The highly affectionate Maltese is prone to excessive barking if deprived of attention and exercise. Some Maltese dogs tend to bark more than others, and it is impossible to completely eliminate barking. However, with proper training, you can eliminate excessive and obnoxious barking.
Give your dog lots of attention. The Maltese was bred to be a companion dog, and he may bark to get attention or obsessively bark if deprived of stimulation. If you must leave your dog home alone for long periods of time, hire a dog walker and take time to pet, walk and play with your dog daily.
Teach your dog a "quiet" command. When your dog stops barking on her own, say, "Quiet," then click the training clicker and give her a treat. This helps her begin to associate stopping barking with the command. Repeat this exercise every time your dog spontaneously stops barking for a week. Then begin giving your dog the quiet command when she barks. When she stops, click the training clicker and give her a treat.
Ignore your dog when she barks excessively. Dogs that get attention for barking -- even negative attention -- are more likely to keep barking. If your dog has barking fits when company comes or during certain times of the day, give her a time out in her crate until she calms down. Then let her come out and lavish her with attention.
Give your dog a brisk walk at least once per day. Insufficient exercise can contribute to nervous energy, which increases barking. Tired dogs are much less likely to bark.
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Maltese
- Dog Breed Info Center: Maltese
- The Power of Positive Dog Training; Pat Miller
- Barking is often caused by anxiety. Never yell at your dog to stop barking or she may consider it a reason to continue barking or bark more frequently.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.