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Our Newsletter

Help Dogs and Kids Be Comfortable Together

Doggone Safe promotes the “Doggone Safe Be a Tree” children’s programme. This programme, for school age children, is a short presentation with large photos and lots of activities to teach children to understand the signs dogs send with their body language. 

The central message of this program is “Be a Tree”.  That is, stand still if a strange dog approaches or any dog is threatening or overly frisky. Children learn to be doggie detectives, looking for the clues that dogs give with body language to show how they are feeling.

Doggone Safe offer the following tips for parents and dog owners to help keep kids safe:

The 3 Most Important Things to Teach Your Kids

  1. Dogs Don’t Like Hugs and Kisses – Teach your kids not to hug or kiss a dog on the face.  Hugging the family dog or face-to-face contact are common causes of bites to the face.  Instead, teach kids to scratch the dog on the chest or the side of the neck.
  2. Be a Tree if a Strange Dog Approaches – Teach kids to stand still, like a tree. Trees are boring and the dog will eventually go away.  This works for strange dogs and anytime the family dog gets too frisky or becomes aggressive.
  3. Never Tease a Dog – and never disturb a dog that’s sleeping, eating or protecting something.


The 2 Most Important Things Parents Can Do

  1. Supervise – Don’t assume your dog is good with kids.  If a toddler must interact with your dog, you should have your hands on the dog too.  Even if your dog is great with kids and has never bitten – why take a chance?
  2. Train the dog – Take your dog to obedience classes where positive-reinforcement is used.  Never pin, shake, choke, hold the dog down or roll the dog over to teach it a lesson.  Dogs treated this way are likely to turn their aggression on weaker family members.  Involve older children in training the family dog while supervising.  Don’t allow children to punish the dog.  Condition the dog to enjoy the presence and actions of children using positive experiences.

The 3 Most Important Things Dog Owners can do

  1.  Spay or Neuter Your Dog
  2.  Condition Your Dog for the World Providing social, and environmental  interactions with your dog. The more he knows about the world around him, the better he'll feel. If you feel that you aren't taking your dog places, ask yourself why. If it's because of his behaviour and you don't know how to modify it, ask a dog trainer who uses positive methods. 

  3. Supervise Your Dog


The School of the Naked Dog in Christchurch delivers this programme to kids, no matter where they are- school, scouts, birthday parties, private homes etc. Ask them about doing a presentation with your kids, class, club!