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Responsible dog ownership - secondary assembly

Aims and objectives

To raise awareness in students of what responsible dog ownership entails and what some of the common mistakes can be.

You will need


  • Eight ‘actors’

Activity sheets

  • Contestant images (these can either be enlarged and stuck on card, or projected above the heads of the actors)
  • Script for 'Pets Factor'
  • What you can do

Introduction (to be read aloud)

  • If you own or are responsible for a dog, even on a temporary basis, you are required by law to care for him or her properly.
  • The RSPCA, along with other organisations and charities, is concerned that many dogs are not getting the care or the time needed and that people don’t understand what a commitment it is to own a dog. Many people suffer themselves from the consequences of taking on dogs without thinking or finding out how much of an impact owning a dog will have on their lives.
  • Basically, the people who don’t look after their dogs properly don’t have the ‘Pets Factor’.

The activity

  • This takes the form of a play, following the theme of the ‘Pets Factor’ (see activity sheets Script for ‘Pets Factor’ and Contestant images). You will need eight students that are willing and able to play these roles (or eight staff, if you can coerce that many into taking part!). The script is obviously there for guidance only, and you can alter it as best fits your school, pupils and timeframe. However, as there are some really important messages within the script, please try to ensure that those messages are still heard!
  • A brief outline is that the three judges decide whether a person and their dog have the ‘Pets Factor’. The first three contestants are examples of the types of concerns the RSPCA currently has with dog ownership. One has an obese dog, one has bought from a puppy farm, and one is not caring for the dog properly and ensuring that he/she receives veterinary treatment when it is needed. Obviously, the fourth and last person is a fine example of a dog owner, and gets three ‘yes’s.  

What you can do 

  • This could be said either by the pupil playing the part of ‘Dermot’, or by the teacher leading the assembly: “So, to recap, if you want to have the Pets Factor with your dog, you need to ensure that you give your dog everything he/she needs to be healthy and happy. There are lots of things that dogs need – here are just a few examples:
  • An appropriate, well-balanced diet suitable for the dog's age, lifestyle and state of health. (Show page 1 from activity sheet What you can do)
  • Your dog should be bought from a responsible breeder or rehomed from a charity. Don’t reward the puppy farmers and irresponsible breeders! (Show page 2 from activity sheet What you can do)
  • Your dog needs treatment from a vet when he/she is poorly, and up-to-date vaccinations. (Show page 3 from activity sheet What you can do)
  • Your dog should be trained positively using rewards, so he/she learns how to behave well WITHOUT learning to fear you as well. It’s really important that all treats are taken out of your dog’s daily food allowance and not in addition to it, otherwise your dog may become overweight, which can cause health and welfare problems. (Show page 4 from activity sheet What you can do)
  • Your dog needs appropriate company, a suitable place to live and love. He or she will need time, money and effort from you. If you can give him/her these things and everything else he/she needs, then your dog will have the Pets Factor! (Show page 5 from activity sheet What you can do). DO YOU HAVE THE PETS FACTOR?”

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