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KIDS and DOGS

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About KIDS and DOGS 

Who is the  KIDS and DOGS program for? If you care for a child, or a dog, or both, then this program is for you! You could be a parent, a baby-sitter, a teacher, a dog-walker, or a friend. You might have a dog who enjoys socialising with children, or a dog who is shy and needs more space. You might have a child who want to make friends with everything on four legs, or is fearful when dogs are around. Whoever you are, and whatever the personality of your small companion(s), KIDS and DOGS teaches the best approach for safe and friendly interactions. 

 

KIDS and DOGS was founded to help educate children and their caregivers about the best ways to ensure that kids and dogs grow up confidently and happily together. As a behaviour veterinarian and a parent, I have seen many situations involving children and dogs, that have the potential to go very badly, or very well. These situations occur in day-to-day life - out in the park, when visiting friends or relatives, or in the occasionally chaotic world of the family home. KIDS and DOGS is designed to teach you how to manage these situations effectively. 

 

Dog bites are a highly emotive issue, often sensationalised in the press. Many bites occur as a direct result of miscommunication between two very different species. Teaching people to read dog body language, and what to do about that information, is the first step in building trust in a relationship. 

Kids and dogs can be great friends. Growing up with a dog helps children learn about caring for others, being a responsible pet owner, and has been shown to increase empathy. Teaching kids how to behave appropriately around dogs is essential to ensure that both kids and dogs have a safe and happy relationship. 

About the presenter

I am a qualified veterinarian, with a Masters Degree in Wildlife Conservation Medicine,

and Membership (by examination) of the Veterinary Behaviour Chapter of the ANZCVS.

I also hold a current WWC certificate. Although W.C. Fields remarked that one should

"Never work with animals or children", I enjoy doing both! 

EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN

All children's educational visits come with supplementary material for children and adults to read. However, the most benefit comes from whole family education. Although children can learn the basics about how to understand dogs and behave appropriately around them, it is not until they are over 12 years old that they can consistently put their learning into practice. It is recommended that, where possible, parents/caregivers attend with younger children, and that a separate seminar for adults is also held. 
 

The workshops and presentations meet the NSW school curriculum objectives of: 

 

O1. Developing students’ skills in relation to responsible animal care and management.

It is essential that students learn that responsible animal care and management involves knowledge of the needs of animals (physical and behavioural). 

O2. Developing students’ skills in observing animals to enhance their understanding of the behavioural characteristics of species.

To train students to observe, a variety of sources may be used. These sources may include photos and videos (secondary sources) 

O4. Assisting students to develop empathy with and respect for animals.

Given that our relationship with animals is an important aspect of the human condition, schools should not avoid helping students to build shared knowledge and understanding about them. Thus students should be given opportunities in the school context to learn about the diversity and appropriateness of the range of relationships between animals and humans.

Students from a great diversity of backgrounds and experiences attend schools throughout the state. While schools must respect the diversity of attitudes that this brings they must also ensure that students develop empathy with and respect for animals.

(http://nswschoolanimals.com/compliance/educational-justification/)

 

Please note that no live dogs (or other pets) are used in these educational presentations. 

KIDS and DOGS for PRESCHOOLS and PLAYGROUPS

Workshop includes a Powerpoint presentation with photos, discussion, and role play:

- Dogs have emotions, too! Learning to read dog body language

- How to be a good friend to dogs Appropriate behaviour around dogs in the home

- Saying hello to dogs How to greet an unfamiliar dog

- Be a Tree - How to behave around unfamiliar, boisterous, or threatening dogs

 

The workshop runs for approximately 30 minutes, after which time children have the

opportunity to practice greeting one of two pretend dogs. 

Maximum group size: 20 children, with accompanying adults

Cost: $10 per child* 

KIDS and DOGS for Primary School Groups

Workshop includes a Powerpoint presentation with photos, discussion, and role play:

- Dogs have emotions, too! Learning to read dog body language

- How to be a good friend to dogs Appropriate behaviour around dogs in the home

- Saying hello to dogs How to greet an unfamiliar dog

- Be a Tree - How to behave around unfamiliar, boisterous, or threatening dogs

 

The workshop runs for approximately 30 minutes, after which time children have the

opportunity to practice greeting one of two pretend dogs. 

Maximum group size: 30 children

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR EDUCATION for High School GROUPS

Workshops include photos, discussion, videos. Due to the wide range of subjects offered in the high school curriculum, presentations can be tailored to suit objectives specified by the class. These may include topics such as:

- Responsible pet ownership (caring for a pet at home, responsibilities in the community).

- Understanding dog body language, including identifying subtle early signs of emotional arousal (discomfort, anxiety,       aggression). How to respond appropriately to dogs displaying these signs.

- Behaving appropriately around dogs in the home.

- When it is appropriate to greet an unfamiliar dog, and the best way to approach this. 

- Etiquette and responsibilities when walking dogs.

- How to behave around unfamiliar, boisterous, or threatening dogs.

- Basics of behavioural science - operant conditioning training quadrants and their application in animal training.

- 'Shaping' in practice - using positive reinforcement and shaping techniques to 'teach' other students. As students take turns being instructor and pupil, they develop understanding of the basics of learning theory, as well as increased empathy for all learners - animal and human. As this is a practical workshop, it can be run for small groups only. 

- Use of force free methods in animal husbandry (dogs, cats, captive wild species). 

Presentations generally run for approximately 45 minutes, after which there is 15 minutes allocated for questions and discussion, however times can be tailored to suit individual schools.

Maximum group size: 60 students

GUIDELINES

Venue requirements include:

- a darkened room (with projector and AV setup) for

presentations, particularly the dog body language component.

If this is not available, please contact me and alternative solutions

can be explored. 

- adequate seating for all children and adults

Handouts will be provided to the school prior to the date of

presentation so that copies can be made for all students. A list of

supportive material such as books, games, apps and websites will be

made available to teaching staff.

 

Costs for school groups- 

Per session (max. 1 x session) = $310*
Half school day (max. 2 sessions) = $450*
Whole school day (max. 3 sessions) = $660*
Multiple sessions at a single school rate - (max. 5 days - average 3 sessions per day) $2970*

*Travel fees may be charged, dependent on distance from Wamberal, NSW 

As mentioned above, presentations about Kids and Dogs are best held in conjunction with a seminar for adults.

EDUCATION FOR ADULTS

 
KIDS and DOGS SEMINARS FOR PARENTS and caregivers, DOG OWNERS AND THEIR FRIENDS

This KIDS and DOGS seminar covers:

 

Understanding your dog's body language (and why this is important)

- Know when your dog is enjoying an interaction

- Know when your dog is showing signs of being uncomfortable or uncertain

- Know the signs your dog desperately wants an interaction to be over - before it has to bite

Dog bite statistics in perspective

Increasing happiness of kids and dogs

- Setting up appropriate house rules 

- Tips for managing supervision of both kids and dogs

 

When it is appropriate to greet an unfamiliar dog, and the

best way to approach this. 

 

Be a Tree - teaching children to avoid trouble

Information about further resources to help teach children how to be

"Good Friends With Dogs" (Games, DVDs, Apps, websites). 

This seminar runs for approximately 90 minutes. 

KIDS and DOGS for BABIES - MOTHER'S GROUPS, PARENT's GROUPS, and PRENATAL INFORMATION

This KIDS and DOGS seminar covers:

 

Understanding your dog's body language (and why this is important)

- Know when your dog is enjoying an interaction

- Know when your dog is showing signs of being uncomfortable or uncertain

- Know the signs your dog desperately wants an interaction to be over - before it has to bite

Dog bite statistics in perspective

 

Preparing your dog (and your home) for the arrival of a baby

- Establishing routines

- Essential training - tricks your dog needs to know

- Introducing your baby and dog

 

Increasing happiness of kids and dogs

- Setting up appropriate house rules 

- Tips for managing supervision of both babies and dogs

 

Because those babies grow so fast:

When it is appropriate to greet a new dog, and how to do this. 

Be a Tree - teaching children to avoid trouble

Information about further resources to help teach children how to be Good Friends with dogs

(games, DVDs, Apps, books, websites). 

This seminar runs for approximately 90 minutes. 

GUIDELINES for ADULT SEMINARS

Venue requirements include:

- a darkened room (with projector and AV setup) for presentations, particularly the dog body language component.

If this is not available, please contact me and alternative solutions can be explored. 

- adequate seating for all adults. 

Handouts will be provided to the organiser prior to the event, so that sufficient copies can be made for each attendee. A list of supportive material such as books, games, apps and websites will be included.

Cost: $45 per adult (minimum of 10 adults)

Dr Jen