Teach Children to “be a Tree” When an Unknown Dog Approaches Them

It’s okay and fun for kids to interact with new dogs as long as they do it properly (Rule # 1: Talk to the owner first) , but there are times when the dog greets them too gently or even aggressively. Doggone Safe , an organization dedicated to preventing dog bites, teaches children to “be a tree” when approached by an unknown dog. Why? Trees are boring to dogs.

This is how it works. When the dog approaches, the child should:

  1. Stop.
  2. Fold their “twigs” (hands) in front of you.
  3. Watch their “roots” grow (look at their feet).
  4. Count their breaths in your head until help arrives or the dog leaves.

This is how it looks in action:

When teaching children how to be a tree, it is important that they practice in a low stress environment , with a stuffed animal or their real pet. The ASPCA has other tips for reducing the risk of dog bites , highlighting that understanding a dog’s body language is key.


Leave a Reply