This 24-page fun activity booklet comes from the joint efforts of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in Alabama & the State Farm General Insurance Company. All of the activities were created by Etta Agan and Joanna Burnette and Illustrated by Lisa Makarchuk in 1997. Copies can be ordered through State Farm. We have reproduced the activities below. For teachers of humane education, please click here for a complete booklet.

Each year, many thousands of kids in the United States and Canada are bitten or attacked by dogs. Sometimes these dogs are strangers. But, more often, these dogs are family pets or the pets of close relatives or friends.

This activity book can help in showing you kids how to act responsibly and safely around dogs. It has lots of helpful suggestions on ways to prevent avoidable dog bite injuries. However, let's all remember something very important. Accidents will and do happen. So, it is not the responsibility of the creators of this book should any injuries take place.


  1. Always ask the owner's permission before petting a dog
  2. Remember: Not every dog that wags its tail is friendly.
  3. Always approach dogs slowly and carefully.
  4. When meeting a new dog, let it come to you and smell you first.
  5. Know where the dogs in your neighborhood live.
  6. Stay away from stray dogs.
  7. If a dog approaches you, remain calm. Don't scream. Stand still.
  8. Always protect your face, neck, and arms.
  9. If you're attacked, give the dog a book or backpack to chew on.
  10. If a dog knocks you on the ground, curl up in a ball.
  11. If you're attacked, cover your head and neck. Protect your face.
  1. Don't make loud noises around dogs.
  2. Don't bother a dog while it is sleeping or eating.
  3. Never tease a dog.
  4. Never reach through a fence to pet a dog.
  5. Never put your hand between two dogs.
  6. Never put your face close to a dog.
  7. Never try to help a hurt dog; get an adult to help.
  8. Never enter a yard with a dog in it without permission.
  9. Never leave a baby alone with a dog.
  10. Don't bother a mother dog when she's caring for her puppies.


By Sam Hendrix, Auburn University News, February 7, 1997

AUBURN -- Etta Agan was bitten by dogs as a teenager and during summer jobs at a veterinary clinic. Joanna Burnette remembers the terror of being chased, at age 7, by a friend's collie she believed was about to bite her. Because of those memories, these second-year students in Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine plan to educate youngsters on how to avoid being bitten by dogs.

They have researched the topic, entered national competition with an education program they developed and hope to visit elementary schools in the future to teach dog safety. "As future veterinarians, we love dogs and understand the importance of educating the public on how to avoid situations that can lead to bites," said Agan, a native of Fredericksburg, Va.

Agan said that various publications report between one and three million Americans being bitten by dogs each year, with more than $1 billion in liability claims filed as a result of those bites. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in its Feb. 1, 1997 issue, claimed that dog bites are the No. 1 public health disease of children, with fully half of America's kids being bitten at least once before age 12.

"One study reported 157 dog bite fatalities between 1979-88, with 70 percent of the victims being children under age 10," she said. "We want to help reduce the number of incidents, especially in children, and we have developed a method we think will work."

The two women entered their research paper this winter in competition sponsored by the AU College's chapter of Phi Zeta honor society. They will enter a revised and expanded version later this year in the Healthy People 2000 project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Burnette, from Kenansville, Fla., said they may also enter their work in national veterinary student competition this summer. In addition to their paper, Agan and Burnette are drafting pre- and post-tests to administer when they visit elementary schools. They are also preparing brochures suitable for distribution in schools and at veterinary clinics. The brochures detail in formation on dog bite injuries; ideas on choosing the ideal family pet; and tips on avoiding dog bites.

But the real hit may be a coloring/activity book they are creating. "We felt one way of getting information across to youngsters would be to provide them something on their level," Burnette said. "This booklet will include pictures to color, drawings to complete, and helping a dog find his way through a maze to a bon e. Every page will include a lesson about dogs, such as "Never wake a sleeping dog" or "Never bother a dog while it's eating."

Agan says she is hopeful that parents will talk with their children about the lessons in the coloring book and tell them about real-life situations involving dogs in their neighborhoods. The students are currently seeking funding to print the colorin g book en mass. They also hope to provide small packs of crayons with each book as they visit schools later this year.

"It may surprise some people, but our research indicated that most kids who are victims are bitten by dogs owned by their family or friends, not by strays or dogs they don't know," Burnette said.

"Knowing how dogs act and how to avoid antagonizing a dog can save you a lot of pain and heartache."

One of their professors, Ken Nusbaum, an associate professor of pathobiology, said that through this project, Agan and Burnette are demonstrating a sometimes overlooked role of the veterinarian. "The project Joanna and Etta are doing is a formalization of something we as veterinarians do all the time," he said. "Both the profession and the press can point to this and say: These are veterinarians engaged in an important public heath service to the community."

Veterinary students should become activists in their communities, Nusbaum says. "Community involvement is not only an excellent practice builder but an important contribution of veterinary expertise to the community that supports us," he said.

Here are some tips on avoiding dog bites:
1 Know which types of dogs are most likely to be vicious and where such dogs live in your neighborhood;

2 Report vicious dogs or strays to animal control personnel;

3 Avoid running, jumping, fast movements or loud noises if approached by a dog as such actions can excite the dog;

4 If approached by a dog, calmly back away and watch the dog, but don't stare;

5 Climb onto a car or other elevated surface;

6 Give a threatening dog something to bite, such as a coat, hat, purse or shoe;

7 In a firm, low voice, say words such as "Go," "No," "Go Home," "Sit," "Down," and "Halt."

8 If attacked with no where to escape, fall face down in a ball and cover head and neck with arms.