I have had the pleasure of working with the Dogs Trust education team for many years. They have established a fantastic education programme that delivers free curriculum support to schools throughout the UK all about responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs. This year they have launched Be Dog Smart focused on teaching children and their families how to be safe around all dogs.
Does your child know how to greet a dog, understand what a dog does when it’s frightened or know what to do if one jumped up at them? Dogs Trust is urging UK schools to sign up for free workshops to teach children how to be safe around dogs. Whether you own a dog or not – everyone should know how to behave appropriately around them to minimise risk and keep themselves safe.
Josephine Questier, Dogs Trust Education & Community Officer for the South East, says:
“Owning and being around dogs has so many wonderful benefits and can be so much fun for kids, but it is very important that the whole family is dog smart. Unfortunately when a child gets bitten, it’s often a dog they know and all too often in the place we least expect it, like their home. Be Dog Smart aims to teach children simple messages that they will remember and which will keep dogs happy and children safe. But it is also about pushing back responsibility to parents – we find that many of the children at our workshops are already pretty savvy about staying dog safe, so we are looking to move to the next level and are encouraging parents to learn the rules too.”
Some of the top tips the Education & Community Officers will be passing on are:
Beware of disturbing dogs that are sleeping
Even if for fun, don’t ever tease a dog please
Don’t approach a dog with no owner around
Only stroke a dog when the owner says ‘Yes you can’
Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently
Strange dog approaching? Stand still, look away, cross your arms
Move calmly and quietly around any dog
All that grabbing, hugging and kissing – you might like it, dogs don’t
Remember all dogs have teeth
Treat dogs with respect and they will respect you
If you would like to arrange a community workshop at your school, community or leisure centre or would like to download the comprehensive ‘Be Dog Smart’ guide on a range of child and dog safety issues, please visit www.learnwithdogstrust.co.uk.