How and Why to Be a Tree

How and Why to Be a Tree

Be a Dog Detective


Clicker Training


Here is how to be a tree:










Watch a video to see how being a tree works with a very playful dog.

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Here's why to be a tree:


Trees are boring to dogs. Be a Tree and a dog will just sniff and then go away. When was the last time you saw a dog chasing a tree?


Be a tree in any of these situations:

  • A strange dog comes near you (even if he seems friendly).

  • Any dog is making you feel uncomfortable, worried or scared.

  • A dog is chasing you.

  • Your own or a friend's dog is acting too frisky or excited.

Count in your head to the highest number you know and then start back at 1 again until the dog goes away or help comes.

Most dogs do not intend to scare or bite people, but they do like to investigate new people. Most dogs will chase a person who runs and will get more and more excited the more the person runs. Shouting or screaming is also exciting to dogs and can frighten some dogs. Being still and quiet is the best way to show a dog that you mean no harm and that you are not going to play with him or threaten him.

You may have heard about other ways to be a tree, that involve tucking your hands under your arms, folding your hands across your chest, placing your hands at your throat or even in your pocket. Doggone Safe does not recommend any of these, because sometimes kid's hands smell yummy to dogs and raising your hands may cause the dog to be interested in checking them out because you moved them and/or you still have traces of lunch on them. Folding your hands keeps them still and if the dog does want to sniff or lick them he won't need to jump on you to do it. He will soon tire of this if you stay still and then he will wander off.

You may also have heard that you should turn your back on a dog who may be planning to jump on you. This may lead to you turning more and more while the dog gets more and more excited about trying to jump on you or to get in front of you. This is strange behavior to a dog and he could become more, rather than less interested in you if you play a turning away game with him. Standing still is always the best thing to do if you want a dog to go away.

If a dog does happen to jump, just stand still until he gives up. If he knocks you over, curl up on your tummy with your hands over the back of your neck and be still like a rock until he goes away.


Here is an example of what can happen if you raise your hands rather than keeping them low and still:

        Hands low, dog's head is low

Hands higher, head higher

Hands high, head follows


Here's how to practice being a tree:

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.

If you have the Doggone Crazy! board game you will get lots of practice being a tree while having fun learning about dog body language and how to act safely around dogs.



Doggone Safe

2295 Mohawk Trail
Campbellville ON L0P 1B0