NPDC animal control officers go back to school for doggy dos and don’ts lessons

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NPDC animal control officers go back to school for doggy dos and don’ts lessons

NPDC Animal Control Officer Shaun tells Year 6 kids at Woodleigh School that their fingers are like sausages.

“If you stick them in front of a dog that doesn’t know you, they might think those sausages look pretty good to eat, so you need to tuck your fingers into palm of your hand and let the dog get to know you by sniffing the top of your hand,” he explains.

Shaun’s seen what happens when dogs and kids don’t get on and he believes that working with both is the best way to reduce the number of reported dog attacks in the district.

He’s leading the Doggy Dos and Don’ts lessons in schools, giving kids some easy-to-remember rhyming tips, such as “To understand, they sniff your hand.”

“We welcome dogs in our District, but we also have a dog attack on people or other animals reported at least once every two days on average.  Children are especially at risk so we need to teach them how to stay safe and we’re aiming to get our Doggy Dos and Don’ts lessons into every school in the District,” said NPDC Compliance lead Cheryl Gazely.

“We have to strike a balance between helping people feel safe and reasonable dog controls, so we’re always looking to dog owners to do their bit too by keeping their pets under control at all times.

Woodleigh School keeps its own dog, miniature schnauzer Bobbe, who helps kids learn how to interact with dogs and Deputy Principal Diana Kerslake said parents and staff are right behind dog safety lessons.

“It’s important to have someone like Shaun in here and teaching children how to be aware of being safe around dogs,” said Ms Kerslake.

Visit our Dogs and animals section for more on how to care for your dog and go to for dog safety tips for kids and families.


Top Tips for Kids:

  • Check it's sweet - before you meet!

Before going up to a dog ask permission from its owner.

  • To understand - they sniff your hand!

When meeting a dog let it sniff the back of your hand.

  • Chin or chest - that's the best!

After you get permission, stroke only the dog’s chin, chest or shoulders and remember to be gentle.

  • To meet a pup - ask a grown-up!

Mother dogs can be protective and puppies can bite, jump and scratch like older dogs.

  • If a dog has a snack - keep well back!

Stay away from a dog that is eating or has a bone as it might want to protect its food.

  • Keep your face - out of their space!

Never kiss or put your face down close to a dog’s face.

  • Don't run and shout - it freaks us out!

If you shout or run a dog might chase or attack you.

  • A dog's not a toy - don't tease and annoy!

Dogs can tell us to stop only by growling or biting.

  • Quiet and slow - is the way to go!

If you are scared of a dog, move quietly and slowly away from it – don’t run and don’t stare at it.

Fast Facts

  • NPDC Animal Control team is tasked with managing about 12,500 dogs and their owners.
  • The team offers dog owners sound advice on how they should be caring for their dog as well as their obligations of being a dog owner.
  • In the last year, about 300 dogs were impounded.
  • Dogs available for adoption are listed on our Dogs for adoption page after undergoing behavioural and temperament assessments.

It costs $276 to rehome a dog, including the costs for desexing, registration and microchipping.


Image caption: NPDC Animal Control Officer Shaun meets Woodleigh School dog Bobbe with Year 6 kids Andy, 11, Nikau, 10, and Amber, 10.