Today Aoife from the Dog’s Trust Ireland came to visit the school. She explained to the pupils the work of the animal charity.
Aoife explained that many people get puppies at Christmas, but it is such a stressful and exciting time, when we are all busy visiting or having visitors in, that we don’t have time to train a new puppy. The abandoned puppy gets up to mischief, pulling at things, biting things, eating the wrong things etc. Doggy walks get sidelined for other more exciting moments and many families realise by the beginning of January that getting that puppy was a big mistake. Aoife explained that one of the heartbreaking and busiest times for the Dogs Trust is January when they get many, many unwanted dogs. She recommended getting a dog at another time of the year like the summer, when you have time to walk it, train it and to get to know each other.
Aoife explained to the pupils that we should be very careful around other people’s dogs as most of the time we can’t read their facial expressions on first meeting them. She also emphasis how important it is that we don’t go near dogs who are eating as they are very territorial regarding their food. Dogs should not be disturbed when they are sleeping. Aoife explained that dogs regularly sleep 13-14 hours a day, with many sleeping many more hours than that. She told the pupils not to pull an item out of the dog’s mouth, trade/swap it for something that pleases the dog.
Aoife showed the pupils how to respond if a stray dog comes running up the pupils, to stand their ground, slowly fold their hands into the “X-Factor” symbol, look at the sky so that you don’t have eye contact with the dog and then ever so slowly move away. Don’t run, even though your instincts say “run!”, don’t shout or yell.
Aoife showed the pupils how to put your hand out to a dog safely. Put your fist into your palm and fold your four fingers over your thumb, then put your fist out to the dog to sniff it.
Aoife explained how to approach a dog using W.A.L.T.
W =walk slowly over to the dog’s owner
A =ask the owner if you can pet the dog
L = let the dog smell you
T= touch the dog gently under the chin