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Be Dog Smart

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The past few weeks have been extremely exciting for the Education Team in Dogs Trust, and this week we are proud to launch our new campaign, Be Dog Smart. Our aim with this campaign is to increase safety around dogs, and comes off the back of some startling results we discovered in a recent survey we conducted.

  • 40% of Irish parents would leave a child under 11 or younger alone with a dog
  • A quarter of Irish adults have let a child approach a dog they did not know
  • One in 3 parents have seen their child kiss a dog on the nose
  • Whilst 82% of Irish parents say they teach their child how to behave around a dog, over 96% don’t know there are 21+ signs that a dog may be feeling uncomfortable or stressed
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Last year our Education Team carried out over 1800 workshops teaching just over 56,000 children about responsible dog ownership; this year as part of our new Be Dog Smartcampaign we plan to increase this figure by 50%. Our Education and Community Officers will be delivering free Be Dog Smart Workshops, designed to keep children safe both at home and in the community in a variety of locations such as, libraries, community centres, antenatal classes and Montessori schools across the country. The interactive workshops will be aimed at anyone who has responsibility for children such as; parents, teachers, grandparents, child-minders, foster carers as well as the children themselves.

Our Education manager Fiona, explains;

"We wanted to keep the Be Dog Smartcampaign message simple:  Paws; Think; Stay Safe. The campaign uses a Be Dog Smart Safety Code which mirrors a traffic light system to teach adults and children how to stay safe with dogs. We hope that our guidance will become as much a part of a child’s education as road safety awareness." 

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The Dogs Trust ‘Be Dog Smart’ top tips:-


  • Disturb a dog while they’re eating or drinking
  • Disturb a dog while they’re in their beds
  • Approach a dog who isn’t with their owner
  • Tease a dog, even if you think it’s only fun.



  • Move calmly and quietly around dogs
  • If you’re uncomfortable around a dog, do the "x factor".
  • Remember, you can never know how a dog is feeling.



  • Ask the owner for permission before you pet their dog
  • Let the dog sniff your safehandbefore you rub them
  • Walk your dog with an adult
  • Treat dogs with respect
  • Ensure that a child is supervised when a dog is present.


We have also introduced a new member to our education team, the amazing Captain Canine!

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Captain Canine will help us convey our message of dog safety to hundreds of parents and children over the next few months.


This campaign is the first time our education team are targeting adults, as well as children, and if you would like to book a FREE workshop, then email us at [email protected]


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Our amazing education team pictured left to right; Dawn and Odie who cover South West Munster, Paul and Magic cover the Midlands, Heather and Ted cover the South East. Audrey and Lucy cover Dublin/East, Fiona, Ollie and Jake, who also cover Dublin/East, and Aoife, who covers Connacht.


We can't wait to deliver our free workshops all across Ireland, and relay our message, for everyone to Be Dog Smart!