Pomeranians have been called everything from cute clowns to feisty watch dogs. They are known to be fiercely loyal and affectionate companions and can also be great playmates for kids.
“They have wonderful outgoing personalities and actually enjoy the company of children,” says breeder Charlotte Meyer of Bark River, Michigan. “For parents considering this breed, I recommend getting a puppy from a breeder who’s raised it around kids to ensure it’s well socialized in a family environment.
“The only situation I don’t advise is introducing an adult dog that’s never been around children into a household with kids. Under such circumstances, they could be bossy and snappy resenting the competition.”
In any family where there dogs and children are being raised together, it’s important to institute ground rules teaching youngsters to respect their toy-sized companion. And parents should always teach by example.
“When my kids were toddlers, they were taught they had to sit on the floor if they wanted to hold or play with a dog and never to pick up a dog and walk around,” says Meyer. “They were also shown how to pet a dog and never to pull at ears or a tail. Friends coming to play were taught the rules too. We recently had a birthday party with eight small kids and six Pomeranians running around and everyone had a great time.”
Meyer points out that if games get exuberant, children should also be taught not to encourage the dog to bark because once it becomes a habit it’s difficult to train them to stop. And yappy puppies become yappy adults.
A Pomeranian may look like pampered lap dog but it has a working dog ancestry and enjoys daily exercise and lively games.
Young children should be allowed to be involved with their pet’s daily routine. It teaches the responsibilities of pet ownership. Start by allowing them to take the dog for a walk under adult supervision.
Another task that small children will enjoy is seeing that water bowls are always full and reporting back to their parents. When they are about seven years old, they will be ready to take on the job of keeping them topped up too.
Other dog-related chores such as how to put a measured amount of food in the dog bowl and keeping the eating area clean can follow.
Like all dogs, Pomeranians love treats. Children can help teach them basic “sit” and “stay” commands and dish out tasty rewards.
“Place the tidbit in the palm of the hand,”advises Meyer. “Then if the dog in anxious to be rewarded, it won’t inadvertently nip at any out-stretched fingers.”
Small children may also enjoy getting involved with the dog’s grooming routine. It’s a good idea to keep all the grooming tools in a carrier and teach kids about the different grooming brushes and combs. They can be given the task of handing the tools to an adult and, later taught how to brush gently once the proper grooming has been completed.
All Pomeranians love games that involve toys from tug-of-war pullies to cuddly squeaky animals. Fortunately, there is a large selection on the market that caters to tiny breeds. It’s a good idea to teach young children to respect the dog’s toys and not to try and steal them away.
“They should also be taught about the dangers of leaving their small plastic toys lying around the house because they can prove to be fatal if chewed and ingested,” cautions Meyer.
She also suggests taking children along on visits to the veterinarian so that they learn the importance of veterinary check-ups and general dog care.
Because Pomeranians have a reputation of being bold and curious they usually get along well in household where there are other dogs and even cats. Often they don’t understand their own size and usually have no fear of larger pets.
They are also intelligent, quick learners and can excel at sports such as agility and canine freestyle dancing. Older children, especially teenagers, will have a lot of fun training them for junior showmanship events.
Generally Pomeranians can slot in well into any family environment. Because they are such social and friendly dogs, they crave company and don’t like being left home alone for lengthy periods. However, because of their wonderful social natures and their toy size, they are easy to take along on day trips and family vacations and will have as much fun on an outing as the rest of the family.