Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and children truly belong together. I consider it a rite of passage for a child to love a dog and to learn to nurture and respect an animal throughout their childhood. In my educated opinion, there is not a better breed of dog for a child than a Cavalier. Cavaliers are devoted, loving, affectionate, easy to maintain and train, small enough to have on your lap and carry, yet not too small. They are playful, athletic, adventurous and they adore everyone the same.
With that being said, many families who purchase puppies from me have young children. As a result, I feel inclined to discuss the importance of understanding how little and vunerable a puppy is when he/she first comes home to you. Please read the green flyer to educate yourself on keeping your puppy safe with children, whether it be your own children or someone else's children that interacts with the puppy.
Things to Consider: Puppies & Children
We have many families that buy our puppies that have children - teenagers to the very young. Dogs make great family pets and some breeds better than others. Cavaliers are companion dogs - true family pets.
While Cavaliers have great dispositions and temperaments, I offer a few tips to help keep both the puppy/dog and children safe:
1. Children must be prepared for the size of a puppy. I had one family that had their small children carry around a bag of rice to give the children the idea of the size of their new family member. A stuffed toy can also be used to demonstrate this. When a Cavalier first comes home, it's incredibly easy for a child to drop the puppy, causing it great harm. Be sure your child does not play with the puppy on higher things than the ground. Even a puppy falling off of a sofa can break a puppy's leg.
2. They must also be made aware of how a small dog can get under feet and how to be cautious of this. I had one family contact us that had lost a puppy, because their daughter fell on top of the puppy. (It was not one of our puppies, but they were looking to replace the one lost - this of course was very devastating to the family.)
3. Set rules before the puppy comes home on how to care and handle the puppy. Remember the puppy has just left his mom and siblings and sometimes has had a long trip to get there. Give the puppy time to adjust without overwhelming him. Older dogs need this as well, to help them adjust to their new environment and family members.
4. Please do not allow your toddler to pull or tug on the puppy or any adult dog. Children of all ages must be educated on the proper way to respect and treat a puppy/dog. Even hugging too tightly can scare and make a puppy/dog feel threatened. These rules help to keep not only the puppy/dog safe, but also prevent the possibility for the child to get bit. Most dogs only bite if they are being hurt or feel threatened.
5. Play time should be fun, but remember screaming, yelling, and chasing a puppy or older dog can scare them and should not allowed. Sneaking up behind a dog, or startling a sleeping dog are also behaviors that make a dog feel threatened.
6. Always supervise young children with dogs - puppies bite, especially when teething, and older dogs (if provoked) can bite. Do not allow a puppy to bite or chew on your children, especially the hands or fingers. Give a firm NO and then offer a chew toy. If the behavior continues, put them in a safe area away from the family for a bit -- a time out.
7. When respect is given to a puppy/dog, then it will be reciprocated with love and affection - be the pack leader and show your "furry" family member that they are loved, cared for, and protected