Teaching Children to 'Read' Animal Body Language
Just One Way Humane Education Keeps Kids Safe
By teaching kids to read the body language of companion animals, Michigan Humane Society humane educators help keep them safe. Recently, a student who had been in one of our presentations called to tell us that she had been charged and cornered on her porch by two pit bulls. But she knew to “stand like a tree,” and the dogs quickly lost interest and moved away. Safety around animals and reading body language are just two of the important lessons included in our free humane education programs.
Teacher, parent or concerned citizen everyone can help make our communities safer and more humane by requesting Michigan Humane Society humane education school presentations. The Michigan Humane Society has provided free humane education for more than 80 years. Offered throughout metro Detroit, these programs reach more than 15,000 children each year, instilling humane values, and ultimately benefiting both animals and humans. In-classroom programs, as well as presentations and tours at our three adoption and veterinary centers, are available.
Two programs that are often paired together Companion Animal Care and Safety Around Animals are presented in an age-appropriate manner to children ages 5 to 12. Lessons on pet care, from the basics food, water, veterinary care and exercise to what children should do in an emergency, as well as responsibility and respect for others, make this interactive program enjoyable and informative for young students.
Since 60 percent of dog-bite victims are children, teaching safety around animals is of great importance to MHS. Dog bites pose a serious physical and psychological public health concern, but with proper awareness, many dog bites can be prevented. In addition, children who learn how to respect and safely approach dogs and other animals tend to form healthy bonds with them a lesson that will stay with them for a lifetime.
For junior high- and high school-age students, MHS offers an anti-violence program launched in 2006: Breaking the Cycle of Violence, Creating a Cycle of Compassion. Students learn about the root causes of violence and consider healthy ways to deal with feelings of anger and frustration, whether their feelings are geared toward people or animals.
To request any of these effective and engaging programs, please contact Ron Blauet, education director, at 734.721.7300, ext. 404 or Kim Korona, community humane initiatives coordinator, at 248.799.7400, ext. 127. Program information is also listed online at www.michiganhumane.org/humaneEd.