People are often startled when they suddenly get chomped. Beware the warning signs. It happens
more often than one might think. Knowing what to look for, being aware of the warning signals and
respecting the dog’s nature is essential to prevent the aggressive and undesired behaviour.
Did you know that most reported cases of dogs biting are in fact by family pets and not by stray or strange dogs? In fact, more than two-thirds of bites are to people familiar with the particular dog.
Most bites often target the very young or old with the face being the most frequent target. Annually dog bites result in a mass of insurance claims to homeowners.
Reasons for Biting
Animals won’t just decide to behave aggressively and bite for no reason. Understanding the dog’s nature and why they might act in an aggressive way like biting is the first step to being safe and avoiding dangerous situations.
A dog won’t just get aggressive for no rhyme or reason. The only situations where this may occur is if the animal is suffering, for example, if the dog has a form of stress as a result of previous bad experience, or if the dog is suffering some physical injury and is in pain.
Understand the Warning Signs
Learn to look out for the warning signals. Dogs are always communicating with their body language. They can not use words like we do to communicate their intentions. Instead, they must rely on body language to communicate effectively. Most often relying on facial expressions, posture and vocalisation to convey their ideas. It is when we fail to recognize and understand these signals that unfortunate situations like biting occur. Dog’s won’t just bite unprovoked. A dog will display aggressive behavior if it feels threatened and fearful, it has no need to bite if it feels
safe and calm.
So What provokes a dog to Bite?
All dogs have the ability to bite no matter how calm they may seem. Dog’s do not bite to be spiteful or mean, they merely respond to a situation by using the tools available to them. Some common conditions often lead to biting. For example, physical displays of affection often result in faces being bitten, especially for young children. While it is common for humans to show their love with hugs and kisses, it is not natural for an animal. A dog, especially a Husky or Malamute that are closely related to wolves can interpret this type of behavior as an aggressive signal especially when the loving gesture is directed at their face. Never put your face close to an unfamiliar dog.
Familiarity and comfort are another common cause that can pave the way to unwanted behavior.
It is easy to become complacent when we know a dog well. We all too often make the mistake of believing that a particular dog will not bite because it has never shown any sign of aggression or biting before. Remember, bites happen as a result of a trigger. Observing and being aware of what a dog communicates at all times is the best way to avoid unwanted behavior like biting.
Everyone reaches their limit at some point. That also applies to your dog.
When and Why Do Dogs Bite?
– When a dog is frightened or startled by something in its environment, it may bite.
– While the dog is guarding or protecting his territory, things he perceives as being his own.
Examples include food, toys, sleeping areas and even owners.
– Bites often occur when the dog is in pain or suffering in some way.
– When humans use physical punishment or harsh training methods dogs my use biting as a form
– When owners do not educate their animals correctly to inhibit biting
While we all love to give a dog a good old cuddle and smother them with all kinds of petting, there
are times when it is not appropriate.
Prevent Dog Bites – Avoid Petting Dog’s in Situations where:
– the owner is not present
– the owner does not give permission
– the dog is behind a fence
– the dog is sleeping or eating
– the dog is not well or injured in any way
– is caring for puppies and seems to be overly protective
– is playing with a toy
– it is a service dog
– the dog displays menacing behavior like growling or barking
Dogs are not able to use language to communicate like humans do. Instead, they rely on body
language and vocalisations to communicate their intent. Canine body language is rather complex
and can not be reduced to a single behavior. Dogs learn to communicate from a young age; they
learn essential social skills from their litter. This essential skill is often not developed optimally in
puppies that leave the litter too early.
Observe the Dog’s Behavior
Don’t make assumptions about any dog. Be present and look at the one in front of you. What do
If you see a happy creature greeting you with a little dance and a wagging tale he will welcome
attention. If the dog does not want your attention, he will avoid eye contact and walk straight past
you. Let him choose to make the first contact, allow him to sniff you. Don’t pet a dog on his face,
do so on the side of his face.
Dogs and Children
Dogs bite millions of people every year. About twenty percent of those bites require medical
attention, and most of those bitten are children. Children often suffer severe bites on the face or
neck as their size makes them an easy target for a dog’s mouth. These bites are often from the
families own dog.
Educating both children and dogs is important for safety reasons. Children need to be mindful and
know where the borders lie as they are often prone to grabbing, chasing and pulling. Rember dogs
have their limits too, even the best-natured ones. Raise your children to treat animals with respect.
Create a safe, peaceful environment by supervising all interactions between the dogs and the
children, guiding them towards the correct behavior until they learn. Don’t assume an animal will
be okay with your kids, especially when a new puppy or a rehomed dog enters the home.
Education for both humans and their dogs is perhaps the most crucial factor in preventing
dangerous situations with animals. Living with an animal should be a joy.
Guidelines for Children to avoid being bitten by Dogs
– Respect the dog’s space, safety and his rights to it
– Don’t allow kids to play chasing or rough physical games
– Never bring dogs near kids who are eating
– Cruel behavior is not permitted ever
– No sudden running past dogs as this can trigger prey behavior
– No grabbing toys – ask an adult for help to get the toy back
– Don’t encourage the dog to jump up on you. Jumping up to humans is not allowed.
STAY SAFE AND STAY HAPPY!
Be mindful and respectful of the dog’s intrinsic nature as a pack animal. Be the best owner you
can be and always strive to improve your leadership skills.