Teach Kids To 'Be A Tree' When An Unknown Dog Comes Near Them

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It’s fine and very sweet for kids to engage with new dogs, as long as they do so appropriately (Rule No. 1: Approach the owner first), but there may be times when a dog greets them with too much affection or even aggression. Doggone Safe, an organisation focused on dog bite prevention, teaches kids to “be a tree” if an unknown dog comes near them. Why? Trees are boring to dogs.

Here’s how it works. When the dog comes near, the child should:

  1. Stop.
  2. Fold their “branches” (hands) in front of them.
  3. Watch their “roots” grow (look at their feet).
  4. Count their breaths in their head until help arrives, or the dog walks away.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

When teaching kids how to be a tree, it’s important to have them practise in a low-stress environment, with a stuffed animal or their real pet.

ASPCA has other advice for reducing the risk of dog bites, stressing that understanding dog body language is key.


    Pretending to be a tree might stop a dog biting you, but it won't stop it pissing on your leg.

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