Examples and scope of impact

Impact has occurred on a local scale via distribution of BD to nurseries, Sure Start Centres and schools in Lincolnshire and Schools in Lincoln, Lincolnshire and Gainsborough; Social workers and dog trainers at Pet Respect in and around Hull working with underprivileged families, young offenders, Dock House Homeless project, Domestic Violence Project and Humberside Police to foster understanding and reduce dog bites in children.

At national level the Blue Dog is used by Schools in the London Borough of Havering and Dogs for Disabled in partnership with The National Autistic Society and UoL’s Department of Biological Sciences in their lottery-funded project “Parent Autism Workshop and Support”, (PAWS) and their puppy schools.

Due to the evidence that the “Test Yourself” module taught children successfully about safe behaviour with dogs, BD could be launched internationally at the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association)/FECAVA/BSAVA World Congress in Prague in October, 2006. Impact of the research continues to date, as evidenced by continued distribution of the BD DVD and booklets – around 80.000 DVDs and booklets sold from October 2006 – today, circulation growing. The BD booklet has been translated into 17 languages and distributed by veterinary associations to veterinary practices in at least 19 countries world-wide.

More specifically, in Germany, schools and nurseries are using the BD and booklet as part of health and safety education, e.g. the Munich municipality, in cooperation with the German Veterinary Society, has used the Blue Dog DVD as prevention programme in all nurseries city-wide since 2009. In Belgium changed policy has led to schools using the BD programme and “Teacher’s Toolbox” for health and safety education. BD has been invited to be part of the “Injury Prevention House” – a standing public exhibitiong and become part of teacher handbooksh.

In Flanders, the scheme has received additional funding and an application to integrate BD into the National Child Safety Action Plani has been made. Work on a website, funded by the Government of Vlaams Brabant is in progress. A ‘train the trainers’ programme was introduced in Flanders to increase the pool of professionals available to give talks and spread awareness.

Tiny De Keuster is scientific advisor to the Dutch and the Flemish Government on dog bite prevention. Via Ray Butcher, Veterinary Advisor and Board Member of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), who represents WSPA on the World Health Organisation (WHO), a working group dedicated to reduce rabies in Asia has also been implemented BD for prevention usage.

Public awareness has been raised by wide-spread international and national media coverage of the research findings. For example, in 2010 our series of dog bite prevention studies was chosen as one of the 3 key features to represent the Safety World Conference to the media and public to highlight the necessity of dog bite prevention. As a result we attracted high national and international media coveragej raising awareness and adding knowledge, e.g. that children misinterpret dog’s show of teeth as a smile, or that children display intrusive leaning-in behaviour as well as of children learning about safe behaviour with dogs from the BD DVD tools. Findings have been incorporated into the multi-lingual BD website to advise children and parents how best to help prevent dog bite incidence.

The research team have given regular media interviews, internationally, nationally and locally (e.g. Guardian, BBC News, Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Lancaster Guardian, Lincoln and Liverpool Echo, Südeutsche Zeitung; Partner Hund), radio (e.g. Radio 1, Five Live, BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Wales, Radio Teeside, Bay FM, Radio Lincolnshire, Lincs FM, Merseyside radio), as well as international, national and local television (e.g. Sky News, BBC Look North, TV Prague). There has also been Europe-wide and overseas coverage.