How to prevent dog bite injuries

Meints, K. & De Keuster, T. How to prevent dog bite injuries? The Blue Dog.

The team carried out an empirical assessment of children's learning success using the interactive dog bite prevention CD "The Blue Dog".

In a cross-sectional experimental design, ninety-six 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-year-old children saw 8 different child-dog-scenes with or without verbal feedback. In the initial exposure phase children chose an outcome after 4 seconds. The clip then continued for another 6 seconds. In the training phase scenes were shown again, but now children saw all outcomes, unsafe and safe. In the testing phase different cartoon actors and dogs were used for the same scenes, interspersed with eight distracter scenes. Children again chose the outcome.
Children were re-tested after two weeks. Half the children received additional parental input before the re-test. A repeated-measures ANOVA was carried out with age, verbal feedback and parental support as independent variables and the chosen outcomes in the test phases as dependent variable.

Results show significant increases in correct responses after using the CD in all children. Children retained this knowledge after two weeks. As expected, older children exhibit more correct responses than younger children. Children who received additional parental input performed better than others, with children under 6 years profiting most from parental input. Assessment results indicate that children learn successfully from the "Test yourself" module on the CD.

Conclusion:  the Blue Dog CD helps to educate children to behave safely with dogs and helps reduce dog bite incidents in children.

Link to paper

Research funded by FECAVA, ESVCE, Dogs Trust, Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy Study Group, The Wylie Veterinary Center, Groep Geneeskunde Gezelschapsdieren.  Funding: £ 20.137.

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