According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and half of these are children.
Due to this alarming statistic, it is vital that people, especially children, are educated about dog bite prevention. One of Minnesota School of Business-Elk River’s vet tech classes recognized this and focused a recent applied learning project on this topic.
Rose Hegerle, veterinary technology instructor, contacted Twin Lakes Elementary and scheduled a day for the class to speak with the first grade class. She brought her students and Charlie, a nine-year-old Lab mix, to the school to speak to the kids about ways in which they can prevent dog bites.
They presented to three separate groups and were able to see about 150 students from noon to about 1:30 p.m. that day. The students reported that the groups were excited that they were there and had several of their own stories to share.
A few of the kids ran right up to Charlie, which Rebecca Anderson, veterinary technology student, said, “…was a good example of why we were there.”
The students covered several topics with the groups, including hugging dogs, and they reminded the kids that it’s okay to hug their own dogs but not okay to hug dogs they don’t know. They provided handouts for the kids to take home with them so their parents would have the information as well.
Other ideas that were discussed were the importance of a fenced-in yard, researching dog breeds before purchasing a dog and having an adult present at all times. The handout covered tips such as not bothering dogs while they are eating, pulling on tails and ears, using a loud voice, etc. The concepts on the handout came from Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS from The Art and Science of Animal Behavior.
The students explained that one boy shared that he had been attacked by a dog. He told his story during their session and said he learned from the experience but wished that he had had the knowledge that the students shared with them so that wouldn’t have happened.
The experience was extremely beneficial, according to the students. Anderson explained that she felt they “had a positive influence” on the kids that day. The students look forward to similar projects in the future.
For more information about dog bite prevention and other resources from Dr. Sophia Yin, click here.