Animal chairty, Dogs Trust has conducted a new survey that showed over a third (37 percent) of UK parents think that their children are fearful of dogs.
With 33 percent of 2-14 year olds coming into contact with a dog every single day, this could be problematic for families when they are out and about this summer, especially as 25 percent of parents say their child’s fear of dogs affects their daily life.
More children are scared of dogs than deadly snakes (20 percent) and lions and tigers (7 percent).
To help children and parents, Dogs Trust is launching its ‘Managing fear of dogs’ project as part of its hugely successful Be Dog Smart education programme, which teaches around 200,000 kids and parents every year to stay safe around dogs.
Dogs Trust’s 24 education and community officers, who deliver around 7,000 workshops in schools across the UK every year, have noticed a worrying increase in the number of children who are fearful of dogs, and have found that many kids are unaware of how to act safely around them.
The most common reaction when a child sees a dog is to avoid a public area, run away, hide or scream or shriek. Dogs Trust has worked with a child psychologist to provide some helpful tips for parents to help them manage their child’s fear when out and about.
On seeing a dog, 53 percent of parents say their children will avoid the area where they saw the dog. 29 percent said their children would physically run away and hide and 17 percen said they were likely to shriek or scream.
Maria Gill, senior education Officer explains why this type of reaction could confuse a dog: “Children may not always know how to react when they see a dog, particularly if they are unsure or frightened. Sometimes they can run away or scream which is a normal reaction for a child who is scared but this may be confusing for a dog.
“As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity we have a responsibility to educate parents, children and dog owners on behalf of the dog, particularly during the summer months when dogs and children are more likely to be out and about enjoying the sunshine together in public parks and beaches.”
For more information visit www.bedogsmart.org.uk