it’s easy to neglect training your Maltese pup. Being small and playful, owners often spoil their Maltese dog or find their naughty behavior to be cute. But a poorly trained Maltese dog can become yappy, antisocial and suffer from separation anxiety.

It’s important that every dog reaches its full potential. And this breed has the potential to learn a lot and needs to be stimulated to live a healthy life.

Many trainers say that the Maltese is the easiest toy breed to train. The key to training any dog successfully is to be patient as tricks can take several weeks, or even months to learn. You also have to be consistent, always rewarding them for desired behavior and training on a regular basis so that the tricks become second nature.