Learn to be dog smart

Dog smartDog smart

Georgina Golding is a Dogs Trust educational officer. Ahead of a family workshop at Wanstead Library this month, Georgina explains why educating children about dogs is important.

Dogs Trust is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK and was founded in 1891. Our mission is to bring about the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. Last year, we found great new homes for over 15,000 dogs!

The Dogs Trust Education Team has been delivering workshops in schools and in the community since 2003. Covering most of the UK, we are focused on educating children about responsible dog ownership and safety.

By helping young people learn about the responsibilities and commitment involved in dog ownership, we believe we can reduce the number of dogs that are mistreated or abandoned. Every year, we visit hundreds of schools and work with thousands of young people, encouraging their personal development and supporting the curriculum.

Our ever-growing education programme is aimed at children of all ages, from Key Stage One to Key Stage Four, in the hope of promoting responsible dog ownership or encouraging people to 'Be Dog Smart'. Our successful campaign is helping children and families understand more about how to behave around dogs to keep themselves safe. Whether children own dogs or not, it is important they learn how to meet dogs in the correct way, learn what to do if they are scared and develop a respect and empathy for any dogs they meet.

My job as an education officer is to deliver our workshops in a fun, interactive way. I visit schools, organisations and libraries all over east London to educate children on all things dog related. From science to art and maths to PSHE, there is a workshop suitable for all ages.

My half-term sessions are always great fun and I really enjoy them. The session in Wanstead Library this month will involve stories, quizzes and crafts, all with a doggy educational twist! Using dogs as the theme, our workshops develop communication, cooperation, build confidence and self-esteem, whilst encouraging responsibility and respect.

Dogs Trust believe that by educating the next generation of dog owners, we can help to reduce the number of stray and unwanted dogs and keep young people safe around dogs. Our education programme is not linked to fundraising; we simply want to help young people learn more about caring for canine companions and encourage them to be responsible members of their community.

The Dogs Trust family learning workshop will take place at Wanstead Library on 30 May from 3pm to 5pm (free; booking required) – call 020 8708 7400. For more information on the Dogs Trust, or to book a free educational workshop, visit learnwithdogstrust.org.uk

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