Dogs, Cats & Kids
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“I give my highest recommendation to this program.”
Julian Q. Waters, Principal
Garrison Mill Elementary School, Marietta, GA

Dogs, Cats & Kids has been tested in two studies. One was conducted in the graduate program at Johns Hopkins University.* This study presented the video to elementary school classes in two Maryland counties. Results showed the program “highly effective in making children aware of dog behavior and body language, and how to prevent or avoid threatening situations.” Pre and post-testing showed dramatic increases in safety awareness.

A much larger pilot program was conducted in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee elementary schools by “Bear’s World,”an Atlanta based 501(c)(3) organization teaching safe behavior around animals. The Dogs, Cats & Kids video was the centerpiece of the program.

Pre-testing, post-testing and teacher evaluations measured program effectiveness. Post-testing was conducted one week following the presentation to evaluate how well children retained the safety information. Data were tabulated for all classes that returned both the pre-tests and post-tests for comparison. These represented 2,310 students (1,280 boys and 1,030 girls) of approximately 11,490 students who participated in the program during the 2002-2003 school year. Audiences ranged from K to 5, but most viewers were in grades 2 to 4.


* Spiegel IB. A pilot study to evaluate an elementary school-based dog bite prevention program.
Anthroz÷os 2000; 13(3): 164-173.



Test Results

The following questions were asked on pre- and post-tests:

1. What would you do if a stray dog ran up to you?
A. Run
B. Try to pet it
C. Shout at it
D. Stand still like a tree

2. What would you do if you saw a dog behind a fence?
A. Try to pet it
B. Stay away (leave)
C. Talk to it
D. Let it sniff my hand

3. What is the right way to pet a dog?
A. On its head
B. On its stomach
C. On its back
D. On its tail

4. What would you do if a dog showed its teeth and made angry sounds?
A. Try to pet it
B. Shout at it
C. Stay away
D. Let it sniff my hand

5. What would you do if a dog were scared and trembling?
A. Try to pet it
B. Try to hug it
C. Try to feed it
D. Stay away

6. What would you do if you saw a dog on a leash?
A. Run up to it
B. Ask the owner for permission to pet it
C. Pat it on the head
D. Let it sniff my hand.

Correct answers before and after the program:
(Question # – correct pre-test answers (%) / correct post-test answers (%))

#1 – 502 (21.7%) / 2,284(98.9%)
#2 – 469 (20.3%) / 2,258 (97.7%)
#3 – 423 (18.3%)/ 2,298 (99.4%)
#4 – 426 (18.4%) / 2,300 (99.6%)
#5 – 488 (21.1%) / 2,288 (99.0%)
#6 – 563 (24.4%) / 2,264 (98.0%)

Children were asked if they were afraid of dogs or cats.
Results before and after the program: (before / after)

Afraid of dogs – 814 (35%) / 38 (1.6%) / 95% decrease
Afraid of cats – 653 (28%) / 64 (2.7%) / 90% decrease


Teacher Evaluations

206 teachers, grades K through 5, rated the program on a five point scale, from “Excellent” to “Poor”:

Question 1:
How do you rate the printed materials? Are they age-appropriate and interesting for your students?
Excellent - 180
Very good - 14
Good - 12
Fair - 0
Poor - 0

Question 2:
How do you rate the video? Is it age-appropriate, understandable and interesting for your students?
Excellent - 180
Very good - 14
Good - 12
Fair - 0
Poor - 0

Question 3:
How do you rate the live presentation? Is it age-appropriate, easy to understand, and a useful teaching tool?
Excellent - 206
Very good - 0
Good - 0
Fair - 0
Poor - 0

Question 4:
How do you rate the program overall? Were your students interested, did they understand the content and did they learn the safety concepts?
Excellent - 180
Very good - 14
Good - 12
Fair - 0
Poor - 0

(The “good” and “very good” ratings were from 5th grade teachers who thought some material more age-appropriate for younger children. A new video, Dogs, Cats & BIG Kids, is now available for older children grades 4 - 8 . See "How To Order.")

“That was the coolest movie I ever saw in school.”
Joel, 4th grade
(from post-screening quesionnaire)

© 2011 Donald Manelli & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.