Dog bite prevention: effect of a short educational intervention on preschool children

Lakestani, Nelly, Donaldson, Morag, Verga, Marina and Waran, natalie (2007) Dog bite prevention: effect of a short educational intervention on preschool children. In: International Conference on Human-Animal Interactions 2007, 5-8th October 2007, Tokyo.

[img] PDF
IAHAIO_2007.pdf - Other
Restricted to Repository staff only

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


The aim of the present experiment was to investigate if preschool children are able to learn how to interpret the behaviours of dogs, with the purpose of helping them avoid dog bites. This is of particular importance since children below 5 years old are more at risk of being bitten by dogs.

The participants were 70 nursery school children (mean age: 4.4 years). All the children were tested on their ability to interpret the behaviour of dogs before and after an educational intervention. Each child was shown 14 short video clips of dogs performing normal behaviours (e.g. greeting,fear) and asked how the dog was feeling (i.e. happy, sad, scared, angry) and to explain what led them to think that the dog was feeling that way (e.g. body actions, behaviours). The children assigned to the training group were given a short (10 min) interactive educational session on how to interpret the behaviour of dogs by using videos clips composed of 2 friendly dogs, 2 fearful dogs and 2 aggressive defensive dogs. Children in the control group were given an educational session on wild animals.

Children who were trained gave significantly more correct answers than children in the control group after the educational session (U=427.00; p<0.05). Moreover the trained children had learned to attend to the appropriate dog features in order to decide the state of the dog. They reported attending to significantly more appropriate features after the educational session (n=30, t=7.7, p<0.001). These results suggest that children as young as 4 years of age can be taught how to correctly interpret the behaviour of dogs. Prevention programmes should be directed to preschool children in order to educate them while they are most at risk of being bitten.

Keywords:human-animal interaction, dog bite prevention, injury prevention, children
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D990 Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
ID Code:5624
Deposited On:22 May 2012 13:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page