At its annual convention in New Orleans this month, the American Veterinary Medical Association announced a new program aimed at reducing dog bites among children aged 3 – 6. Children younger than three should never be left alone with any dog, the group is quick to point out.
According to Dr. Ilana Reisner of the University of Pennsylvania, dog bites happen when people don’t understand dog behavior. “Children are more likely to get bitten by dogs because of the way they interact with dogs.”
“For example, they move faster, are often unpredictable, and are more likely to try to interact with the dog in a way that unexpectedly provokes aggression. Children are more likely to approach a sleeping dog – or one that is eating – and decide to kiss it on the head,” Dr. Reisner explains.
The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD, based on a European dog bite prevention program, is an educational program for pre-schoolers that teaches them how to interact with dogs in a way that won’t provoke the animals.
The interactive CD presents your child with scenarios and asks him what he would do in those circumstances. The program rewards correct answers and gives your youngster the chance to try again in the event of an incorrect answer.
Dr. Tiny De Keuster, chairman of the European Blue Dog Trust has this to say about the program: “We are very optimistic that American veterinarians and the AVMA will welcome Blue Dog as a useful educational tool that complements their own efforts in the field of dog bite prevention. I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic support of professional colleagues from around the world in the development phases of this project – there is clearly a need for this unique tool within the overall strategy of dog bite prevention.”
Priced at just $8, the booklet and CD are available from the AVMA website. Sounds like a good plan, as more than 800,000 people each year end up seeking medical attention in the United States after being bitten by a dog. Half of these are children.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!