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mean maltese

by linda

I have two four year old maltese male dogs. They are very mean to other dogs, people, myself and themselves. I'm going crazy with them. Can anyone tell me what to do or if you have had this problem with your maltese. I love them so much and I'm seriously considering giving them away due to this problem.


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

The first question that comes to mind is, "Are both of them neutered?" If not, that would be the FIRST thing I would do to resolve the problem. Whole male dogs in most breeds do not get along with other whole males--that "male dominance" thing.
-Linda (Snow Angel)

I also have a Maltese, age almost 7 that is vicious, at times. She especially has to be watched carefully around children and I caution anyone meeting her to "ignore" her completely and she will never bite, but just the act of reaching out to pet her will sometimes provoke a bite. She is also vicious to me when I brush her and hurt her accidently. I have had her long enough to know what will provoke her to bite and I avoid those provocations. My opinion is that it would be a terrible thing to give your dogs away. You would only be passing on your trouble to someone else and there is the possibility of your being involved in a lawsuit, should your dogs bite someone. If you cannot keep the dogs from biting, the only thing to do would be to humanely put them to sleep. I realize this sounds terrible, but sometimes it is the only way. Try first to alter their lives so that they are not exposed to things that cause them to be vicious. Treat them only with love and positive attention and see if you can retrain them. I hope you are successful. It has worked for me and my Maltese has not bitten anyone in over two years.
-Lisa &

I have two males that have a little powere struggle at times. Since they were babies this has been going on. I let them know that this is not acceptable. I put them in time-out, together, in the bathroom. Once they are put together in the bathroom, they do not fight at all. I really think that they are trying to get my attention by fighting. (just like kids) They do not, however bite anyone, are great with the kids, but they have been monitored since birth and I don't let them get away with anything. As far as mean maltese, I have never seen one. I have a rescue here that bit when I got her a week ago. She growled and bit everyone and everything. Now in 7 days, she is very loving and even plays with the kids some. Before I got rid of them, I would take them to a trainer to have them advise you on some training. Professionals can make a world of difference in our dogs, and it sounds as if you love them very much. Please let me know what happens as I am very concerned with this problem.
-Marsha A.

I agree with Marsha. If you are unable to resolve this yourself, a trainer is the best way to go. I don't know what access you have to that sort of thing. The guy who did obedience training for Lucy's puppy class will also come to your house to do training. He charges $250 for this, but he guarantees elimination of bad behaviors and his contract states that this is a lifetime (of your dog--and I guess his lifetime, too) commitment and if you experience the same problem he will return to fix it again. However, be aware, that HE is not the magic (though he is quite good). His magic is to teach YOU how to work with the dog and get the results he does. He will develope the initial behavior mod, work with the dog on it, and then work with your doing the commands with the dog. It seems quite successful--I watched him during one of our classes work with a German Shepherd who bit, snarled, screamed and in general behaved badly if anyone went near his feet. The owner was beside himself because the dog wouldn't let anyone cut his toenails. In an hour, the dog sat still for the toenail cutting. It took lots and lots of work to get him there, but in the end you could see that the dog still hated it but knew he had to sit still for it and not bite. So it is doable with the appropriate help. Good luck.
-cathy brown

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