Dogs Trust

Learn with Dogs Trust

Be Dog Smart!

We will be hosting an "Introduction to Dog Body Language" talk online on Tuesday, September 26th at 7pm. You can claim a ticket via the link below

Workshop Time Link
Introduction to Dog Body Language 19:00



In 2016, The Dogs Trust Education team launched "Be Dog Smart", a campaign which aims to help keep people safe around dogs. Initially we mainly focused on children, and while we did host adult workshops, our aim was to teach adults about keeping children safe around dogs.

We were delighted to see that between 2017 and 2020 the number of children under 14 being hospitalised with dog bites trended downwards. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for adults; in 2020, 64% of people hospitalised for dog bites were over twenty years of age*.

On top of that, a survey we recently conducted found that only 41% of respondents were able to spot a dog expressing apprehensive body language.*

These findings highlight that dog safety is for everyone; both children and adults, and dog owners and non-dog owners.

Staying Safe Around Dogs

The past few years have been a very strange time for us all. As dog ownership spiked during the pandemic, there are more dogs around than ever. While we (of course) think this is great, we also feel it is more important than ever to be aware of the value of safe interaction between dogs and our children. We enlisted our furry pal David Attenbarker, to help us spread our message of dog safety.



Simple rules that the whole family can follow such as allowing our dogs to eat their meals and treats in peace, and making sure that they have a nice quiet place to rest undisturbed will go a long way to promoting a safe and happy environment for all. Above all, active supervision by an adult when children and dogs are sharing the same space is vital.

To hone these messages in, we have developed some fantastic free resources for everyone in the family to enjoy that you can download for free at the bottom of this page.

We also host Be Dog Smart workshops for children aged 7-13, which are free, and can be accessed live via zoom or in person-with strict Covid safety measures in place. You can read about these measures on our In-Person Workshops page. If you would like to book a Be Dog Smart Workshop, get in touch with your local Education and Community Officer, and we can find a date to suit you.


Our main message to people looking for safety advice, remains "Never leave a child unattended with a dog".

But if you are looking for more advice, why not check out our Be Dog Smart video below. 

Oh and one more thing, if you want your child to take part in some dog safety activities, make sure to show them our Kid's Space pages, which have plenty of activities for kids of all ages and abilities, all of which centre around our main themes of dog safety, and responsible dog ownership

Stay Safe dog lovers.





*These figures were provided by the Healthcare Pricing Office, HSE via (Hospital In-Patient Enquiry). HIPE does not include patients attending the Emergency Department (ED), it only includes those attending ED that are subsequently admitted to hospital.

Dogs Trust carried out an online survey of 1,140 people asking if they would pet a dog who was lying on her side with her tail tucked and paw lifted stiffly, exposing her stomach area.

46% said they would pet the dog. 41% said they would not and 12% were not sure.

When presented with three images of dogs looking uncomfortable with human interactions, only 41% spotted all three.