A Chorley animal hospital is teaching children how to keep calm around canines after an increase in dog attacks.
Hillcrest Animal Hospital is taking their ‘Safe and Sound’ talks to all primary schools, Brownie and Scout groups in the area.
They are designed to teach children how to read basic canine body language so children can understand when a dog wants to be left along, and specific things not to do with them, like hug them around the neck or take their food.
Veterinary nurse Emma Jackson, who is running the talks, said: “These talks will be hugely important in reducing the number of children bitten by dogs.
“Research has shown that children aged five to nine account for the majority of dog bite victims, and three quarters of these incidents happen with a family dog or a dog known to the child.
“Children don’t understand how to read body language and will presume that a cute looking dog just wants to play, which isn’t always the case. “I think it is vital to teach these children to ‘speak dog’ so they can determine when a dog isn’t happy.”
The talks will also teach the children what to do if they are scared or attacked by a dog.
Emma said: “We teach the children to stand like a tree if a dog jumps on them or they feel scared.
“A child’s natural reaction is to run and scream which will only cause the dog to chase and it’s then more likely to bite.
“We show the children that the best thing to do is stand still and quiet, keep their arms in to their bodies, drop whatever they are holding and keep their chin tucked in.
“By acting this way they are of less interest to the dog and there’s a higher chance the dog will get bored and leave them alone.”
Hillcrest Animal Hospital will also be holding a charity dog show in Astley Park on Sunday, July 22. The event will include novelty classes, agility and games, and all dogs are welcome to take part.
Anyone interested in the ‘Safe and Sound’ talks, or taking part in puppy training classes, can contact the hospital on 01257 262448.