My eight year old daughter does great with our Maltese. She is
gentle, but we spent a lot of time making sure she understood
how easy Chase could be hurt. We learned the hard way that some
children can not be trusted. A friend spent the night. After
being told to leave the puppy alone while I took a shower, she
got the puppy from his crate and dropped him from about chest.
We are very lucky that Chase suffered no more that a sprain
neck. My vet said it could have killed him.
I would consider a seventeen month old far to young to be around
this small of a dog. If you got a Maltese you would have to keep
them apart any time you were not right with both of them. Maltese are wonderful dogs, but the can not take the ruff play of a small child like a Golden Retevier can. Good luck in what ever you decide.