New pilot program rolled out for young children on dog safety

Released 09/12/2019

Our youngest Canberrans will learn about dog safety through a pilot program rolled out to selected early childhood centres across the Territory.

“The Living Safely with Dogs program is designed to prevent bites by giving children the skills and knowledge they need to safely engage with dogs,” Minister for City Services Chris Steel said.

The program has been delivered successfully in Victoria and New South Wales, and has resulted in better interaction between children and dogs, helping to prevent bites. It identifies a range of at risk behaviours and helps children understand when dogs should be left alone; things we should not do to dogs; how to tell if a dog is happy, frightened or angry; a safe way to approach and greet a dog; and what to do if approached by an unknown or aggressive dog.

The pilot program is just one of the key actions in the Canberra Dog Model, targeting education programs for children and families.

50 early childhood centres in the ACT elected and enrolled in the pilot program which contains interactive, fun and informative visual aids, songs, demonstrations with a trained and experienced dog and a take-home booklet for kids to share with their family. The lessons involve a fully trained pet educator and their suitability tested dog visiting the early childhood centres and engaging with children to teach them all there is to know about how to live safely with dogs.

“Young children are the mostly likely group in the community to be the victim of a dog attack and this program is targeted at reducing the risk of bites in this age group,” Minister Steel said.

“Most dog attacks involving children take place in the home environment with a dog known to them and the program will support parents to be responsible pet owners, including expecting parents.”

An awareness program is also being targeted at prenatal centres to assist expectant and new parents.

- Statement ends -

Section: Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases

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