“Today the children had a visit from the Responsible Pet Services. Margaret and her Australian Shepherd Tarsha spent the morning in the Kindergarten Room. Before introducing the children to Tarsha, Margaret discussed when it is and is not safe to pat a dog. She explained this using pictures and then used a song to provide an alternative method to retaining the information. This was very effective with the children happily singing and dancing to the songs.
Once the children ‘graduated’ in Pet Safety, they took it in turns to use these new skills to safely approach Tarsha. Before the children approached Tarsha, they had to practice asking the owner “Can I please pat your dog?”. Tarsha gave out many kisses to the children as each child practiced allowing her to sniff their hand to ‘say hello’. The children were then able to pat along her back.
This was an extremely positive experience for the children. Even those children who were initially hesitant, felt confident enough to say hello to Tarsha.
The children have learned the skills to be able to recognise when it is appropriate to pat a dog and how to do so safely. Each child was able to appropriately ask the owner, greet the dog and gently pat her on her back.
They also learned when it is not appropriate to pat a dog including when a dog has puppies, a dog is sleeping, a dog is eating, a dog is injured, or finally when a dog is tied up AND without an owner present.
This incursion has given the children the tools to act responsibly around dogs. This will enable them in the future as these wonderful, loving pets are part of our local community.”