Posted: Sat 25th Jun 2016

Robotic Dog Helping To Teach Children How To Stay Safe /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jun 25th, 2016

A new recruit has joined the North Wales and Cheshire Alliance Dog Section – in the form of a robotic dog. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

‘Celt’, the animatronic Golden Retriever is being used to teach young children on how to stay safe and how to behave around dogs. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

‘Celt’ recently visited his first school on Anglesey with handler PC Gordon Topps from the Dog Section. He was used to show pupils at Ysgol Niwbwrch they should not approach dogs when they are sleeping or eating, that they should ask dog owners if they can stroke their pets and that dogs who appear to be smiling may actually be displaying aggression. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The pupils were shown images of dogs and asked how they would respond in the situations depicted before being introduced to ‘Celt.’ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Celt responds positively to being stroked and even sniffs the hands of the children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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The idea came to the attention of PC Topps following discussions with colleagues from Merseyside Police who run a similar initiative. He said: “All too often we hear that a child has been attacked by a dog, so we hope that this proactive approach will see a reduction in the number of children who become the victims of dog bites nationwide. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This initiative aims to educate children from a young age about the right ways to act around animals in order to keep themselves safe. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We use very simple messages, such as asking the children how would they feel if someone interrupted them while they were eating their dinner and to imagine how a dog would feel if their mealtime was interrupted. We talk to them about the importance of being calm and respectful toward all dogs – not just family pets, but dogs that they may see whilst out in the park.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The feedback so far has been really positive and we look forward to roll it out to other schools in the near future.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Sian Topps, Foundation Phase Teacher at Ysgol Niwbwrch said: “It was great to see the pupils interact with Celt. Their safety is of paramount importance to us so we welcome North Wales Police’ efforts to help educate them on the importance of staying safe around dogs. It was also lovely for them to be given an input by a community representative and it was a great and different way for them to learn. Many of the pupils have dogs as family pets so this was an ideal opportunity for them to be reminded on how to stay safe not only around their own pets but also unfamiliar dogs.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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Last November North Wales Police launched a scheme to promote responsible dog ownership. The LEAD (Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs) provides advice to the public on dog issues, improves dog safety and dog welfare. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As well as encouraging responsible dog ownership and giving advice, there are times when it is necessary for police to intervene, initiate control measures and ultimately prosecute offenders. Police intervention will take place when dogs are used by owners to commit crime, are linked with anti-social behaviour and are prohibited type/breeds. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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