The right approach: Class shows kids dog safety

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Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014 3:26 am

MALONE — School-age children are invited to the Wead Library next weekend to learn the safe way to approach and pet dogs.

Theresa LePage will present an American Kennel Club dog-safety program at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at 64 Elm St. in Malone. Those attending can use the side entrance on Park Street where the program will be held downstairs in the Children’s Room.

The event, which is free and open to children of all ages, shows how to safely approach dogs and to avoid or get away from stray or potentially dangerous animals.

‘LOVE PETTING HER’

LePage will have some four-legged help when she brings her son’s dog, Willow, to help her demonstrate the safe way to interact with a dog.

She said the black Labrador retriever’s patience and gentle demeanor has helped many children practice what they learned before they go home.

“They just love petting her,” LePage said of Willow, who is just getting started, “and she’s so good with them.

“I’ve given this class to 600 kids from Potsdam to Plattsburgh,” she said, holding the program at schools, community groups such as the Boys Scouts or Girl Scouts and child care centers.

FAMILIAR, UNFAMILIAR

Two short video presentations are used to demonstrate the proper way to approach a pet that, accompanied by their owner as well as a dog they are familiar with, might be tied outdoors or running free.

There are also lessons on how the child is to behave if they come close to a dog that is unfamiliar to them or near a potentially dangerous dog, LePage said.

The AKC program also includes an activity book for each child to take home that re-enforces the important safety lessons learned in the videos.

‘LEARNED VERY WELL’

LePage said the kids learn fast and share the knowledge.

She said at the end of one of the AKC presentations at Holy Family School, Principal Anne Marie Wiseman walked in, reached out to pet the demonstration dog on the head when the children stopped her.

“They said, ‘No! No! No! You’re supposed to pet him under the chin!’” LePage said with a laugh. “They learned very well.”

The library staff is pleased to sponsor the program as the weather improves and families spend more time outside.

“Kids are going to be out walking with their parents, and they will be encountering dogs so they need to know how to interact with dogs and do it safely,” said Library Director Susan Wool.

“We’re always glad to bring programs in with animals because kids really love anything to do with animals,” she said.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

TO LEARN MORE

For more information about hosting an American Kennel Club dog-safety class, call Theresa LePage at 483-5156.

To learn more about other AKC public-education programs, visit www.akc.org/public_education.