One of the important aspects of the Be a Tree program is its focus on teaching children to read dog body language. This knowledge empowers them to make good decisions and keep themselves safe around dogs. Children who are afraid of dogs and run away screaming are the ones most likely to get bitten since this behavior can trigger a dog’s instinct to chase. When children understand that dogs give signs to indicate whether they want to meet you or not, this lessens their fear and gives them the tools they need to decide on the best course of action. They learn that being a tree is an option with any dog and that they can do something to be in control of the situation.
Doggone Safe has produced a video slide show the illustrate the different ways dogs communicate with their bodies. This shows many dogs showing contrasting emotions. Watch it yourself before showing it to your students, since there is scene with a barking dog that may be frightening to children with a fear of dogs.