Has your sweet little angel turned into a snarling little terrorizer!? Maybe you’ve noticed your pup sulking in the corner.
You can’t put your finger on it, but something seems off. Whatever it is he’s just not acting like himself.
Maybe you have someone new in your life? A new baby, a new boyfriend, a new puppy, or maybe even a new kitten. Whoever or whatever it is, your Maltese is not pleased! There’s a reason this breed is referred to as the Velcro breed! They want to cling to you every second of the day. If anything threatens to get in their way they don’t like it!
Maltese’s do get jealous and can at times be very possessive of their owners or things, they may get jealous of any new person or thing that they feel is threatening to steal your attention away. They may show this by trying to get your attention through whining barking or nipping.
It could also be a change in routine that may have triggered this jealous behavior. They will show you this jealousy through their body language, not only by snarling or nipping but maybe they’re trying to get between you and the offending character.
Don’t despair there are things you can do to help your fur baby get used to and even love the new person or animal in your life just as much as you do!
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Do Maltese’s Get Jealous?
Jealousy seems like such a raw human emotion, it seems strange that our dogs could be so connected to us that they could experience this emotion too. Well, this interesting research study by the University of California shows just how much dogs do experience jealousy.
In the experiment. Dog owners were asked to pay attention to three different objects in front of their dogs. The first a book, next a Jack-O-Lantern (plastic pumpkin) and the last was a stuffed dog toy that could bark and walk.
The owners were told to interact with these objects as if they were real dogs. They talked to them as if they were talking to their own dog. They also completely ignored their own dog while doing so.
The researchers took note of any jealous behaviors in the dogs as well as asking their owners if they could tell that their dogs were jealous. Interestingly enough the toy dog received the biggest reaction from the dogs as they displayed many of the behaviors that were considered signs of jealousy.
I wasn’t surprised with how the dogs reacted, I mean lets be honest our Maltese’s live for our attention I’m sure they would react the same way.
So if you think your Maltese has gotten jealous then yes you may be right. It’s important to be aware of and recognize the signs as early as possible. The earlier you intervene the easier it will be to help correct any aggressive behaviors before it goes too far. Here are some signs to watch for.
Signs of a Jealous Maltese
Aggression – Whether it’s growling, nipping, barking, or chasing, if your Maltese is being aggressive to others it could be a sign that they don’t like the attention that you are giving away to that person or animal. They may also feel like they need to protect you from someone or something.
Getting your Attention – If your Maltese is getting in your face, trying to get in between you and the other person or object, barking at you to look at them, nuzzling you with his nose, or even being blatantly destructive right next to you he’s likely trying to bring your attention to him and away from the object he’s jealous of.
Being Extra Clingy – As if it’s even possible if you Maltese is doing everything he can to get to you. Jumping on your computer putting his face in-between you and your phone, following you EVERYWHERE (I know they already do this, but if it’s even worse) then you could have a jealous Maltese on your hands!
Chasing things away – Whatever it may be if he’s jealous of the baby, toddler, new puppy, cat, girlfriend, he’s probably going to try and be dominant of them and stake his territory by chasing them away, this could include barking, growling, pacing in circles, or anything he can do to guard his precious owner from the perceived threat.
Accidents in the house – If your dog is well-trained and they start to have accidents in the house this is a red flag that something is up. Dogs are historically social animals and always run with a pack, whenever someone or something is threatening a member of their pack they mark their territory as a signal for others to stay away. Your Maltese could be trying to take a stand by making his claim through urinating all over his property.
Ignoring- A more subtle sign of jealousy you may see from your Maltese may be that they sulk off to another part of the house and pout. They could become withdrawn and depressed (after all isn’t this the same reaction some of us humans have when dealing with this emotion as well?)
What May Be Causing Your Maltese to Be Jealous
Dogs are social and pack animals. They are also creatures of habit, so even if your sweet innocent little Maltese is well socialized as a puppy he could still have problems when his routine is interrupted by a perceived threat to his pack.
Adding a new person or pet to your household is most likely the cause of this sudden jealous behavior. There can be other reasons too however. If your dog is bored and he sees you engaged with other people of things it could cause him to react with jealousy.
If your Maltese sees or perceives that you are giving more of your attention and love to someone or something else this may cause him to feel insecure and cause feelings of jealousy.
A suddenly mobile toddler or baby could also be alarming to your Maltese. If your child has recently learned to crawl or walk it could be unsettling to your Maltese and he may not know how to react to it.
Feeling possessive of you or his toys or other resources like his food or water can make a Maltese act in an aggressive jealous way. This is a natural instinct for all dogs as many are bred with the intention of protecting their owners from threats.
Luckily Maltese are generally more calm and docile breed as they have been bred over the years to be a lap dog and companion. Be sure to take a look at this article I wrote about the superpowers Maltese were bred to have!
How to Stop Jealous Behavior in Your Maltese
Find out the Root Cause of the Jealous Behavior and Address it
If it’s a change in routine try to figure out how you can ease into it, or associate it with positive things. If it’s a new person or animal, work on the steps below (outlined in train your dog to love the new person or thing).
Noticing how your dog feels is the first step to helping him overcome his jealousy before it becomes dangerous aggression. Figuring out why he feels that way may take a little more investigative work.
Keep a diary or notebook and write down any time he shows signs of jealousy what he was doing and why you may think it happened, soon you will start to notice a pattern.
Train your Dog to Love the New Person or Thing
If it’s a new person like a boyfriend or girlfriend or new roommate, enlist their help to shower your dog with lavish attention! Let them feed your dog, give them praise and treats, let them bond with your pet, and be their new best friend for a while while you…. (gulp) ignore them!
Yes! You heard me right, I know it will be hard, but if your dog is jealous of the attention you give this other person you need to help them see that it’s not this person is on their side and it’s really not that bad.
Your Maltese is Jealous of the Baby
If your Maltese is jealous of your new baby you may have your work cut out for you. The best time to prepare your pooch for a new baby is… well before that precious bundle arrives. Dogs like routine and predictability none of which describes life with a newborn. If you are able to slowly prepare your home and your Maltese for life with a new baby then you will be less likely to see jealous behaviors.
If you missed that opportunity or your pup is still having problems all is not lost. It will take some time, but your pup can find peace again. Some tips to help with a new baby are:
- Never leave your baby unattended around your dog.
- Keep your dog’s toys and baby’s toys separated. This helps to prevent resource guarding.
- Make sure your dog has a solid understanding of basic commands.
- Keep a safe and quiet place for your dog to escape to (his crate or bed in a different room) when the baby gets too much for him.
- Give him treats and praise for all positive interactions so he can learn to associate a new baby with pleasant things.
- Let your dog get used to the baby on his own terms never force him.
- Include him in walks and playtime.
- Give your dog an item of clothing or blanket that smells like your baby and reward him for being around it.
- Seek professional help if your dog gets aggressive.
Your Maltese is Jealous of a New Pet
When your Maltese is jealous of a new pet you may think that it’s because he wants to assert dominance over the new pet, but more often than not its’ because he’s feeling insecure about his place in your house with the arrival of this new pet.
Besides following some of the same pointers above you should also try and keep their food and water separated as well as toys and other items that your Maltese may feel like belongs to him.
Also, give him a safe place to retreat away from the new pet if he needs it. I have this dog crate from Amazon for my small dog Bear.
Learning to deal with an energetic puppy or even just a new furry friend can feel overwhelming and your Maltese will need some time and space to himself so he can rest and relax without the stress of a new curious critter all over him.
Take them on walks together. Dogs are pack animals and will enjoy getting out of the house and peeing on stuff as a fun bonding activity. Of course I don’t recommend this if your new pet is a cat.
Give them treats whenever they are together. This will help then create positive associations with being together.
Try and make your attention even to both of them. Don’t give all your attention to the new puppy or cat and scold your older dog for acting out. That will create negative associations towards the new pet and won’t help him to create the bond he needs.
Here is a popular article I wrote about getting your Maltese another dog as a companion and friend and how to introduce them properly!
Go Back to the Basics
Work on all the basic training commands such as sit, stay, drop, down. You will need a solid foundation and accurate execution. When you run into problem behaviors and you need to redirect with something else use these commands, and you should have a stronger chance of seeing compliance.
It may be helpful to also attend obedience lessons with your dog or get help from a personal trainer. Even if you have done this before, it could be a great refresher as well as save you from having to make heartbreaking decisions if his aggression were to get out of hand later on.
Lavish with Praise When Appropriate
Whenever your dog is showing good behavior that you want to see make sure to give him plenty of love and affection as well as a healthy treat (link to healthy treat options on Amazon) or two. This will help to reinforce positive behaviors and teach your Maltese the things that will get him the attention he craves.
It’s also important to take note of how much attention you may or may not be giving him. For mild cases of jealousy, it can often be cured with a dose of a little extra attention, playtime, and love.
If your pet is extremely attached to you and you tend to coddle or baby him it may cause him to view you as his and no one else’s. This could create resource guarding with you as the resource. If you think this is the problem you may want to read this article by the bark.com for some extra help and tips on how to solve it.
Know When to Get Help
If you feel like you have tried everything and you are still worried that your sweet canine companion may act out aggressively it’s a good idea to seek help from outside sources.
Even if you haven’t tried everything, but are feeling overwhelmed with the challenges that you are facing (being a new parent is one that comes to mind) don’t feel bad or like you are a failure for reaching out.
Asking a trusted friend or neighbor to take some time working with your pet or maybe babysitting for a few hours so you can give the attention you need to yourself and your dog is not giving up.
Even little changes like hiring a dog walker or having your little pooch go to obedience school can make a big difference.
In the end it will be better for everyone if your dog is learning that others can give it the love and care it needs just as much as you can.