The relationship between dogs and children

The year of the dog

Today’s contributing article is by Keren’s Nursery. The nursery is based in Holland Park and is one of three Ofsted OUTSTANDING nurseries, owned and directed with passion by husband and wife team, Keren & Assaf Ben-Ezra. They share with us some interesting facts about the year of the dog.


Keren’s Nursery has a new addition to its team, BUZZ the dog. That has led us to write about the unique relationship between dogs and people, especially children. Dogs have long been considered “man’s best friend”. It’s fair to say that they have certainly earned the title by being excellent companions. Scientific evidence has proven that there are many health benefits to having a dog. Our dogs help us relax, lower our blood pressure, keep us active and more.

More so, recent studies show the great benefit of having dogs around children. Dogs can be especially helpful to children, in making emotional connections. Children who struggle with relating to others can often make emotional connections with dogs. While not everyone can own a dog, it doesn’t mean that children can’t enjoy quality time with such a loving companion while at nursery or school. Educators have long known that bringing dogs into educational settings helps children learn; Mary Renck Jalongo, PhD author of The World of Children and Their Companion Animals. Other benefits of a nursery dog include: Dogs provide unconditional love, dogs teach children empathy, caring for a dog increases a child’s self-confidence and independence, communicating with a dog improves social and verbal skills.

Buzz, a Maltese breed puppy, has joined Keren’s in July 2017. Maltese is a gentle and fearless breed that greets everyone as a friend. Maltese dogs do not shed hair, therefore they are very good amongst children with allergies.  Maltese are not only wonderful companions but they are also excellent therapy dogs that love to be around people and especially children.

Buzz has introduced himself to the children at gathering times, where children could gently start bonding with him. Some children where resistant at first and slowly gained the confidence to approach him. Soon enough the children were asking their teachers when he will be visiting them again. It is amazing to see the level of enjoyment and positive emotional impact on the children when he is around. The children, at all age groups, find the way to communicate with Buzz. It is especially interesting to see how the under two your olds react and communicate with Buzz, exploring his fur, ears, tail, making eye contact with him and marvel at his reactions and excitement.  Buzz joins the children on their outings, they take him on their visits to the local park, shops and on their Forest School Sessions.

In conclusion, bringing dogs to the nursery’s environment had enriched the children’s development and understanding of the world. They are definitely benefiting from being exposed to animals, developing a relationship with a lovely companion animal.

We wholeheartedly recommend considering adopting a dog at home. If it is not possible you can always inquire with your child’s nursery and school about the option of introducing a dog.

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog!