Maltese puppies are often seen as very cute small toy dogs which are a pleasure to be around, but in some cases they can be aggressive and mean to people. This aggression by your Maltese puppy may be shown only towards others outside the household or may even be shown to their owners. If your Maltese puppy is aggressive and mean to people then you should try and distinguish why this might be the case and then look at the available remedies to this behavior. Generally Maltese puppies are great companion dogs for a family and will not show aggression unless they feel threatened or intimidated.
This article will list out the causes of aggression and the reasons a Maltese dog may appear to seem mean. It will also outline a set of techniques and options that you can try in order to reduce and eliminate the aggressive behavior.
Reasons for Aggression in a Maltese Dog
There are a few reasons which could be the trigger for aggression and these should be compared to your Maltese dogs situation. Determining the real reason behind the aggression will allow you to choose the right option for breaking the aggressive and mean behavior.
- Your Maltese dog is a rescue from a shelter: If your Maltese dog came from a shelter then it is hard for you to know what has happened in its past. There could have been traumatic experiences in their past which has made them fearful and scared of certain situations or types of people. If this is the case and you can identify the certain situations or types of people which trigger the situation then you can start to minimize those triggers or work on resolving and regaining their trust in those situations.
- Your Maltese dog believes it is the leader of the pack: A Maltese puppy which has been pampered by its owners will start to think that it is the pack leader and can get its way. This situation can be fixed quite easily if you regain control of the situation and make it known that you are the pack leader.
- Your Maltese dog feels threatened or is frightened: Any animal which feels threatened or frightened will either try and run or will fight back. If a Maltese feels they have no option to escape the situation then they may fight back and bite or be aggressive. If this is the case for your Maltese then working out the triggers for the hostile nature and also providing them with a safe space will help alleviate the problem.
- Your Maltese dog feels jealous: If your Maltese dog has started acting aggressive recently and a new dog, cat, or person now resides in the home this could be due to jealousy. Ensure that you give attention to your existing Maltese dog if this is the case but don’t over pamper them as that can also cause problems. Your Maltese dog will need to be trained to accept the new addition to the family household or you may find over time they just get over it.
- Your Maltese dog has small dog syndrome: Maltese dogs are known for having small dog syndrome which is where they feel that they must act much tougher then they are to make up for their smaller size. Maltese dogs are one of the smallest breeds and as such have a tendency to have small dog syndrome especially when everyone else around them is so much bigger. Training will help to reduce this attitude within the Maltese dog but it might be very hard to remove altogether.
- Your Maltese dog is untrained: An untrained Maltese puppy does not understand what is right and wrong and what is acceptable. left untrained they may decide to do whatever they want and this can include being aggressive. This issue can be easily solved with some training.
- Your Maltese dog is not social: All dogs have their own personality and some are more introverted than others. Some Maltese puppies may not be social and may feel anxious when pressured to be in a social setting. This can make them fearful and aggressive as their fight vs flight emotions will kick in. If your Maltese dog is a dog which likes only a few people and feels anxious around others then perhaps separating them from visitors to the house may work best. Training can also help to motivate your Maltese puppy to get over their social fears.
- Your Maltese is possessive: Some Maltese dogs can become very possessive of the food, toys and space and when they feel that these things are going to be taken away from them they will be aggressive. This can be seen in both people and dogs and the easiest way to fix it is to just let them see that you are not going to take their things.
Whatever the reason your Maltese dog is being aggressive there are a number of steps and techniques you can use to try and lessen the aggression and also make your Maltese a happier dog. The next section will cover a few options you can try, keep in mind that what works for one Maltese dog may not work for another and each is an individual that needs to be persuaded in their own way.
Removing Aggression from a Maltese Puppy
There are several techniques you can use to limit the aggression of your Maltese puppy. Listed below are some things which should be tried:
- Training: The most important thing you can do when you have an aggressive Maltese dog is to get it trained and work on training every single day. Training isn’t about making your Maltese do what you want all the time, but it is important if you want them to do what you want when you ask them to. Take your Maltese to a dog training school so that it can interact with other dogs and learn from how they behave in a social setting. Training will also show that you are the leader of the pack and this can reduce fear and small dog syndrome as they will follow your lead when other people are around. Training allows you to set rules and have them followed which is very important as it allows you to take back control of the situation rather than letting the Maltese puppy do what they want.
- Be the pack leader: Set rules and boundaries for your Maltese puppy and do not let it do things which you would not allow a larger breed dog to do. This includes things like jumping up on people or barking at people. If the dog was a Pitbull people would be scared of it and not enter your home if they were showing aggression. You need to set the same boundaries with your Maltese puppy even though they are much smaller. To be the leader of the pack its about being strict and telling them what not to do but you should never hit your dog. A Maltese dog will quickly pick up when you are angry so use the same stern voice when you want to show your disapproval. as soon as they do what you want then you should give them positive reinforcement to show that when they do what you ask they may get rewarded.
- Separation when required: If your Maltese is being aggressive when others are around and you pick them up they will think this is a reward and continue with the barking. You need to be stern and put them into another room or gated off area so that they understand they are being punished. Use a stern warning to them and do not go back to them if they continue to bark. They will eventually stop as they will tire themselves out and they will realize it is not getting them what they want. If you go back and talk to them they will continue to bark as you are rewarding their barking with your attention.
- Feeding in a separate area: If your Maltese puppy gets aggressive around food this can easily be handled by feeding them separate to other animals and people. Put them in a safe gates area where they can eat without being disturbed by others.
- Socializing your Maltese puppy: If your puppy is fearful of other people and animals then getting them away from their current environment and out into the world can do wonders for their attitude. Take them to parks, markets, and out on walks. Dog training is a great way to socialize them with other dogs. Over time they will lose the fear of people and will know the best way to act around others. During the early stages of the socializing make sure you keep them on a short leash and have them under control so that they do not bite any other person or animal.
- Talk to your Vet: Your Vet will have advice on how to handle your Maltese puppy’s aggression and can provide some great tips to your particular circumstances. There are also some health conditions which can turn a pleasant Maltese dog into an aggressive Maltese dog. These include pain, hyperthyroidism, various nervous and brain imbalances, etc. Your Vet will be able to run tests to determine if there is a medical reason on why your Maltese is aggressive.
- Do it early and consistently: A younger Maltese is going to be easier to change their behavior then an older Maltese dog. This is because a younger Maltese dog is less set in their ways and are open to learning new things. Older Maltese dogs can be a lot more stubborn but even an older Maltese will change their behavior if a consistent approach is taken to amend their aggression.
- Call in a professional: If you find that your techniques have not been working then a good tip is to bring in a professional dog behaviorist. These trainers are particularly good at working out why your Maltese dog is aggressive and will be able to show you the best recommended approaches using behavioral science to fix the aggression problem. If you decide to go down this route then a good idea is to ask around for referrals from places such as your vet or through accredited associations online for Dog trainers. Don’t just pick the first one you see on google and make sure they are accredited with your countries association for dog trainers. this will ensure you are at least getting someone who has done the necessary training.
- Positive reinforcement: negative Reinforcement can sometimes lead to further aggression as your Maltese puppy sees the negative reinforcement as aggression as well and this escalates the issue with them being more aggressive to defense their position. Positive reinforcement when your Maltese puppy will help the situation a lot more, but this will depend on why they are being aggressive in the first place and what steps you can take to fix the problem.
- Medication : Medication is never the first thing which should be sort to fix a problem but sometimes after all other options have been exhausted then medication can be helpful. There are a variety of medications that will take the edge of the fear, stress and anxiety your Maltese puppy may be feeling in certain situations. You may be able to use the medication as a temporary measure while you are training the dog to be less aggressive in their trigger situations.
You should try and match the right technique to your Maltese puppy’s reasons for being aggressive and don’t be disheartened if one technique doesn’t work. Its a process and going through and trying different techniques and being consistent in how you approach the problem will help reduce and remove the aggressive behavior over time.
Did we Answer all your Questions on Why Your Maltese Dog is Aggressive?
Hopefully the article has set answered all of your questions on why a Maltese puppy or Maltese dog may be aggressive. Try some of the advice above and see if it works for your particular circumstances. if it does or if you have any other tips and recommendations for aggressive Maltese dogs then leave a comment so that others can also benefit from your experiences.