Objectives: Young children are at particular risk for dog bite injuries. This study examined parents' supervision of and reactions to their children in the vicinity of an unfamiliar dog.
Methods: A pre/post intervention/control group randomized design assessed whether exposure to The Blue Dog, a dog bite prevention and education program, positively impacted parent behaviors.
Results: No group differences in pre or post-intervention measures emerged, indicating that The Blue Dog did not evoke improvements in parents' behaviors. Generally, parents showed risky reactions and encouraged children to interact with the dog, even though they knew very little about the dog's safety or disposition. Supervision measures (proximity, watching) remained unchanged (watching) or more lax (proximity) across sessions.
Conclusions: The results highlight the importance of targeting parent behavior, not just child behavior, in programs that aim to reduce risk of childhood dog bites. The Blue Dog did not effectively change parent behavior.
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