Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust Asks Public to ‘Be Dog Smart’ After 134% Increase in Adoption Applications

With many people working from home over the last year, the demand for dogs has been rapidly increasing, therefore dog safety education is more important now than ever. Today we have launched our annual dog safety campaign ‘Be Dog Smart Week’ which focuses on teaching safe interactions between dogs and people. It will be aimed primarily at children but will hopefully make adults think too!

In 2020, the number of people looking to adopt a dog from us increased by an unprecedented 134% compared to the previous year. This shows the huge demand for dogs and subsequent rise in dog ownership in Ireland over the last 12 months.

Research carried out by us revealed that children aged 14 and under, accounted for an alarming 39% of hospitalisations due to dog bites*, starkly highlighting the urgent need for education around dog safety in Ireland, particularly for this age group.

To teach children the important messages about staying safe around dogs, in a fun and relatable way, we are launching a series of animations, narrated by ‘David Attenbarker’, over the next three weeks, where our furry narrator watches humans interacting and comments on their behaviour.

Fiona Gregan, Education and Community Manager, Dogs Trust Ireland explains: “Throughout the pandemic, so many people have gotten dogs and many of them may be new to dog ownership.  We know that hospitalisations due to dog bites are more likely to be young children so, finding a way to educate both children and adults on the key messages around dog safety is vital.”

TV Presenter and Dogs Trust Ireland Ambassador, Andrea Hayes, continues: “It’s natural for people, especially children to want to engage with their dogs and it can be hard to accept that your dog might just not be in the mood to play. These animations help people to put themselves in their dog’s paws for a moment and think about why they may not be so keen on attention all of the time. It’s really made me think about how I interact with my dog Millie and it’s an invaluable tool for explaining to children why dogs need their own space too, just like people do!”

To highlight the importance of safe interactions around dogs, we are encouraging the whole family to take part in our live zoom workshops or in person workshops, (following COVID guidelines), which are available to book all year round HERE