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Safe and sound
Helping to ensure your children
are ‘Safe & Sound’ around dogs


Earls Court 2, London 22-23 November 2003
www.discover-dogs.org.uk

At this year’s Discover Dogs the Kennel Club will be launching its ‘Safe And Sound Around Dogs Award’ - a new initiative that specifically focuses on the safety of interaction between children and dogs.

A series of practical demonstrations will be featured at the event in the Dog Training Display Ring, where children will show how to stay safe and sound around dogs and this area is currently being developed so that it can be co-ordinated through designated Kennel Club dog training clubs.

In addition, an interactive children’s website will go live, specifically concentrating on the safety issues where children interact with dogs. A ‘Safety Factor Challenge’ will be demonstrated which puts the player into different situations and children will have to take the right course of action to stay safe around dogs.

The website will be accessible through www.the-kennel-club.org.uk and is the first of its kind, showing children exactly how to behave with dogs and teaching them how to read the warning signs and avoid situations where accidents can happen. If successful, they will be able to gain a Safe and Sound Certificate. There is also a Safe and Sound Code which the children will be taken through which includes the practical sides of dog ownership and the responsibilities that this involves.

The information provided on the website will be free of charge for teachers to download and use in schools. The interactive game for pupils - in order to learn how to be safe and sound around dogs - will be backed up by information for teachers, to use in various areas of the National Curriculum.

Said Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club, "It is a fact that children’s lives are enriched by living with dogs. They learn responsibility, empathy and through interacting with a pet this can increase their self-esteem. Unfortunately, the majority of incidents happen to children below the age of 15 and in most instances they are caused simply by the child not understanding the basics of canine behaviour and body posture. With education nearly 100% of accidents are preventable and a little forethought can go a long way to reducing any risks. Many people are unaware of simple measures that can be taken to avoid problems altogether and many do not recognise the tell tale signs."

Caroline continued, "Only very rarely does a dog bite without warning and some of the indications can be very subtle, whereas others are more obvious. There are also a number of circumstances which are known to be more likely to cause a dog to bite. They can bite when they are handled, frightened or injured and can also become over protective of food, toys or their owners. The behaviour of the person usually plays a vital part, so by launching this Safe & Sound Award, the Kennel Club is seeking to redress the balance and assist in this problem area, by instilling Safe and Sound education in all children whether they live with a dog or not."