Be Dog Smart


In 2015 Dogs Trust launched a ground breaking Be Dog Smart dog safety campaign to reduce the number of dog attacks. Whether you are a dog owner or not, it is important that we all know and teach our children, grandchildren, pupils and friends how to behave around dogs. The simplest advice could save a child or dog's life. Being more dog smart is a must.

Be Dog Smart - child and dog

The Be Dog Smart campaign aims to educate the entire community on how to stay safe around dogs.

A recent survey of parents revealed that 34% of children come into contact with a dog every single day and around a third of these dogs belong to their family or a close relative. 40% of busy parents admitted they have never taught their child to behave around dogs, but around a fifth have seen their child pulling a dog's tail, lying or sitting on a dog and kissing a dog's nose.

Hundreds of children learnt how to stay safe around dogs during the second annual Be Dog Smart week this month. The awareness week is just one of a number of initiatives the charity is putting in place to help ensure dogs and children live harmoniously together. Be Dog Smart teaches fundamental dog safety to hundreds of children and parents across the UK.

Be Dog Smart

Hollie Sevenoaks, Head of Education at Dogs Trust says "We believe educating children, parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, guardians, and dog owners about dog safety, is the first step to preventing bite-related incidents."

Many of the things taught to us as children have a lasting impact - from not talking to strangers to our Green Cross Code. Wouldn't it be great if Be Dog Smart was just as widely taught to children.

Dogs Trust explains: "Our hope is that simple advice such as NEVER leave your child alone with any dog, never tease a dog, don’t approach a dog you don’t know and always asking the owner before you approach a dog could prevent more dog attacks."

The initiative also offers special antenatal classes for parents who are expecting, giving advice on how to prepare your dog for your new arrival and how to manage safe interactions once the baby is born.

10 easy tips to stay safe around dogs

Beware of disturbing dogs that are eating or sleeping.
Even if for fun, don't ever tease a dog.

Don't approach a dog with no owner around.
Only stroke a dog when the owner says "Yes, you can."
Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently.

Strange dog approaching? Stand still, look away, cross your arms.
Move calmly and quietly around any dog.
All that hugging and kissing - you might like it but not all dogs do.
Remember all dogs have teeth.
Treat dogs with kindness and respect.

Be Dog Smart infographic

Be Dog Smart

Dogs Trust offer comprehensive Be Dog Smart resources, available to everyone online. If you would like further information about how to Be Dog Smart, about the campaign or if you would like to book a workshop, please visit

Steve Attfield
01 April 2015  |  17:45

Hi, I would just like to say that it would be better to rephrase Get your dog to sniff your hand first and then when you do stroke it, do not stroke over his head. This is a domination move and many strange dogs do not like it.

01 April 2015  |  20:24

about time , i do not let kids touch my hounds as the first thing they do is yank there ears , these people need educating ....

Mr Pooley
30 May 2016  |  10:12

As a dog walker (Rhodesian Ridgeback) I see many people who just assume they can approach my dog with impunity. It would be useful to have a supply of the leaflets to hand out, but I cannot afford to download an print them. Can you supply?

D for Dog
30 May 2016  |  10:38

Hi, this is a Dogs Trust initiative. Please contact them directly, thanks.