Dog Bite Prevention Role Play
Goal: Students will learn how to stay safe in common situations involving dogs.
Grade Levels: 3rd –7th grade
Time: 15 minutes
Audience Size: 10–15 students
- Students will describe two feelings that may cause a dog to act aggressively.
- Students will practice what to do when a dog is acting aggressively.
- Chalkboard or wall/tape
- Cleared area to perform role play
Dogs are prone to aggression when they are feeling one of two emotions: fear and protectiveness.
Fear: People sometimes confuse fear with submissiveness. Some people even think that a scared dog is a safe dog. Nothing is further from the truth. A dog who is afraid is unpredictable.
Protectiveness: Dogs of all sizes and breeds can express protectiveness. A dog can become protective of virtually anything that is valuable to them, such as food, toys, territory, or even a person. Dogs who are allowed to roam a neighborhood unattended lose their understanding of territorial boundaries. To a human, the dog seems to be acting aggressively for no reason. To the dog, he is protecting a resource—his “territory.”
- Write the following scenarios on the board:
Scenario 1: “You and your friend are walking home from the bus stop when a dog you have never seen steps into your path, barking and growling. There is no other route to take home. What should you do?”What To Look For: The students should “be a tree” – standing still and quietly. The students should then slowly begin to back away until the dog loses interest. One of the students should then use a cell phone to call a parent or guardian for a ride home. In this situation, it is best not to run, scream, approach, or swing any objects near the dog. Once in a safe place, an adult should call the local animal control with a description of the dog, and the street and location where the dog was seen.Scenario 2: “You are visiting your friend who just adopted a dog. The dog seems as if he wants to be friends, but is a little shy. How should you go about being friends with the dog?”What To Look For: The student should be sure to move slowly and speak in a calm voice. If the dog is small, the student should sit or kneel down, offering a treat or loosely closed hand to sniff. After the dog has approached and eaten the treat or had an opportunity to sniff the student, the student should pet the dog on the back, speaking calmly.
- Divide the class into two groups.
- Each group will use role play to demonstrate the safest way to handle each scenario.
Talk about what happened in the skits, and how some of the correct choices could have prevented a dog bite. Allow the students to talk about why it is important to resist the temptation to run towards a new dog or run away from a dog showing aggression.