Is My Child Safe Around Dogs?
Children can be joyous and impulsive, especially when they see a cute dog or puppy. Many of the things children (as well as adults), do to express affection are perceived by dogs much differently. If there is a dog in the home, quite often children assume that all dogs are as friendly and tolerant as the family dog.
In this program we provide a fun way for kids to learn the proper way to approach a dog as well as when to choose not to. Using play acting, illustrations and skits, we empower children to recognize dog body language that indicates if a dog is relaxed, tense or could be dangerous. We teach how to ask the owner and the parent permission to interact with the dog.
The Be-A-Tree program not only helps teach children what to do when faced with a dog that is scary -- we also teach them what to do when encountering a strange dog on or off leash, how to recognize the difference between timid, stressed or unsafe dogs (strange and familiar), and how to safely respond.
Using photo displays and games, we clearly illustrate what dogs tell us about how they are feeling. When an owner says, "Would you like to pet my dog?" we empower them to say "no" if they think the dog looks uncomfortable.
This fun, interactive presentation takes 30-45 minutes and is modified depending on the age group. Children encourage each other, participate during the presentation and to join in with short skits and games.
The program is taught by Linda Lelak, CPDT-KA, a licensed Be A Tree Presenter and a child educator for more than 15 years. More information can be found on the Be-A-Tree website at http://www.be-a-tree.com.
The "Be-A-Tree" name is based upon one of the primary methods of staying safe - maintaining a body position with roots (feet) in one spot, branches (hands) folded, and looking down at your roots (feet).