Why Do Dogs Bite?
As a pet parent you hope that your dog will never bite anyone. Have you ever wondered, though, why do dogs bite? There are myriad reasons why dogs bite. There are also signs that your dog is getting ready to bite and if you understand his signs and body language you may be able to stop a bite before it happens.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Here are some of the possible reasons a dog may bite someone. The size of the dog doesn’t matter when it comes to whether he will bite, even though the size of the dog can certainly impact the severity of the bite.
A dog may bite because:
- He is “resource-guarding” his food, toys, bed or even his humans
- He is protecting your home or property
- He is afraid
- He is simply tired
- He could be in pain, injured or sick
- He is being poked, prodded or having his ears or tail pulled
- He has never learned, through positive reinforcement, not to bite
- His “herding mentality” is kicking in and he may nip while herding
- He views a child or other human as prey because the person is screaming or running away from him
As the pet parent it’s up to you to do what you can to keep children, adults and your dog out of situations that could lead to a dog bite. You need to understand your dog’s body language. Is he growling? That is a sure sign of distress. Are his ears forward or lying down? If they’re lying down, he may be getting stressed or angry. Is his tail wagging? Does he appear to be “smiling” or is his jaw clenched?
Pay attention to how your dog is acting and reacting in any situation where he is surrounded by people he may not know. If he appears to be getting nervous, anxious or otherwise stressed, move him away from the situation that is causing his distress.
Teach children and those who don’t know your dog how to approach her, how to pet her and how to notice when she just wants to be left alone. It may be necessary for you to pick up your dogs’ favorite toys or bones in order to stop a resource guarding bite episode.
Here are signs that your dog has had enough:
- He gets up and moves away
- He turns his head away
- He may look at you with a pleading look in his eye. He is asking for help.
- If you can see the “whites” of your dog’s eyes, he is reaching his limit
- A yawn may be a sign that your dog is getting stressed
- He may begin biting or licking himself, this could be a sign he is nervous and the licking or biting is a form of self-soothing, but is also a sign he needs to be removed from the situation that is upsetting him
Even a well-socialized dog may reach her limit especially when in an unfamiliar situation with people she’s not accustomed to. As the pet parent you need to pay attention to your dog, his body language and how he is being treated by your guests. In many situations, the dog will be blamed for biting someone and the bite could have been prevented if the pet parent had been paying attention. This is not to say there aren’t times when your dog may just bite out of the blue, but those times, dog trainers say are rare.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.
Posted in: Dog Bite