All Things Dog

Do Toy Poodles and Children Mix?

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There's no doubt about it, Toy Poodles are clever, lively, and loyal companions. And, as one of the most intelligent breeds, they're also easily trained. The downside is that Toy Poodles also have a tendency to be high strung and snappish, which doesn't always make them ideal for families with children.

But take heart, these simple tips can help ensure family harmony with your Toy Poodle:

Start socialization early. During your Toy Poodle's first year—especially during the first four months—make every effort to expand the puppy's environment and expose him to new things. Take him with you when you go for a walk, shopping, or even to your job. Work with a trainer to develop a plan to make positive associations with children. You can then encourage your children to bring their friends over to meet the new pet. Toy Poodles are especially fond of retrieving balls and toys.

Sign up for obedience training. A dog that'll be spending time with children must be trained. A dog will act according to his instincts if he doesn't receive proper training or if that training isn't kept up. So he needs to learn to obey commands under all conditions, no matter how distracting. As soon as they're old enough, kids should be involved in the training process and should learn how to give—and enforce—commands.

Teach your children "pet manners." Despite its name, the Toy Poodle is not a toy. Some Toy Poodles are such gentle souls that they are overwhelmed by the roughhousing and mischief of small children. Others simply won't put up with it. Teach your kids what kinds of games are appropriate, how to touch the dog properly, to read the dog's body language, and to know when the dog is not to be disturbed.

Never leave small children alone with your dog. No matter how reliable the dog has been before, a responsible adult can prevent any aggressive behavior by the dog and can keep little ones from putting themselves in danger. Telling a toddler to stay away from the dog isn't enough.

With the right approach, you'll bring out the best in your Toy Poodle. And your whole family can enjoy this lively, happy pooch for years to come.

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