Keeping Our Children and Our Pets Safe
by Lisa Alexander | May 17th, 2021 | 5:19 pm
We’re offering a free virtual class to teach children how to be safe around dogs, as part of our Humane Education program. In just 20-30 minutes, kids will learn the basics of canine behavior and body language, as well as how to safely pet and snuggle with furry friends. The family-friendly educational session will be led by Napa Humane’s Program Director, Lisa Alexander, and broadcast via Facebook Live at 1pm on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Napa Humane has been providing similar in-person classes to Napa County elementary school classrooms for many years; this virtual event is the slightly condensed, pandemic edition. Napa County students may recognize Sampson, Napa Humane’s stuffed dog from the classroom presentations, as he assists Lisa in demonstrating the proper way to pet a dog. While this class is intended for elementary school-aged children, parents and older family members are all welcome to participate. Napa Humane staff will be monitoring the chat/comment function to ensure everyone can get their dog bite questions answered.
“Nearly all childhood dog bites are preventable,” says Lisa Alexander, Program Director of Napa Humane. “Teaching kids how to interact safely with dogs dramatically reduces their risk of getting bitten, and the dog’s risk of being branded ‘a biter.’ It’s one of those situations where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
More than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with more than 800,000 people needing medical care for their injuries. Sadly, children make up half of all dog bite victims, and are also the most likely to be seriously injured. The second most commonly bitten group of people are senior citizens. Dogs with a history of biting are often pushed out of their homes, and onto the unwanted list, with many winding up euthanized.
In non-pandemic times, Napa Humane’s Humane Education Program provides free classroom presentations to elementary school kids, using multimedia teaching tools to explain animal body language, behavior, and situations to avoid, while still keeping kids engaged and entertained. The program also teaches kids about responsible pet care, so they can raise healthy, well-socialized pets and grow up to be caring and compassionate citizens of the world.
Napa Humane encourages everyone in our community to learn how to reduce the incidence of biting. To sign up for the virtual class, visit facebook.com/events/1436693116710804/ or Napa Humane’s profile page on Facebook: facebook.com/NapaHumane.
For those who can not attend the May 19th class, Napa Humane offers the following 10 tips for reducing the chance of a dog bite:
- Leave dogs alone when they are eating, sleeping, or nursing puppies.
- Don’t poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Most children are bitten during everyday interactions with known pets.
- Be wary approaching an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting someone else’s dog.
- Make sure your pet is socialized early so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and mentally stimulated.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Regular veterinary care is essential for health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
- Teach children to treat dogs with respect, and not to engage in rough or aggressive play.
For more information about Napa Humane’s Humane Education program, including a list of recommended children’s books, please visit our website, or call (707) 255.8118 x 202.