Dog Bite Prevention – “Be a Tree”

We’ve all visited a friend’s home that has a pet dog. We’ve all had a stray dog approach us when we are out and about.  Sometimes the dog is a bit too rambunctious or you get the feeling the dog isn’t friendly. The last things you want to do are scream or yell, wave your arms or legs, and run.  That will only entice the dog to jump, bite, and follow you. If you use the Be A Tree method developed by Doggone Safe, you best avoid injury until help can come or the dog gets bored and goes away.

Be A Tree is a catchy reminder developed to teach children dog safety, but anyone can use it. If a dog approaches you that you don’t want contact with, you stand tall like a tree, look down at your feet (roots), fold in your arms (branches) and clasp your hands in front of you. Count in your head until the dog goes away or help comes. For children, they can count as far as they know, then start over.

There is another component to this safety lesson, Be A Rock.  If a dog knocks you down, you curl up into a ball with folded legs under you and your forehead resting on the ground.  Put your hands on the back of your neck and lace your fingers together.  Count in your head until help comes or the dog goes away.

The Be A Tree Presentation is designed for children ages 7 to 12, though my 4 year old niece attended the presentation a year ago and she still remembers what to do. The interactive 30 minute talk has kids practicing Be A Tree/Be A Rock several times to make sure they understand what to do when encountering a strange dog. There is also a section of the program telling children how to ask to pet a dog: ask permission from a parent first, and then the dog’s owner. Also it covers stranger danger, never help a stranger look for their dog.

The Be A Tree Presentation covers a lot in a short time and gives good information in an entertaining way. I am a member of Doggone Safe and I am a Be A Tree Presenter. I am listed as Cheri Spaulding, Rock Nest Training and Pet Care, LLC. Doggone Safe also offers help and support to dog bite victims. You can find out more at  I will be presenting Be A Tree at the Creswell Library throughout the spring and summer. Please contact me to present for your classroom or group.

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