As your puppy gets older, you can teach him to sit, always using a simple one-word command. Tell him to sit while holding a food treat above his head, and possibly placing the palm of your hand behind his rump. You should not have to exert any pressure on his rear to show him what you expect, but this could serve as a final option. This lesson will take a little time, but you will soon succeed, always giving plenty of praise when appropriate. Never shout or get angry when your dog does not achieve your aim, for this will do more harm than good. As a sidebar, if yours is destined to be a show dog, you may decide not to teach the sit command, as in the show ring he will be expected to stand.
When your Maltese puppy is properly vaccinated and can venture into public places, begin by taking him somewhere quiet without too many distractions. Soon you will find his confidence increasing and you can then introduce him to new places with exciting sights, sounds and smells. He must always be on a safe lead that cannot be slipped (quite different from the type used in the show ring). When you have total confidence in one another, you will probably be able to let him off lead. Always keep him in sight and be sure the place you have chosen for free exercise is utterly safe and securely enclosed.
Certainly if you have a show dog, and most likely if you have a pet, you will need to train your puppy to stay in a crate when required. At most dog shows, Toy breeds are housed in crates for at least part of the time while not being actually exhibited in the ring. Crates are useful for traveling and, if used in the home, most dogs seem to look upon them as safe places to go and don’t mind staying in their crates for short periods. You also will appreciate the crates usefulness for house-training.
When you commence crate training, remain within sight of your dog and give him a toy, something safe and constructive to occupy his mind in the crate. To begin, leave him in the crate for very short spells of just a minute or two, then gradually build up the time span. However, never confine a dog to a crate for long periods, for that would be unkind.
Next step: Training Overview
Reprinted from Breeders Best: Maltese © 2004. Permission granted by Kennel Club Books, an imprint of BowTie Press.