For the last 3 months, students in grades 3-6 at Yang Pyeong Elementary School took part in our “Discovering Petiquette” workshop. Petiquette is a portmanteau of ‘pet’ and ‘etiquette,’ and refers to the correct ways to interact with and manage yours and others’ pets.
We have received feedback from parents that they have noticed changes in their children’s attitudes towards animals.
Why We Need Petiquette Education
Although the South Korean pet or companion animal population exceeds 10 million, there are few opportunities to learn petiquette. Thus, accidents (such as dogs bites of which 30% of the victims are youths), escapes, pet stealing (stolen dogs and cats often end up as victims in the dog and cat meat trade,) abandonment (on average, 260 animals are abandoned every day,) and animal abuse increase each year. The need for Petiquette education is great.
1) Petiquette education
For the first 40 minutes, the students learned how to treat Bucky and Down* with respect. They learned the 5 basic rules of petiquette, and when they applauded, they did so with closed fists so as not to startle him.
5 Rules of Petiquette
Petiquette is essentially understanding animals’ habits and refraining from unnecessary contact.
- Do not disturb an animal when it is eating, sleeping, or rearing its young.
- Do not shout or scream when you see an animal.
- Do not approach an unfamiliar animal without being invited.
- Do not hold a leash too tightly nor let it go when exercising your dog.
- Poo bags are mandatory! Clean up after your dog!
Following these simple rules would prevent many accidents with pets.
2) Bucky’s Rescue Story
The students learned the story of Bucky’s rescue. Having gotten to know Bucky a little, the students were upset to hear about how he had suffered abuse and understood on a more personal level that all living beings deserve pain-free lives.
3) Petiquette Practice
It is important to put the petiquette lessons learned into practice.
In consideration of Bucky, we limited the number of participants to 3. These participants had once been bitten by a dog, but through this interaction, they were able to overcome that trauma to get close to an animal again and understand that not all dogs will bite them.
After our workshop, parents gave very positive feedback. They, along with the teachers and principal, remarked how petiquette is not only a way to learn how to respectfully treat animals, but also a way to build a child’s character.
The children now treat pets with regard.
From learning to respect animals, the students are having better relationships with their classmates.
We hope our Discovering Petiquette workshop has helped the children to safely connect and interact with animals, and treat all living beings with respect.
* Down has since been adopted abroad.