Some say they are a man’s best friend, so most people wouldn’t think twice about learning how to behave around their beloved pet dog, or even someone else’s.
Yet over a thousand children were taken to hospital in the UK with dog bites in the past year, most of whom were between 0-9 years old.
Meanwhile research by animal welfare charity Dogs Trust shows nearly 25 per cent of parents in Wales would allow their child to approach a dog they don’t know, but the majority do not know all the signs that a dog may be agitated.
Now Dogs Trust are launching a campaign to remind parents and children in Wales that safety precautions should always be taken around animals.
They have developed a simple set of rules which they want all children to be taught to help them interact with dogs in a safe way.
Dogs Trust employees will be visiting schools, libraries and community centres delivering Be Dog Smart workshops to educate children and adults alike about safety around animals.
Dogs Trust Chief Executive Adrian Burder said: “Children can come into contact with dogs every day and being around dogs can have so many wonderful benefits, but the simple fact is that all dogs have teeth and any dog can bite or snap if worried, scared or hurt.
“So, to reduce the number of dog attacks, whether you are a dog owner or not, it is important that we all know and teach our children, grandchildren, pupils and friends how to behave around dogs.
“All children remember their Green Cross Code and we want Be Dog Smart to be just as well known.”
The Dogs Trust’s Top 10 Tips for children around dogs are:
Beware of disturbing dogs that are eating or sleeping
Even if for fun, don’t ever tease a dog
Don’t approach a dog with no owner around
Only stroke a dog when the owner says ‘Yes, you can’
Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently
Strange dog approaching? Stand still, look away, cross your arms (Do the X-Factor!)
Move calmly and quietly around any dog
All that hugging and kissing – you might like it, dogs don’t!
Remember all dogs have teeth
Treat dogs with respect and they will respect you!