Last updated: 21 Apr, 2022
Published on: 19 Apr, 2022
The City of Charles Sturt is Putting Pet Education First
The fantastic Adelaide council City of Charles Sturt takes an animal behaviour education and safety first lens to educate pet owners in their community. They’ve looked in-depth into underlying issues in the community through their five-year animal management plan and worked at creating solutions to address these problems at the core. They do this by using positive encouragement and education for pet owners to ensure they have a happy and healthy pet population.
We sat down to chat with Program Officer Dani Scuteri about the innovative programs the council has established and how they’re helping people and pets in the area.
What are some of the initiatives the council has introduced to support responsible pet ownership, and how have they helped people and pets?
The City of Charles Sturt employs qualified force-free dog trainers as their Beach Education Officers who actively undertake patrols. They communicate and educate the community on why dogs behave a certain way on and off-lead. Further to this, they encourage folks to create positive experiences, whether in an on or off-lead area, so that everyone can enjoy the space safely.
The staff at the Council have heard so many wonderful stories of folks having amazing conversations with the beach patrol ranger, where they’ve offered constructive advice about their dog’s behaviour.
The City of Charles Sturt’s awesome Body Language Quiz has helped many pet owners (not just locals!) communicate better with their dogs and avoid dangerous situations. It’s the first of its kind in the state and uses the awesome US behaviouralist and artist Lili Chin’s imagery.
The pet behaviour quiz has also been life-changing for many dog owners! One example is a dog owner who thought their pet was yawning a lot because they were sleepy but learnt that it could be a sign of stress. They learned this from the quiz and sought the help they needed for their dog’s anxiety from their vet and later a qualified behaviouralist.
You may be used to taking your doggo to a dog park - but the City of Charles Sturt has gone one step further and created an Australia first - a sniff park! This awesome park provides dogs with so much mental enrichment, as sniffing helps them process and learn more about the world around them.
The council also worked with Lili Chin to create eye-catching banners (pictured above) for dog parks using fun cartoons to educate people about dog behaviour and how to keep their pet safe and having fun.
The city’s ‘Barking Booklet’ is another great resource that educates folks about the different types of barking and what can lead to this behaviour.
The Barking Booklet has also been especially helpful for dog owners. The City has been able to direct people who have reached out for help in this area to different research and vets or force-free trainers in the area. There’s some great information about how to stop ‘boredom barking’ through enrichment which has been invaluable for many people.
Because of these initiatives, there’s been a reduction in nuisance behaviour (like barking and dogs being off-lead in areas they shouldn’t be).
The community has been appreciative of these initiatives and has seen a real difference in their dogs! We love how accessible and positive these education programs are and that they’re teaching folks more about their furry friends and how to keep them healthy and happy.
Want to find a force-free trainer in your area? Click here.
Image credits: City of Charles Sturt Facebook page & website.