How to Teach a Maltese to Sit (5 Easy Steps)

Part of training your Maltese is learning and mastering various commands. One of the first commands a dog is usually taught is “sit”. But how do you teach a Maltese to sit?

The easiest way to teach a Maltese to sit is through positive reinforcement. You can teach your Maltese the command “Sit” with 4 simple steps:

  1. Take a treat and wave it in the air right in front of his nose.
  2. Lift the treat up in the air while your Maltese is looking at it.
  3. Your Maltese will then instinctively sit down so as not to lose sight of the treat.
  4. As soon as he sits down, say “Sit”.
  5. Give him the treat immediately afterward and praise him.

In this way, you can easily teach your Maltese to listen and react to the command “Sit”. However, there is much more to consider if you want to do it really well.

In this article, we will go over how to teach your Maltese the “Sit” command. We’ll explain how long it can take him to learn it and what you need to pay attention to.

In addition, we also reveal when you should start training and whether even older Maltese can still learn the command.

How to Teach a Maltese to Sit?

Teaching a Maltese to sit is actually quite simple. Maltese know how to sit instinctively, so they don’t have to learn a new movement.

The only thing they need to learn is to listen to your command. So it’s just a matter of associating the command with an action your Maltese performs.

The easiest and most promising way is positive reinforcement. In this way, your Maltese learns that his response to the command has a positive effect on him.

With the “Sit” command, this is even easier because you can use two of your Maltese’s characteristics to your advantage. One is his strong interest in treats, and the other is his instinctive behavior of sitting down to look up.

Here is how you can teach your Maltese to sit:

  1. Get a treat and move it through the air in front of your Maltese’s nose. Hold it at your Maltese’s eye level and make sure he sees it. He should not be able to reach it and snatch it away.
  2. Now lift the treat upwards right in front of him while he keeps his eyes on it. It is very important that he does not lose sight of it and thus lose interest in it.
  3. As you move the treat upward, your Maltese will most likely sit down at some point. This way he will be able to keep an eye on the treat when he has to put his head on the back of his neck.
  4. Pay attention when he sits down and say “sit” clearly the moment his bottom touches the floor. it may take a few tries before you get the timing right. But that’s normal and not a bad thing.
  5. Give him the treat immediately after the command, without a pause in between. Also praise him and show him that he did well.

Your Maltese shouldn’t get back up right away, but he shouldn’t sit too long at first either. Praise him kindly to keep him in the position, and then eventually release the sit.

Once the exercise has worked a few times, you can try it on different surfaces such as carpet, parquet, or tile. Your Maltese should learn that sitting down on command works anywhere.

When you feel that your Maltese has learned the command, leave out the treat and try it without. If that doesn’t work right away, try again in a few minutes.

If it really doesn’t work, you will have to keep working with the treats for a while. Your Maltese is then not yet ready.

How Long Does It Take to Teach a Maltese to Sit?

How long it takes to teach your Maltese to sit depends on you and your Maltese. if you get the coordination of the command right, your Maltese is still young and has had an attentive day, it can go very quickly.

There are Maltese who master the command “Sit” after only 10 minutes. With other Maltese, it can take a few hours or days.

Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little longer. It is not a sign that your Maltese is not very smart, nor that you are doing it wrong. Some dogs just take a little longer than others. And learning some other commands like “Stay” takes longer in general.

Be patient with your Maltese if things don’t work out right away. If you practice diligently with him, it will surely go quite fast.

What Do I Need to Consider When Teaching My Maltese to Sit?

There are a few important things to keep in mind when learning to sit. Even though the process sounds quite simple, there are a few little things that are very important for success.

Here we would like to address these important points once again:

  • Your Maltese must always see the treat. If he doesn’t see the treat, he loses interest. He then also has no reason to sit down and look up.
  • Move the treat slowly. if you wiggle it back and forth in front of him quickly, it can put him in an excited state. This would not be a good condition for training.
  • Make sure he doesn’t get the treat too soon. if he has the chance, he will probably snap at the treat. So keep it so he can see it but not snap. Otherwise, you will have to start all over again with a new treat and your Maltese may learn that snapping at treats is also a great game.
  • Say “sit” exactly when your Maltese’s bottom touches the ground. This is the easiest way for him to associate sitting down with the command.
  • After sitting down, don’t wait to give him the treat. Your Maltese must learn the connection between his action and the reward. This can only be done if he receives the reward immediately. After that, you can praise and pet him.

If you follow these points, you should achieve success very quickly. Your Maltese should learn to sit on command without any problems.

To reinforce what you have learned, you can also do combination exercises with your Maltese. First let him sit, then bark on command, and finally be quiet on command.

This will challenge your Maltese a little more and can reinforce the training effect. However, your Maltese should already have a relatively good command of all the necessary commands.

How Old Should My Maltese Be When I Teach Him to Sit?

As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Even if that’s not quite true, it does contain a grain of truth.

It is always easier to teach a puppy something new than an adult Maltese. Although Maltese are very intelligent and can be trained well, it is easier for them to learn at a young age.

It always depends on where and at what age you buy the Maltese. If you buy your Maltese from a very dedicated breeder, it is even possible that he already knows the command “sit”.

But this also depends on the age of the Maltese puppy. A very young puppy has a lot to learn in life. His brain has already developed 80% of its power at the age of 8 weeks, but he often still needs his attention to learn other things.

You can start teaching him “sit” at an early age. But it is not until he is about 7 months old that he is really ready to learn the command safely.

If you can teach him before then, however, there is nothing wrong with it. It just shows that you have a smart little new friend.

Can Old Maltese Also Learn to Sit?

But even if you get your Maltese only as an adult dog, all is not lost. Even an adult Maltese can still learn commands.

Proceed exactly as you would with a puppy. This is simply the best and most successful way to teach a Maltese the command “sit”.

However, you may need to be a little more patient. Do not be disappointed if your Maltese does not master the command after 10 minutes.

Give him some time and don’t give up. With a little practice, even your adult Maltese will master listening to the command “Sit” after a short time.

Conclusion: How to Teach a Maltese to Sit

Teaching a Maltese to sit is not very difficult. It works best with the method of positive reinforcement.

Both young and older Maltese can learn to sit. However, you may have to be a little more patient with an older Maltese.

Just follow the tips in this article, and your Maltese will quickly learn to sit on command.