Three year old Mary* was playing outside on a cool spring day. Her dad, Rick, was working in the yard nearby and her mum, Marg, was on the deck of their rural home. Rick heard barking and growling and looked up, horrified, to see two big dogs circling his terrified daughter. Mary wasn’t making a sound. She was standing with her hands folded staring at her new boots. Too far away to intervene and afraid to move in and trigger an attack by the dogs, Rick, watched helplessly as did Marg from the deck. After a few tense moments, the dogs lost interest and ran off back next door, from where they’d escaped. “Thank you so much” Marg wrote to us later, “Mary learned to Be a Tree from playing your Doggone Crazy board game with us, and she did it all by herself when the situation arose in real life. You saved our child from being mauled or worse!”

*not their real names

Teach Kids to Be Dog Aware

Teach your kids to be dog aware and stay safe around their doggy friends and dogs they don’t know personally.

Here’s the most important fact that kids need to know about dogs: Dogs are bored by kids who are quiet and still. Say this to your kids:

If any dog is worrying you or getting too frisky or if a strange dog approaches, stand like a tree. When’s the last time you saw a dog chasing or jumping on a tree?

Here’s how to stand like a tree:

  1. Stop
  2. Fold your branches (hands folded in front)
  3. Watch your roots grow (look at your feet)
  4. Count your breaths in your head until help comes or the dog goes away

Video Example

Here’s a video that shows how this works with a frisky dog. When the kids stand still, Josie goes away. When they move she tries to play with them.

More Resources

Family Paws Parent Education: Expert  support and resources for families with dogs.

Clicker Puppy Training Streaming video – Essential training info for kids – 40% off sale plus FREE DVD while supplies last – use the code PUPPYSALE40

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