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prevention, child behaviour and dog behaviour were contacted. According to the feedback, 16 risk scenes and corresponding prevention messages were selected to include in the programme.
Even though there was a fair consensus on prevention messages from the respondents, it became clear that for the majority of risk situations, the message to the child would be to encourage “no” interaction, or “leave your dog alone”. Advice was sought from experts in the field of communications and child psychology in how far it would be possible to make a no-interaction message acceptable and pleasant for children. The concept of the children’s TV programme Sesame Street was used as a model. In this, educational messages are wrapped in an entertaining context thus transforming the prevention- only screenplay into an edutainment tool.
In this way, the Blue Dog programme and printed parent guide focused on teaching parents and children to recognize potential risk situations that trigger dog bites in everyday household situations (De Keuster et al., 2005). These include resource guarding (such as food, bones and toys) or interactions (such as petting, hugging or kissing).
Scientific assessment of the programme showed that children of the target age group learnt from the Blue Dog scenes, and that parental input enhanced the performance of the child and improved the ability to retain the acquired knowledge of making safe choices in risk situations (Meints & De Keuster, 2009).
Future and outlook
The aim of The Blue Dog story has been to educate parents and children about the safest way to interact with their dog in a household setting, and according to research), children in the target age group learn from the Blue Dog Programme (Meints & De Keuster 2009). The aim of Blue Dog is also to create parents awareness in parents about age specific child / dog behaviours that are considered to lead to potential risk situations, and so promote preventive strategies.
The Blue dog should be considered as a first step on the way, in using a One Health approach to create a prevention tool, to be incorporated as part of a bigger prevention program in veterinary practice, human health care practices, schools and canine rescue centres.
In order to provide safe relationships between parents, children and their pet dog, veterinarians might need to cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and get in touch with those disciplines ‘barking out loud’ (Bykowsky et
al 2017). Our profession also might benefit of getting along with social sciences and those disciplines
who investigate the human-dog relationship and the underlying dimensions that comprise the construct of dog companionship (Knight et al 2015).
An Urban Experience
The Blue dog has now reached a new stage: as CD’s are no longer used and tablets have outnumbered laptops and desktops worldwide; and have shown to be useful in patient education our team aims to jump for the next leap: the Blue Dog App, making sure that young families will be able to find support in safer relationships between children and dogs, as it already is aimed in other domestic injury prevention fields (Chow et al 2016)
Towards the future, our team hopes that integrated research projects between the veterinary, medical, psychological, communication and social sciences can be developed as a result of these efforts and produce real impact on One Health-related injury prevention challenges.
References
Bykowski M., Shakir S., Naran S., Smith D., Goldstein J., Grunwaldt L., Saladino R., Losee J.Pediatric Dog Bite Prevention: Are We Barking Up the Wrong Tree or Just Not Barking Loud Enough? Pediatr Emerg Care. 2017 Apr 11. doi: 10.1097/ PEC.0000000000001132. [Epub ahead of print]
Chapman S, Cornwall J, Righetti J & Sung L: Preventing Dog Bites in Children (2000): Randomised Controlled Trial of an Educational Intervention. British Medical Journal 2000, 320: 1512-1513
De Keuster T, Moons C & De Cock I (2005) Dog bite prevention - How a Blue dog can help. European Journal of Companion Animal Practice 2005, 15; 2: 137-139
Chow C., Wong W., Leung W., Tang M., Chan K., Or C., Li T., Ho F., Lo D. Effectiveness of a Technology-Based Injury Prevention Program for Enhancing Mothers’ Knowledge of Child Safety: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Res Protoc. 2016 Oct 31;5(4):e205.
Christian C., Trapp G., Villanueva K., Zubrick S.,Koekemoer R., Giles-Corti B.Dog walking is associated with more outdoor play and independent mobility for children. Preventive Medicine 67 (2014) 259–263
GfK 2016 ( Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung) or Society for Consumer Research) published in Petfood Industry.com,2016 http://www.gfk.com/
Knight Lapinski M., Funk J., Moccia L. Recommendations for the role of social science research in One Health. Social Science & Medicine 129 (2015) 51-60
Lakestani N., Donaldson M. & Waran N. Interpretation of Dog Behavior by Children and Young Adults.
Anthrozoös 2015, 27, 2014 - Issue 1
Meints K. & De Keuster T. Brief report: Don’t kiss a sleeping dog: the first assessment of “the blue dog” bite prevention program. J Pediatr Psychol 2009 Nov-Dec ;34(10):1084-90. Epub 2009 Jul 3.
Purewal R., Christley R., Kordas K., Joinson C., Meints K., Gee N.,8, Westgarth C. Companion Animals and Child/Adolescent Development: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Feb 27;14(3). pii: E234. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14030234.
Walsh F. Human-animal bonds I: the relational significance of companion animals. Fam Process. 2009 Dec;48(4):462-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2009.01296.x.
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