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Teaching responsible pet ownership to the next generation

Sunshine Coast Council is on a mission to teach responsible pet ownership and safe interactions with dogs, starting with the littlest members of our community.

Sunshine Coast Council has created various teaching tools and resources to encourage responsible pet ownership messages for families and educators. Recognising that a significant amount of a child’s learning occurs before they start school, the Council’s dog safety program is tailored to children from pre-school to lower primary. The programs are designed to create a safe and harmonious co-existence between people, pets, and places.


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Teaching responsible pet ownership with a picture book

The latest resource in the program is a children’s picture book called When Sammy Met Sunny.

The book was written by a member of Council’s Animal and Community Education team and illustrated by a Council team member. It tells a heartwarming story of a boy who wants to prove to his parents that he’s responsible enough to own a dog.

During Dog Safety Week (July 3-7), the Sunshine Coast Library Winter Holiday Program will feature the book in scheduled storytime sessions.
The Sunshine Coast Council Education Officers will read When Sammy Met Sunny to the children and with the help of their friendly mascot Sunny, will follow it up with fun activities and take-home goodies.

Dog Safety Week is the perfect time to discuss responsible pet ownership and dog safety with the whole family.

Council is keen to help dog owners understand their responsibilities, including walking on a leash, entering an off-leash park, and sharing space.

It’s also important to teach children how to feel safe around dogs and practice the four steps to greeting a dog.

Bookings for Sunshine Coast Council Dog Safety Week library sessions are essential. To book visit library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and search “For kids and families”.


Mascot Sunny with Sunshine Coast Educators at the Responsible Pet Ownership Program

Mascot Sunny with Sunshine Coast educators at the responsible pet ownership program

Four steps to greeting a dog

  1. Ask your parent or guardian if you could pat the dog
  2. Ask the dog owner, “Can I please pat your dog?”
  3. Let the dog come to you first; keep your hand low and in a fist to sniff
  4. Pat the dog gently on the back or shoulder

Remind your kids that some dogs are nervous and don’t like pats, and never pat a dog that is tied up and alone.


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Dog Safety Week | July 3-7 – Library Sessions

  • Caloundra Library: Tuesday, July 4, 9.30-10.15 am
  • Maroochydore Library: Wednesday, July 5, 9.30-10.15 am
  • Beerwah Library: Thursday, July 6, 9.30-10.15 am
  • Coolum Library: Friday, July 7, 9.30-10.15 am


Over the past 12 months, there has been a 40 per cent decrease in dog attacks on children under 12 years, reported to the Sunshine Coast Council. Council is dedicated to instilling valuable pet lessons at a young age to further reduce the number of dog attacks in our community.

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Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids events, attractions & things to do with kids, schools and education, school holiday guides, health & wellbeing for families, parenting and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.


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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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