Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Be a Tree Webinars - Recording Available

Part 1 - An Introduction to the Be a Tree Progam

Part 1 of the two-part Be a Tree Webinar series with Jennifer Shryock was held on April 20, 2011. This was a fun and informative session!

Part 1 on Apr 20, 2011 covered the basics of the program:
The Tools: the tools that children have on their bodies and in their heads and how they can use them to stay safe around dogs.

The Dogs: how to read dog body language and understand common signals that dogs send to let us know whether they want to meet us or not.

Meeting a Dog: how to meet a dog safely.

The Games: how to engage the children in the games and activities that are part of the program and that help to cement their learning.

The Program - the tree pose explained, why we don't take dogs to presentations and other burning questions about the program content
Here is a comment from a particpant:

I just wanted to tell you how terrific your presentation was! It was very interesting and informative and your enthusiasm for the program really came through!! You also gave some really helpful practical tips. I'm looking forward to next week's presentation. I'm so glad that you are going to focus on how to adapt the program for different age groups. It was a question I had. Thanks for giving us newcomers the benefit of your year's of experience with this terrific program. I did a presentation today after the webinar for my friend's 8 year old granddaughter (and yes, I made my friend, her husband and my husband take part as well). It was really fun and they all said they liked it and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to giving these presentations in the schools, libraries, etc. ~Maryellen Sullivan

The recording for Part 1 is now available for purchase.

For members the price is $5 - from the Member's area of the website

For non-members the prices is $15 - from the Doggone Safe Store

Part 2: Adaptations of the Be a Tree Program

Part 2 on Apr 27, 2011 will cover adaptations of the program for different ages ranging from preschooler to highschooler as well as adaptations and activities for larger groups.

This session will be presented twice, at 11 AM and 9 PM on the same day.

This session will be recorded and posted for sale in the Doggone Safe store after the fact so that you can still get the information even if you can't attend. We encourage you to attend the live sessions so that you can get your questions answered and participate in the discussion.

Register for Part 2


Each part qualifies for 1 CEU from IAABC and 1 CEU from CCPDT

Sale of Recordings

The recordings will be for sale in the Doggone Safe store for $15 for non-members. Members can purchase them for $5 from the Member area of the website

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Upcoming Events

Check out our list of terrific upcoming events. These are events organized by Doggone Safe or by Doggone Safe members. If you are a a member and you have an event that you would like to post please visit the Events page to check out the posting rules and send us the information if you event qualifies.


Be a Tree Training Webinar - Part 1 (20 Apr 2011)

Part 2 - Wed Apr 27: 11 AM EDT or 9 PM EDT

Exploring the Dog's Mind - PABA (13 May 2011)
May-13-11 12:00 AM

Liam's Family Time Celebration (14 May 2011)
May-14-11 9:00 AM

International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge (15 -21 May 2011)

PAWS Day - Pets and Wellness and Fun (15 May 2011)
May-15-11 9:00 AM

Be a Tree at Pawsway (21 May 2011)
May-21-11 12:00 AM

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dog Safety and R.E.A.D.® - A Doggone Great Combination!

This article was first published in A Pawsitive Canine Experience in 2006- reprinted with permission.

By Tara McLaughlin CPDT, CDBC

Last spring, Charlottesville Therapy Animals, the Therapy Dog group that I Co-Direct, was asked by our local county school system to pilot a Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.®) program. Prior to my first meeting with the county administrator, I thought about dog attacks and how often they’re directed towards children.
Wouldn’t it make sense to combine dog safety with the R.E.A.D.® program?  Being a Doggone Safe member and licensed Be a TreeTM Program presenter enables me to actually empower children by educating them about canine behavior and body language as well as how to respond when confronted by a dangerous dog. The children would learn how to make good decisions when interacting with all dogs, not just Therapy Dogs. 
Our Therapy Dogs can tolerate handling that most dogs find stressful or intolerable. We do not want to confuse kids by allowing or even encouraging them to interact with dogs inappropriately . . . possibly even causing them to be bitten by another dog because of our Therapy Dogs’ tolerance. 
At the meeting with county administrator, I suggested we first do a Doggone Safe presentation for the class that we would be piloting the R.E.A.D.® program, and the suggestion was enthusiastically accepted. The children and their teacher not only found the presentation informative and  educational, but it helped increase the children’s confidence with interacting with the dogs selected for the program – one being my German Shepherd Dog, Sattva. Some of the children were worried about being near such a large dog. When we actually started the R.E.A.D.® program, the groundwork for appropriate dog interactions was laid out and our pilot program proceeded beautifully.
This fall, the county has asked that we start the program at additional schools. They have asked that we present the Doggone Safe program county wide in the schools, so all of the children can benefit from learning about dog behavior and body language, and how to safely interact with dogs.

These are the steps we took to establish a successful and safe R.E.A.D.® program: 
  • Meet with Administrator of School System and School to discuss R.E.A.D.® program and
    process to pilot program
  • Provide permission forms for teacher to give parents
  • Provide evaluation forms for program
  • Arrange date for Doggone Safe Presentation in participating classrooms or school wide
  • Arrange date for Therapy Dogs and handlers participating in program to visit school when
    children are not there.
  • Assess room, decide where the kids will read to the dog, and help dog feel
    comfortable in the new surrounding
  • Arrange date for Therapy Dogs and handlers participating in program to visit school for a
    presentation with class so children can meet dogs and handlers prior to reading to them.
  • Set schedule (days/times) for R.E.A.D.® program 
Editor's note: The Be a Tree program is delivered to the children before they start the R.E.A.D. program so that they will know how to read dog body language and how to interact appropriately with the dogs. Therapy dogs are not present during the Be a Tree program. Click here to find out why Doggone Safe does not take dogs to Be a Tree sessions.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Materials Available from Doggone Safe

Door Knocker Tips

Tips for politicians, census takers and others who go door to door. This hand out is available from our Free Resources page.

Parent Education Pamphlet, Poster and Child Education Postcard

This 2-sided, 6 panel pamphlet, poster and postcard were created in partnership with the Emergency Nurses Association, San Diego Chapter and are available from Child Safety Solutions. For pricing and ordering information please call Tammy at 877-669-7233.




The stickers are not new, but they are back. For pricing information and to order, please visit our store

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to Teach Your Puppy not to Bite - Part 4

By Joan Orr

This is Part 4 of an ongoing series. We recommend that you read the previous articles since we are not going to repeat anything here. Here is a link to the other articles in the series and some related articles:  Puppy Biting series

Teaching your puppy to control his mouth and to keep his teeth to himself requires a multi-faceted approach which is a combination of management and training. In this article I will talk about the first of two very effective training approaches that you can take to help your puppy learn not to bite. These are as follows:
  1. Teach the puppy to give kisses instead of biting.
  2. Teach the puppy the meaning of a cue that means "take your mouth off" and subsequently "leave your mouth off".

How to Give Kisses

Most puppies are generous with kisses and you can encourage this by saying "kisses" and welcoming the kisses when the puppy offers them. Of course if you don't want the puppy slobbering all over you, then just ignore the kisses or move the attractive body part out of range. Your puppy will soon learn that if you say "kisses" you will welcome his licking you and otherwise you will not welcome this. Never scold or punish or take away your attention altogether from a kissing puppy.

A great way to encourage kisses instead of biting and to help a puppy learn to take treats gently is to put something like cheese spread or peanut butter  on your hand and fingers (don't use peanut butter if your puppy is going to be around children though in case of children with peanut allergies). Let the puppy lick this off, while you say the word "kisses" over and over. This helps him associate the action of licking with the word "kisses". If he is really frantic for the yummy stuff on your hand he may not be paying too much attention to what you are saying, so it could take a while for the association with the word to sink in. For some puppies this exercise is all that you will need to do teach him what "kisses" means, but others may not seem to catch on.

A better way to ensure that the puppy is thinking about what he is doing and not just madly licking is to set up the situation so that he offers a lick and is then reinforced for that so that he will repeat it with the conscious thought of doing it. To do this you need some kind of marker sound that tells the puppy he is doing the right thing. I use a clicker for this, but you can use a ball point pen or something else that makes a short sharp sound. You can also use a marker word such as "yes" or "yip", but this does not work as well as using a  clicker. Here is a video that shows how to do this. The puppy in this video was the nippiest puppy I have ever worked with and she rarely offered spontaneous kisses - she had much more fun nipping!

Offer a treat that leaves a tasty residue on your hand (put a dab of cream cheese under the treat if necessary to get things started). Click when the puppy licks and give another treat. Create the cycle: lick - click - treat - lick - click - treat. At first the puppy is just licking the treat residue of my fingers, but after a few tries she is offering a lick on purpose. Add the cue "kisses" when the puppy offers a lick when you hold out your hand. Use this cue from now on when offering treats. Gradually move from a more open hand presentation to holding the treat between thumb and forefinger. Click when the puppy licks and release the treat. Eventually the puppy will learn that the offering of a treat is the cue for "kisses" and he will lick to get the treat rather than snatching it. Practice with different people in different location.  If the puppy makes a mistake such as biting at your hand or putting his paw on you, just ignore this. You don't need to say "no" or "ah ah" or "oops" if the puppy makes a mistake. It is best just to be quiet and let the click be the only communication during this training session. The training session in this video was about a minute and a half - this is plenty long enough. After training, play for a few minutes and then do another short session. You will get much more out of five 1 minute sessions than out of one 5 minute session.

Next time I will talk about teaching your puppy the cue "off" so you can tell him you want him to stop biting or not to bite in the first place.

Read the rest of the articles in this series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Monday, April 4, 2011

Doggone Safe Translations

We are pleased to announce that the Be a Tree program is available in French (Quebec and France versions) and Italian. Spanish and German will be coming soon. There are also various other resources in French, Italian and Spanish.

The Be a Tree translations are PDF downloads that you can print and stick over the English on the posters from the Teacher Kit. The text on the back of the posters has been translated as have the Simon Says and Toolbox cards. These are free for anyone who has purchased a Be a Tree Kit in the past and will be available at the time of purchase for future customers. The Power Point version is also available as a translation along with the associated notes.

Please check out the link to our translations and pass on the information to anyone who might be interested: