Toy dogs like Kenzo, the Maltese, do not make great companions for children, due to their small size and fragile build. However, irrespective of dog breed and size, the right supervision, patience and attitude is absolutely essential for children to understand and respect their pet pals. Such interactions are great for dogs as well!
Kenzo’s pet parent is a young girl (pictured below). She taught Kenzo to ‘twirl’ and regularly practices obedience and trick training with him! Remember, mental stimulation is as important as physical stimulation!
Children can, and should be, involved in the training, grooming and other care practices for puppies/dogs. Adult supervision, of course, is always mandatory!
Some quick Do’s and Dont’s for Child Interaction around Puppies:
- ALWAYS SUPERVISE – Adults, keep an eye out for alarming dog (calming signals and warning sounds) and naughty child behaviours!
- Discourage rough and aggressive games with the puppy.
- Most puppies dislike close face-to-face contact, unless they have instigated it themselves, so keep faces away from the puppy’s.
- Never let children ambush or force themselves on the puppy. If they want to play, the puppy should be invited over, but do not let the children force the issue if the puppy does not want to go to them. The children must be made to understand the importance of having ‘quiet time’ with the puppy, and give it space and peace and quiet when it wants it.
- Puppies will often steal, chew and swallow children’s toys and clothes for attention, so teach your children tidy habits, or your puppy will spend its youth at the veterinary practice having things surgically removed from it (or worse, it could die).
- Children must learn to ask a dog’s owner permission before petting their dog.
(Sources – ASPCA and The Kennel Club UK )
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