October 21, 2014

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Education Key Component

If breed bans are not the solution to serious dog attacks, what can we do to protect the most vulnerable people in our society: our children and elderly?

Dr. Stanley Coren has said that dog bite incidents are reduced by 90% when an owner takes their dog through a level I obedience program. Furthermore, he reports that with just 1 hour of training for young school aged children (grades 2 or 3) dog bites were reduced by 80%. Combine these two and you have a reduction in dog bites of 98%.

The inquest into the death of Courtney Trempe (Ontario) resulted in 35 recommendations that they felt would significanly reduce the number dog bite/attacks. The main recommendations related to education.

After a horrific mauling of a young boy in Alberta, the Dog Awareness for Everyone and Youths (D.A.F.E.Y.) program was started.  Here is a quote from the DAFEY website on the importance of education:

Many things people do in everyday life with dogs can be misinterpreted by the animal as a threat, such as blocking their view, staring in their eyes or patting them on the head while standing directly in front of them, and more things covered in this website and program. Although it should always be kept in mind that a dog bite or attack can occur without provocation, our goal is to minimize the risk of another child and family having to survive a dog attack.

 Children are the most common victims of severe dog bites. Small children are particularly at risk because they are not always recognized by dogs as being people simply because of their size. In addition, their face is often in line with that of most large breed dogs, and with small breeds children tend to bend down into an “unsafe” zone to communicate with the animal. The importance of educating our children to “respect a dog’s space” has never been more apparent.

Dogwatch calls on legislators around the world to provide the best possible reponse to the problem of dog bites. We call on legislators to implement the recommendations that have been put forward by the Courtney Trempe inquest and through the DAFEY program.