Stay is one of the most important, but also most difficult commands in dog training. The dog should not move from the place when he hears the command. But how do you teach a Maltese to stay?
The command “Stay” is one of the more difficult commands for Maltese. You should have a good command of “Sit” and “Down” before you start training. Go very slowly when training, in the beginning, it is enough if you simply take a step back after the command “Stay”. if that does not work, you can also simply wave your arms. Your Maltese should remain to stand, sit, or lie down.
It is not easy for Maltese not to move. Their natural instinct is rather to follow you when you walk away. Therefore, you will need a lot of patience when learning this command.
In this article, we will explain how to teach your Maltese to stay. We will give you 6 simple steps to teach him the command.
Besides, we also explain why it is so hard for Maltese to learn the command. We also give you some tips to keep in mind when training the “Stay” command with your Maltese.
Finally, we tell you at what age you should start training for the command “Stay” and whether adult Maltese can still learn the command.
How to Teach a Maltese to Stay?
To teach your Maltese to stay, you first need to put him in a position where staying is not so difficult for him. Also, there should be no distractions nearby, so practice alone with him in a quiet place first.
Learning this command will probably take longer than learning to sit, for example. But there are good reasons for this, which we discuss below. It should not worry you if success does not come as quickly.
Practice in short training sessions, but regularly and frequently. Use the following 5 steps to learn to stay with your Maltese:
- Take a treat in one hand so your Maltese can see it.
- Put your Maltese in the “down” position.
- Give your Maltese a stop signal with your other hand. This can be, for example, the raised, open hand, with the palm facing the dog. Just like a police officer who wants to stop your car.
- Take a step backwards, away from your Maltese. If this doesn’t work, you can skip this step at first.
- Wait for a few seconds, your Maltese should be able to see the treat at all times. When he remains calm in his position, say “Stay” and give him the treat immediately. Praise him for his good behavior and release the position.
If the stay works well in the simplest variation, you can vary the exercise a bit. Take more than one step away from him, perform the exercise in a different location, incorporate small distractions into the exercise.
The point is that your Maltese learns that the command is always and everywhere. He needs to learn that he should obey it regardless of location or environment. But he will only learn this if he experiences it himself.
Why Is It so Hard to Learn to Stay for a Maltese?
Unlike other commands such as “sit” or “down”, the command “stay” is more difficult for Maltese to learn. But why is that?
Maltese, like all dogs, are pack animals. In a pack, there is always a leader that the other animals follow.
Their pack is in this case their family. And the leader is you, the owner of the Maltese. At least that’s how it should be if you train and socialize him properly.
It is the Maltese’s instinct to follow you. If you move away from him, he will want to run after you.
On top of that, the Maltese are very affectionate and have a great protective instinct. Your Maltese just wants to be near you and doesn’t like it when you walk away from him. Therefore, it is in line with his natural behavior that he wants to follow you.
So the Maltese must learn not to follow his instinct, but your command. In the beginning, he does not know what you want to achieve with the command.
He has to learn the connection between the command and his behavior. And he must learn that nothing bad will happen if he does not follow you immediately. He must understand that you will come back even if you are a little distant for a while.
What Do I Need To Consider When Teaching my Maltese to Stay?
There are a few important things to keep in mind when training the “Stay” command. With this recommendation, you will make the training easier for your Maltese as well as for yourself. And you will increase the probability of success.
- Do not let your Maltese stay too long in the beginning. Start small and increase the time slowly. In the beginning a few seconds are enough. If it works, increase the time by a few seconds the next time and again by a few seconds the time after that.
- Pay attention to whether your Maltese will stop staying right away. If you notice signs of this, reward him before he can break off. This way, you have maintained control and aborted the training session, not him. This is important for long-term success.
- Don’t move too far away from your Maltese at the catch. It is perfectly sufficient if you take just one step away at first. This reduces the risk that your Maltese will instinctively want to follow you. Increase the distance over time, however. he must learn to stay even when you move far away.
- Start by staying in the “place” position. This is easiest for your Maltese and it is also easier for you to know if he wants to abort. You will then have a better opportunity to intervene. Also, he will voluntarily stay longer in the “down” position than in other positions. If this works, you can continue training in the “sit” position.
- Practice staying in a quiet environment without distractions at first. When your Maltese is ready, vary the places you practice. At some point, incorporate possible distractions such as other family members or friends, the television, or toys nearby. Your Maltese must learn to follow the command anywhere and in any situation.
- Reward your Maltese only when the exercise has been successful. If he breaks off staying by himself, he will not get a treat or praise. However, do not reprimand him either. Just start over by taking him back to his previous place. This is also a sign for him that he should stay in exactly this place.
How Old Should My Maltese Be When I Teach Him to Stay?
The best time to start training is early in puppyhood. However, before you tackle the command “Stay”, your Maltese puppy should already be able to do some other things.
Start learning commands with a simple command like “Sit”. Maltese can learn to sit quite quickly, it is their nature to sit in certain situations.
Then continue with the command “Down”. Only when your Maltese has mastered these two commands can they move on to stay.
So the right age for learning the command “Stay” depends a lot on when and how quickly your puppy learns the commands “Sit” and “Down”.
Generally, Maltese are said to be ready to learn these commands at 7 months of age. However, there are many cases where they can be learned earlier.
So if you have already taught your Maltese the two commands at the age of 4 or 5 months, you can start with the command “Stay”. If he has learned them only at the age of 7 or 8 months, start then.
But don’t be disappointed if your Maltese doesn’t learn the command until he is 8 months old. This is not unusual and does not mean anything. Some Maltese learn some things earlier and other things later.
It is just like with babies. One baby learns to talk early and walk late, the next baby it’s the other way around.
Maltese puppies have a lot of new things to learn. It may just be that your puppy is still busy with learning other things and just not ready for commands. But that is okay.
Can Old Maltese Learn to Stay?
It is basically that puppies learn better, faster, and easier than adult dogs. With increasing age, the willingness and ability to learn decreases. This is no different with dogs than with people.
However, it is not impossible to teach an adult Maltese to stay. But it requires much more patience, and the probability of success is lower than with puppies. But it is still possible.
If you want to teach an adult Maltese to stay, proceed in the same way as with a puppy. However, be prepared that it will not work at first.
A Maltese who does not know the command will follow his instincts and follow you. He just hasn’t learned to stay where he is in his life so far.
Changing a routine once learned is much harder for dogs than learning something completely new and unfamiliar. Why should the dog change his behavior when it has worked well for him so far?
Always remember that it is a great mental effort for a Maltese to change his habitual behavior. Expect that you will not see immediate success.
But if you approach the training with a lot of patience and understanding, it is quite possible that your Maltese will learn to stay.
Conclusion: How to Teach a Maltese to Stay
Teaching Maltese to stay is a little harder than teaching them to sit and lie down. Staying is not as much in their nature as the other two actions.
However, it is easily possible with the 5 steps we have explained to you in this article.
The best time to start training is at puppy age. First, teach your Maltese the commands “sit” and “down” before moving on to the more difficult command “stay”.
It is not impossible to teach an adult Maltese the “Stay” command, but it is more difficult and will take longer.
Staying is an important step in training your Maltese. However, it challenges him a bit more than other commands. Be patient and understanding and you will train successfully with your Maltese.