Dog Safety Education Urgently Needs Improving

A feel-good article in the Telegraph lauds the benefits of Early School dog education for children:

‘Yesterday the youngest students at Glenmore Park Public School said they loved learning how to make friends with a dog.

“You say to the pet owner ‘Can I please pat your dog’ and the dog has to smell your hand before you pat it,” said Ella Errington, 5.

Lincoln Cunningham said he felt “happy about patting dogs” after the course while Luke Roet, 5, confided he likes to “pat dogs and hug them”.

Principal Michelle Collins said the training was “perfectly suited” to help the students understand how to be good pet owners and interact safely with dogs

“Dogs are part of our family and our community and we need children to learn correct and safe behaviours,”‘

Great stuff of course, and much overdue. I have campaigned for years for the introduction of formal dog safety lessons into the school curriculum…

But let’s read the fine print. The program’s website outlines the areas of study to be covered by the lessons:

‘The Teacher’s Kit is based around eight key concepts:
1. Choosing a Pet.
2. Registration.
3. Security and Housing.
4. Native Flora and Fauna.
5. Exercise.
6. Training.
7. Feeding and Health.
8. Unfriendly Dogs.’

All that to be covered in 4 lessons. That’s 20 minutes per topic. Do primary school-aged children really need to know about ‘Registration’? And how about placing ‘Native flora and fauna’ somewhere else in the curriculum?

What children really need is Dog Safety. Let’s not dilute the essentials with politically-correct distractions!

About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim is a house call Veterinarian in Melbourne
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