In many remote Indigenous communities dogs are free to roam along roads and footpaths, and public spaces including playing fields, schools and shops.
These can be unusual and worrying sights for people new to living and working in a remote community.
AMRRIC's video Staying safe around dogs explains how these free roaming animals are not strays but rather an important part of their owners' lives.
Just as non-Indigenous people value dogs for companionship and protection, so do Indigenous people but there are also additional reasons including hunting skills and spiritual beliefs.
The video explores the significance of dogs through a range of interviews with elders, locals and visitors in Ti Tree, Tennant Creek, Milingimbi and the dreaming home of dogs, Ali Curung.
It then moves on to give practical advice on assessing and minimising the risk of dog bites.
"Dogs have evolved to live with people over thousands of years and so they've learned to understand some of our behaviour," behaviour expert, Eileen Fletcher says. "We can also learn about dog body language to recognise what they're trying to tell us."
Eileen shows the viewer different kinds of dog behaviour that indicate whether a bite is likely to happen. She goes on to demonstrate ways to avoid or defuse potentially dangerous situations including the protective actions to take should a dog try to attack.
AMRRIC’s aim is to improve the health of animals in remote Indigenous communities which in turns improves the health of the people too, hence the strategies aim to avoid harm to dogs and people by giving practical risk management advice.
The Staying Safe Around Dogs series comes in two parts:
Part 1 – Working with Dogs is designed for people going to work in communities.
Part 2 – Living with Dogs targets people residing in communities
Thank you to the Northern Territory Government for funding the Staying Safe Around Dogs DVD.
Staying Safe Around Dogs was produced for AMRRIC by David Darcy - www.mongrel.com.au