Is your Maltese forever pulling on the lead? Just because they only weigh a few pounds doesn’t make it ok. Leash pulling is frustrating for dog owners and it can also cause injury to their delicate necks and bodies.
It’s important to stop your dog pulling and the good news is getting your Maltese to walk nicely isn’t difficult all you need are some tasty treats and plenty of patience.
Loose leash walking is the best way to stop different breeds from pulling and in this article, we’ll look at some dog training tips so you can teach your dog to stay close and begin walking as they should
Keep reading if you are interested in teaching your dog loose leash walking and how to stop Maltese pulling on a lead.
8 Tips to prevent Your Maltese Dog Pulling on a Leash
1) Start loose lead training early
A big mistake many dog owners make with little dogs is not starting their training early enough. Dogs learn through repeated behaviours, so the sooner your dog learns what is acceptable and what isn’t, the easier your life will be.
Begin training your puppy in the house with no distractions and make it fun; you’ll be amazed at how quickly most dogs pick things up.
2) Practice getting your dog’s attention
It can be hard to get your Maltese to focus on you when there are other dogs, people and squirrels around, so this is a good thing to practice when you start to train your dog how to behave on walks. Say their name followed by “look” or “watch” and reward them every time they make eye contact.
They’ll soon get the hang of it and it will give you more control when walking in the park if you can get your dog to focus on what you want.
This video shows how to get your dog’s attention
3) Curb their impulse control
Teaching your pup some self-control may seem like a challenge, but believe me, it’s worth it. A dog with no impulse control doesn’t magically become obedient; if you do not teach them this by the time they reach adolescence, bad behaviours are likely to develop! This includes your dog barking and pulling and even leash related aggression.
There are lots of activities that can teach your dog not to act on impulse and on a good note, these can be made into games your best friend will enjoy whilst learning at the same time.
4) Choosing the right accessories
Forget about electronic collars and choke chains. A Maltese is a tiny dog with a delicate structure. These methods are uncomfortable and even painful for your pet if they start pulling.
Harnesses are recommended for this dog breed as they do not put pressure on the dog’s neck like a traditional collar. However, you need to make sure they fit correctly, so it’s not uncomfortable when they’re wearing them.
If you use a collar, make sure it’s flat, wide and soft, these are fragile little dogs.
5) Can you use a no-pull harness?
An Anti-pulling choice can be helpful and stops pulling in many cases; however, educating your dog to walk nicely on a lead is a much better solution.
Another problem you may encounter with this type is that many have a front leash attachment point and as a Maltese isn’t very tall, the lead may get tangled in their front legs.
Many dog owners swear by head collars, but not all dogs like a head collar on their face, so unless your pooch is used to one, they may be more hassle than they’re worth.
6) Rewards when they get it right
Be sure you reward them when your dog is walking nicely by your left side with a loose leash. This can be anything he likes, including treats or praise for being good! Simply reinforce desired behaviours to help make it something they will do without even thinking about it- after all, that’s what we want, isn’t it?
7) If your dog pulls, don’t reinforce it
It’s essential only to reinforce good behaviours, not bad ones. If your pup starts pulling on the leash, don’t respond by letting them drag you over to where they want to go! Instead, stand still and simply stop walking completely until the leash becomes slack again, or start strolling in the opposite direction
8) Give clicker training a go
Did you know you can use a clicker to encourage your Maltese to stay by your side? These ingenious little training tools will communicate to your dog that they are doing what you want when the leash remains loose, especially when a tasty treat follows the click.
Timing is key though, the click needs to come at precisely the right moment, or Fido will get confused.
Why Maltese Dogs Pull on the Lead
They have no patience.
Look at things from your dog’s point of view; going on a walk is probably the highlight of their day, so they naturally get excited; they don’t want to wait, which is the reason why many dogs pull. As we’ve mentioned above, impulse control activities help them walk more calmly.
No one has ever stopped the dog from pulling.
If nobody has ever taught a dog that walking with a slack lead means they get to go forward and pulling means they don’t, they won’t know any better.
Many owners overlook this aspect of training with small dogs as they usually don’t pull too hard, but letting your pooch control your walks leads to a lack of respect and this could result in other unwanted behaviours.
So much to explore
The outdoors offers a sensory overload for dogs, with an explosion of sights, sounds and smells and your pup wants to examine them all. This can result in you being dragged in different directions when any training goes out of your dog’s head.
Whilst we want our pets to explore during a walk, it should be done safely and calmly. This is why it’s best to start leash training in quiet places with few distractions.
Teaching your Maltese to stop pulling isn’t difficult, although you will need to invest some time and have patience.
Invest in a good harness suitable for Maltese dogs and begin training early. Remember to go at your dog’s pace; if they are not quite getting it, go back a step until they understand. Reward them with a treat when your dog stops pulling and the leash remains slack and don’t give in should your dog start dragging you during walks.
Although these are a toy breed, they still shouldn’t be allowed to pull on a walk; it’s frustrating, can be embarrassing and if they get tangled around your legs, there could be an accident.