Are Maltese Easy to Train?

By John Martin - November 14, 2023

Maltese puppy sitting in the grass

If you have a Maltese, you know that they are a tiny adorable breed. These dogs are lively, playful, and extremely affectionate towards their owners. 

While they may seem to be at peace with strangers and other animals, it is not the case usually. These breeds have massive, housebreaking difficulties and separation anxiety. Find out how their training is like.

Are Maltese Dogs Easy To Train? 

While Maltese are easy to train, it is difficult to break their stubborn behavior. No matter how tough it gets, you should never treat this breed harshly or correct them negatively. The tiny size pups will easily seem intimidating, but remember that they have a fearless attitude. Maltese pups will not back down without a fight. 

These breeds see their teeth as weapons and the only way to protect themselves. If they are cornered, they will often turn to bite and bark. Once you accidentally scare these Maltese, they will immediately turn into defense mode. 

Why is it Important to Train a Maltese?

There is no doubt that these breeds are over-friendly and easily get along with strangers. This is why you should train your dog really well. Moreover, they are also pretty intolerant of infants, children, and other dogs.

If you pamper your Maltese, they will feel encouraged and further continue this behavior. They begin to bite and bark to become the alpha in your family. Every pet, including a Maltese, has to have at least one family member who makes them feel intimidated. Training helps to do just that.

Due to their high energy, the pet has to learn how to channelize their energy properly. They can make great watchdogs, but they require the proper training to do so. 

While we know, all this sounds really overwhelming. But all you need to do for your Maltese is shower love and be careful about it. Only you, the owner, will be able to calm down your dog and give them a sense of security.

How Should I Train My Maltese? 

Now that we know why training your Maltese dog is extremely important let us understand how you should train your pup. While there are many ways to train your Maltese, you have to be able to select a suitable system. Maltese require strong authorities and less aggressive sessions.

There are various tools available that will make your training sessions easy. Before starting the training, make sure you check out a few accessories that your pup might love. Since Maltese love to play and are high on energy, the appropriate accessories will enhance their training experience. 

Related: Do Maltese Get Along With Other Dogs?

Here are some key training methods that you should remember to reinforce for your Maltese. 

General Training

General training basically includes the basic ways to train a dog of any toy breed. Due to their high energies and small sizes, most toy breeds feel the need to intimidate everyone. You can try some of these effective training methods for your Maltese as well. 

  • Positive Reinforcements

These are the most effective methods to train your dog. Maltese dogs love affection and, thus, will appreciate all the positive validation. Make sure after every training session, you offer your puppy treats and affirmations.

Maltese are willing to do anything to please you. This is why remember to shower them with positive reinforcements and rewards to everything they learned. When these puppies grow up, they definitely remember these reinforcements and answer to you. 

  • Corrective Reinforcements

Correction reinforcement is an old school method used by trainers. These are followed by positive reinforcements to form combination reinforcements. All you need to use is lead, collar, or other such accessories available in the market for corrective reinforcements. 

Since Maltese are easy and smart, the corrective reinforcement method will help to achieve our training goals quickly. 

  • Clicker Training

The Maltese will adapt to this technique quite easily. For this method, all you require is a clicker, a device that makes a ‘click’ sound. A clicker is easily available in pet stores and online. 

With every click, feed your pup, so they know that a click means a treat. You can combine the above method and click when you shower them with positive reinforcements.

In case you don’t find a clicker, you can always use another sound that you make. This way, your dog will associate with the sound made from an object. But make sure not to change this object, or your Maltese will be highly confused.

Related: 26 of the Top Maltese Mix Breeds


One of the biggest challenges is going to be housebreaking your Maltese. It might seem difficult, but you and your pup will get through it together. Before you successfully potty train your Maltese dog, here are some things you should keep in mind.

When a breeder tells you that your Maltese has been paper-trained, do not follow through with that. Make sure you go ahead and train your dog on your own without the need for a mat. An 8-week old puppy will always be paper-trained, but as soon as they enter your home, they won’t always remember the training.

Puppies cannot hold their bathroom needs for too long. After all, these puppies are babies and won’t be able to hold for long. This is why housebreaking is important so that they know their designated spot. 

Related: Do Maltese Shed?

Housebreaking a Maltese puppy will take you around 1 to 4 months. This completely depends on how quickly they learn and how much they already know. If you are barely home, then your puppy might find it difficult to learn. But with patience and time, good housebreaking rules can be followed.  

Here are some housebreaking tips to follow.

  • Create a space for your Maltese inside the house

Let them have some private space of their own in the house. This could be a playpen, or a gated area, comfy dog beds, etc. This way, they will feel comfortable and at home. Try to avoid using crates and boxes that will make your Maltese pup feel claustrophobic.

  • Select a designated spot for their bathroom needs

So far, your Maltese puppy might have been paper-trained. But it is time that your puppy receives the grown-up training now. You can use pee-pads, mats, or indoor dog potties and every time they go properly, treat them. Once a bathroom spot has been selected, make sure not to change it. 

  • Reward them with training treats

Like we said, Maltese love affection. No matter what training is being given, reward them endlessly. Offer affirmations, praises, or treats to opt the quicker success route.


Socializing is another big challenge for Maltese puppies to adapt to. In the beginning, your dog might not be as friendly towards strangers as they seem to be later on. In fact, if not taught earlier on, then it can carry on to adulthood. 

This is why you need proper socializing methods to teach your dog to be nicer to people. These are simple tips that are taken from general training methods that you can try.

  • Take your dog outside and teach him to interact with strangers and children.
  • Familiarize your dog with their own kind and take them to dog parks. 
  • Opt for corrective reinforcements if they do not react nicely towards other people.
  • Shower them with positive reinforcements once they learn to be calm in public. 

To Sum Up

Make sure you do not reward your Maltese unnecessarily or train them in cold weather. Most of all, leaving them alone will only bring your training back to square one. 

Try to be appreciative and motivate your dog while training them. Using a gentle voice to assert yourself slightly. In the end, make sure you take your dog on play dates. They will appreciate being with their kind and truly enjoy themselves.