Children and dogs: risks and effective dog bite prevention

Meints, Kerstin (2017) Children and dogs: risks and effective dog bite prevention. In: Dog bites: a multidisciplinary perspective. 5M, Sheffield, pp. 390-403. ISBN 9781910455616

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Item Type:Book Section
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This chapter focuses on child – dog interactions and misinterpretations of situations and behaviours and on how we can teach children and their parents about safe behaviour with dogs.
First, we will briefly describe benefits and risks of human-dog interactions. Second, we will offer a new explanation as to why children under the age of 8 may get bitten in the face more often than older children. We will then focus on typical situations in the home with the pet dog and introduce the Blue Dog Bite prevention tool, its purpose and how it works. We will explain how it was first assessed for its efficacy as well as reflect on others’ assessments of the tool. We will also show that the Blue Dog tool changes children’s and parents’ behaviour in real life, having assessed the Blue Dog bite prevention programme for its effectiveness and longitudinal learning success. Next, we will move from creating awareness of typical risk situations in the home to awareness of dog’s distress signalling. We will describe how humans misinterpret still images of dogs’ facial expressions with the majority of 4-, 5-, 6- and even 7-year-old children misinterpreting dogs’ facial expressions, often misunderstanding dogs’ aggressive expression as “happy”. Finally, we will demonstrate using videos clips how children and adults show a considerable lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of dogs’ facial expressions and body language. We also show how we can improve knowledge in this area by teaching children and their parents to understand dog signalling correctly. Given the results of these studies, we can educate children and parents and other relevant parties and stakeholders as well as inform dog bite prevention programmes to help prevent dog bite incidents and therefore contribute to children’s safety and dogs’ welfare alike.

Keywords:children, dog, dog bite, dog bite prevention, dog body language, dog signalling
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C812 Educational Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:28889
Deposited On:27 Sep 2017 07:40

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