UAB testing software for children’s dog safety

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – UAB psychologist are testing a new software that will teach children to interact safely with dogs.

The study will give children and parents The Blue Dog software program. The program will present a series of games to children that will instruct them how to avoid behaviors that can aggravate a dog.

UAB researchers will then observe the children's behaviors and evaluate the program's effectiveness.

Each year as many as 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. Nearly one in five suffer injuries severe enough to require medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among children, the rate of dog-bite related injuries is highest for those ages 5-9.

One hundred children ages 3-6 from the Birmingham area are needed for the trial study at UAB. All children in the study must have at least one dog in the home. All of the dogs used in the UAB study are pet-therapy dogs registered with The Delta Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health through service and therapy animals.

To volunteer for the study, contact Schwebel at 205-934-8745.
The study also is being conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada.