It's been a busy few months in South Wales. I have delivered many Be Dog Smart workshops at a number of primary and secondary schools. All messages have been received with a great deal of empathy from all I have spoken to. I have met a number of children who have been bitten by dogs over these past few months and most of them agreed these bites could have been prevented. Most dog bites happen to children by dogs they know so it is important they understand how to behave around dogs and understand that dogs have feelings.
The children found out that dogs can show us in many ways when they are feeling uneasy. We explained why shouting or forcing a dog to do something is not the best way and can frighten the dog. The children understand that training a dog with love and positive praise will enrich the dog’s life at home and within the community. Some children explained their parents often shout at their dogs but they felt confident in discussing the dogs feelings with their families. Some of the children had even attended our S.Wales. Dogs School Training classes with their dogs and families.
We also thought about what could happen if children are left alone with dogs and that included walking them without an adult. The children agreed they would need a grown up to look after them and their dog. They also agreed that they are very good at playing and can become very excitable and this can upset dogs. Children need a watchful eye, as I was told by one of the children 'playing is their game'. The children read scenarios where they had to think about how they would feel in a particular situation and how a dog might feel. The outcome of this was that the children understood what they might feel like doing to a dog is not always the safest option. This included teasing and trapping the dogs in cuddles. We spoke about their feelings in similar situations and what they and dogs need to be Healthy and Happy.
We also watched closely how irresponsible dog owners have impacted their behaviour on responsible dog owners and non dog owners in Cardiff. Dog fouling and not keeping dogs under control is an offence and I hear both sides of this most days. However 100's of people demonstrated their feelings by walking with their dogs and signing a petition to let them walk their dogs on sports fields in the Capital.
Here Claire discusses what we need to Be Healthy and Happy and what dogs need.
Here we look at how much Florence costs in one year.