Dog Safety for Kids
The most important thing that you need to know about dogs is that they are excited by things that move. Dogs love to chase things. To stop a dog from chasing you or bothering you, the best thing to do is to stay still. Here is a video that shows how a dog can be excited by movement and can be calmed by stillness. Watch these two cats encouraging different behavior in the same puppy. If you act like the gray cat does around a dogs then the dog will get excited. If you act like the white cat, then the dog will stay calm. We can learn a lot from cats!
The best thing to do if a strange dog comes near you, your own dog is getting too frisky, or any dog is bothering you is to Be a Tree
. Trees are boring to dogs and the dog will soon go away and leave you alone. Even if you are scared, it is important to stand very still and look at your feet. Never run from a dog! Here's how to Be a Tree:
Here is a video that shows how the tree position works to cause a playful dog to lose interest. Notice how Josie gets excited and wants to play when the kids run, but as soon as they are trees she moves away from them. At one point she tries to get Kate to play, but Kate just stays still and Josie goes away. If the kids kept running around with Josie she might get so excited she might jump on them. She is just a puppy, even though she is big, and she doesn't always know how to keep herself calm. You can see that she likes movement and loses interest right away when the fun stops.
Here is another video that shows how well it works to Be a Tree to get a dog to lose interest. This is a teenager playing a dangerous game with a dog. She is running and laughing and getting him all worked up as he attacks her feet. He is just playing but he is playing very roughly and this type of play can easily get out of hand and lead to an accident. Watch what the dog does as soon as she stops moving. This dog is not trained to do this. This is just what he and other dogs naturally do.
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If you have a dog, be a tree if he comes over to you
and have your parent give him a treat when he moves away from you. Soon
the dog will learn that when you are a tree, you will not be playing with
him. If he ever does get too frisky, you can be a tree to show him that
you do not want to play right now.
If you have friends, brothers or sisters or adults
that will play with you, one of you can pretend to be a dog and the other
can be a tree to get the dog to go away.
If you have a stuffed dog, another person can move
the dog and you can be a tree to get the dog to go away.
If the Be a Tree program comes to your school you
will get practice being a tree.