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Local board supporting dog safety training for children

Published: 21 March 2019
Left to Right: Jet and Chase from Kids Safe With Dogs visiting Meadowbank School.

Ōrākei Local Board is supporting a community programme that teaches children and young people how to interact safely with dogs.

The Kids Safe With Dogs programme started in 2014 regularly visiting schools across the country with trained instructors and their canine companions.

Founder Joanna Clough says the programme aims to reduce dog bites by teaching children and young people about dog body language.

“If children are able to recognise and understand dog body language, this will go a long way towards reducing dog bites.

“We also teach them about animal sentience and encourage them to think about how they would feel if they were the dog.

“We have three golden rules which we give to students; ask the owner’s permission before patting a dog; if permission is given, pat the side or back of the dog first and if you feel nervous about a particular dog, stand like a tree until the dog moves away,” she said.

The long-term vision of the organisation is for canine body language courses run out of community centres across New Zealand.

Ōrākei Local Board Community Development Lead David Wong says good communication between children and dogs is essential.

“Any dog can bite in certain circumstances. Education is the key to avoiding preventable bites. It’s vital that we have programmes like Kids Safe with Dogs running in our schools and community,” he said.

Kids Safe With Dogs are currently looking for more instructors across New Zealand. To find out more and to apply, visit their website.