PUPILS at a Bury primary school had a paw-fect day when they were treated to a special visit from Manchester Dogs Trust.

Whitefield Community Primary School was visited by Mo the dog and his trainer Anna Baatz, for a workshop to help children understand dogs and become responsible dog owners.

The workshops teach children how to keep their furry friends happy and healthy, as well as supporting a range of curriculum subjects including maths, literacy and science.

Whitefield Community Primary School Headteacher, Martin Van Hecke, said “The children thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and particularly enjoyed working with Mo the dog.

"The sessions also helped support pupil's social, emotional and mental health. "Responsible dog ownership teaches the children the importance of caring for others, respect as well as allowing the children the opportunity to interact with an animal.

"Providing children with a context to their learning is hugely beneficial to supporting children’s reading, writing and mathematics skills.

"It was fantastic to see not only how excited the children were to have the dog in school but also how responsible and respectful they were when working with an animal.”

The workshops are also designed to teach children how to be safe around dogs and avoid injuring themselves or the animals.

NHS data, published last year, revealed that over the past five years 8,000 under-16s have been hospitalised after dog bites, equivalent to four each day.

Shockingly 70 per cent of these bites occurred on under-9s, and the North West has been labelled a hotspot for such incidents.

Ms Baatz said: “Whilst being around dogs can have so many wonderful benefits for young people, the simple fact is that any dog can bite or snap if worried, scared or hurt. Many of these bites are preventable and at Dogs Trust we believe educating children, as well as other family members, about dog safety, is the first step to preventing such incidents.

“In the workshops we teach the basics such as when not to approach a dog, how you can safely introduce yourself to a dog you don’t know and for children more nervous of dogs, how to feel more confident when around them.

“We hope that by helping young people understand how to behave around dogs we can help everyone stay safe and enjoy all the joy a canine companion can bring.”

Ms Baatz and Dogs Trust are encouraging other Bury Primary Schools to sign up for the free workshops.

For more information visit https://www.learnwithdogstrust.org.uk/