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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Campaign warns against children being alone with dogs

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​Campaign launched to raise awareness of child safety around family dogs

A canine charity has launched a safety campaign after a survey revealed a third of parents in Scotland would let their child approach a dog they don’t know.

The Dogs Trust found that pulling a tail, sitting on a dog, disturbing their sleep and kissing noses are just some of the behaviour parents permit around their canine companions.

Alarmingly the survey also found over half of children thought a growling dog was smiling.

The charity is urging parents to never leave a child alone with any dog as part of its ground breaking Be Dog Smart dog safety campaign launch.

Although 39% of parents in Scotland said their child comes into contact with a dog every day, a third admitted they were not sure or had no idea what signs to look out for when a dog may be feeling uneasy and could be pushed to become aggressive.

With many parents unsure how to read warning signs of dog aggression, the charity said it is as important as ever to educate the public and help prevent future incidents occurring.

It is important that we teach our children how to behave around dogs - Adrian Burder

Dogs Trust chief executive, Adrian Burder, said: “Children can come into contact with dogs every day and being around dogs can have so many wonderful benefits, but the simple fact is that all dogs have teeth and any dog can bite or snap if worried, scared or hurt.

“So, to reduce the number of dog attacks, whether you are a dog owner or not, it is important that we all know and teach our children, grandchildren, pupils and friends how to behave around dogs.

"All children remember their Green Cross Code and we want Be Dog Smart to be just as well known."

As part of the Be Dog Smart campaign, Dogs Trust’s team of 22 education officers will go into schools, libraries and community centres across the UK delivering Be Dog Smart workshops.

Key advice will be given to anyone who has responsibility for children – parents, teachers, grandparents, childminders, foster carers, sports coaches and the children themselves.

Dogs Trust Glasgow education officer Alison MacLachlan added: “Working with children has been a real eye–opener, they are inquisitive and want to play but they must understand that a dog is not a toy – they don’t always want to play.

“Simply understanding when a dog says “enough” can be the difference between a bite or not.

“By working with adults and children alike we can help teach everyone how to live safely with man’s best friend.”