The long, flowing locks of the Maltese have made her a coveted companion for centuries. Though many owners opt to keep her hair cut short, if you have decided to let allow it to grow as long as possible, you will need to groom her daily.
Train your Maltese from an early age to enjoy brushing by making it a relaxing experience. Have her lie on her side, either on your lap or nearby. Talk to her in a soothing, sweet tone as you stroke her hair with your hand. Do this daily for about a week before introducing the brush.
Brush the hair on her legs and tail to get her accustomed to the sensation. These are the least sensitive areas, so maybe she won’t mind too much as you introduce the brush to other areas of her body. Remember, your main goal at this stage is to help her view brushing as a good experience. Be patient: as she grows more comfortable, the real grooming can begin.
Mist her hair with water and separate it into sections as you brush from root to tip. Continue until you have completed the process for her entire coat. This detailed brushing must be done daily to avoid mats. If a mat develops, apply a coat conditioner and gently comb it out as soon as you discover it.
Bathe your Maltese once each week after a thorough brushing. Place her gently into the bathtub and place a cotton ball in each of her ears to keep the water out as you bathe her. Wet her hair thoroughly with warm water. A spray nozzle attached to the faucet makes the job much easier.
Apply small dabs of dog shampoo to her back, belly, legs and all areas between. Massage into a lather and rinse thoroughly. Give her a second shampoo and rinse again. While she is still in the tub, apply a leave-in conditioner. Massage downward into her coat and smooth out the excess as you work. Remove the cotton balls.
Dry her hair partially with towels to remove excess water. Just as with her pre-bath brushing, part her hair into sections, only this time, brush while drying the sections with a blow dryer set on medium heat. When it's dry, part it down the middle of her back using the tip of the dog comb. Finish her new coif by smoothing each side with both the brush and the comb.
Create a classic Maltese hairstyle by gathering the hair on top of her head and gently brushing away from her face, separating into two sections. Fold one section backward to create a loop and secure with a rubber band. Repeat with the other section. Place two dog bows over the rubber bands to finish the look.
- You can use a spray coat conditioner during the daily brushing, instead of plain water.
- Choose a dog shampoo formulated for white hair to provide added luster.
- Frequent bathing can cause ear infections. Check her ears weekly for symptoms such as redness and odor.
- Failure to moisten her hair for brushing will cause breakage.
Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004. She wrote a true-crime book published in 2010 and has two more underway. She also has a strong background in business, education and farm living. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.