The Maltese is a highly intelligent dog breed that can easily learn many tricks. These dogs are eager to please and thrive on affection and attention. Aversive and punitive training measures can cause anxiety, but your Maltese will thrive when you use reward-based training techniques.
Choose the command you want to use to get your dog to lie down. You shouldn't use it in any other context. For example, if you use the command "Down" to tell your dog to get off the couch, use a different word for lying down such as "Lie." A single word is typically more effective than two words. Use only this word when you want your dog to lie down.
Give your dog the command when she is already lying down; then click the training clicker and give her a treat. This helps her to associate the command with the behavior. The training clicker and treat give her an incentive to obey. Because the Maltese loves praise, it's helpful to lavish her with praise after you've given her the treat. Repeat this exercise several times a day for a week.
Command your dog to lie down. If she obeys, click the training clicker and give her a treat. If she doesn't listen, ignore her, walk away and try again in a few minutes. Repeat this exercise several times daily for a few weeks. When your dog is reliably obeying the command, begin giving her the treat only sometimes. Dogs are more likely to obey a command when they are rewarded on an intermittent schedule.
Train your dog to lie down in stressful circumstances. Start by giving the command outside and practice for a week. Then progress to giving the command at parks, when other people are around or when your dog is barking. Your dog will fully learn the command if you practice in a variety of contexts, and teaching your dog to obey in numerous settings can make her more manageable.
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.