A new Australian study blames Scooby Doo and other popular TV characters for children’s lack of dog safety education:
“What children don’t learn from fictional cartoon dog characters is that dogs are territorial animals, they are hunting animals and they have hunting instincts which cause them to react in a particular way.”
Ms Nichols said the study found one in four students, aged five and six, wrongly believed dogs liked being patted on their heads and one in six had not overcome their intuitive reaction to run from a threatening dog.
Many children mistakenly projected their own human emotions on to dogs and treated them like human babies, it found.”
We don’t need another study to be told how TV is bad for our children. What we need is hands-on education to teach our children what to do!
In the society where dogs are a rarity, children have no opportunity to develop their own understanding of the way animals behave. So it is inevitable that cartoon characters and popular culture will fill the gap.
Children need to be told what to do when confronted with a dog. This education needs to extend beyond words and into practical, rehearsed behaviour. And it need to be repeated regularly – much more then once a year.
The message to the parent is simple – don’t rely on the education to help your child to develop essential life skills. Take control and start the education yourself. And to help you in that, here is a ‘Dog Safety Education’ teaching plan I developed some years ago.