More than a third of children in the UK are scared of dogs, a survey has revealed.
Dogs Trust has launched a “Managing Fear of Dogs” campaign, to provide advice on how children can feel comfortable and act safely around the popular pet.
Out of 2,000 parents surveyed, 37% said their child was fearful of dogs and 25% said their child’s fear affects their daily life.
“Children may not always know how to react when they see a dog, particularly if they are unsure or frightened” said Maria Gill, senior education officer at Dogs Trust.
The survey also revealed more children are scared of dogs than snakes (20%) and tigers (7%).
After seeing a dog, 53% of parents say their children will avoid the area where they saw the dog and 29% said their children would physically run away and hide.
One in seven parents admitted they were also afraid of dogs and 68% of whom said their fear stemmed from past experience, but 15% said they had no idea why they were afraid.
Dogs Trust’s 24 education and community officers, who deliver around 7,000 workshops in schools across the UK every year, said that they have noticed a worrying increase in the number of children who are fearful of dogs, and have found many children are unaware of how to act safely around them.
They are now organising workshops in their offices to help children manage their fears.
Advice to tell children while out and about:
1. If you see a dog and are frightened, walk past calmly;
2. Never run away as this may encourage the dog to chase after you;
3. Try not to scream as this may alarm or excite the dogs;
4. Try to avoid areas where dogs are off lead