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Dog Trainers: Tools for Dog Bite Prevention Week 2008

Dog Bite Prevention week is May 19-25, 2008. According to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association, most dog bite victims are children, and most bites are by the family pet or another dog known to the child. More dogs are euthanized for behavior issues, including biting, than any other cause. We can help children and dogs by teaching kids and families how to read dog body language and act safely around dogs. Promoting clicker training as a hands-off way of building a bond of love and respect between child and dog is an excellent approach.

Doggone Safe is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to dog bite prevention through education and to dog bite victim support. We invite you to get involved in this work during dog bite prevention week this year. There are many things you can do during the week to provide a community service and to promote your business. Some suggestions include:

  • Post an article at your website
  • Submit an article to your local newspaper
  • Send the Doggone Safe Public Service Announcements for radio to your local radio station on behalf of your business
  • Set up a booth at a local mall or community event, or at your own location, to demonstrate clicker training and provide information about safety around dogs
  • Send out a Doggone Safe Dog Bite Prevention Week press release to your local media, customizing it with your own contact information
We can help children and dogs by teaching kids and families how to read dog body language and act safely around dogs.

Visit a school or other community group and deliver Doggone Safe's "Be a Tree" program for dog bite prevention * Print the Doggone Safe Post Office Poster and ask if you can put it up in your local post office (US only) Print and distribute the free public information resources available from Doggone Safe. (Yes, you can reprint anything you find at the Doggone Safe website, and you can customize items to include your own business contact information.) Purchase high quality, low cost coloring books, story books, posters, and stickers from Doggone Safe to give out—these can be customized with your own logo and contact information as well

Information and free downloads are available at www.doggonesafe.com to help you implement the suggestions listed above.

* The "Be a Tree" program for school-aged children is Doggone Safe's flagship program. Over 500,000 children have benefited from attending this presentation, which is delivered by Doggone Safe members, public health professionals, emergency services professionals, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, dog trainers, groomers, pet sitters, teachers, and others. The "Be a Tree" program is the only dog bite prevention program to be promoted by major professional organizations, including the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, the Canadian Association of Animal Health Technologists and Technicians, and the provincial Veterinary Technician/Technologist associations across Canada.

Children learn that dogs have feelings and emotions, and that they show these in various ways.

The "Be a Tree" program is a fun and interactive program that teaches children how to read dog body language. Children learn that dogs have feelings and emotions, and that they show these in various ways. Sometimes dogs don't want to meet children, and sometimes they do. Children learn not to fear dogs, but to judge when a dog does or does not want to play or be petted. They learn to recognize the signs of a happy dog (panting and wagging his tail and sitting with his owner) and to recognize the displacement behaviors dogs show when they are anxious and don't want to interact (licking their chops, yawning, turning away, or showing a half moon of white in their eye). Children learn that a bossy type of dog may be staring with mouth closed and/or holding his tail way up in the air. Most importantly, children learn that dogs don't like hugs and kisses.

To help prevent dog bites, the program teaches children how to be a tree—stand still with your hands folded in front and "watch your roots grow," i.e. look at your feet—until the dog goes away or help arrives. Find out more about the "Be a Tree" program, and download some free activity and coloring sheets to give out to kids during Dog Bite Prevention Week at www.be-a-tree.com.

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