Teaching kids new tricks about dogs

Teaching kids new tricks about dogs

They say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but what about teaching children why dogs act the way they do?

A new smartphone app has been designed to help children and adults alike learn about dog behaviours, so that man's best friend can be better understood.

Pedigree and dog behaviour experts have teamed up with Auckland Council's Animal Management team to launch 'A Dog's Story' -- an interactive adventure for children and parents to learn dog safety together.

Marketing Director at Mars Petcare, which owns Pedigree in New Zealand, Oliver Downs said they wanted to make the world a better place -- one where dogs and people could co-exist without incident. They thought this app would be a brilliant educational tool to help achieve this.

He said the app appeals to children because it looks bright and interesting and is mentally stimulating too. It is also built to improve memory retention.

"It is based around eight core lessons providing a fundamental understanding of the most important and commonly unknown guidelines around dog safety, such as how to greet a dog safely, how to pat them, how to behave when they are eating and what to do if one runs towards you.

"If the child chooses a wrong answer such as patting the dog incorrectly, the characters will tell them why it's not right and the dog will behave accordingly. When correct answers are chosen, the child is told why it's the right thing to do," Mr Downs said.

Every year around 9000 dog bites occur in New Zealand, with a third involving children and 75 percent occurring in the home. Community Development and Safety Committee Chair, Councillor Cathy Casey said the aim is to help keep dogs a positive part of Aucklanders' lives.

"Council has a duty to keep Aucklanders safe from animal-related nuisance and harm and we have a full programme of school visits to teach children how to keep themselves safe when meeting new dogs," she says.

 'A Dog's Story' is now available to download free from App Store and Google Play.