Are You The Reason Your Dog Bites?
“Pet parent.” That phrase has popped into the lexicon recently and it shows that many pet owners aka pet parents have begun embracing the fact that their dogs are their “children.” If they’re empty nesters, then that may be even more the case. The human children have moved out so now you dote upon your beloved dog. Are you the reason your dog bites? It’s something to think about.
Parents who are “too lenient” with their human children sometimes feel they pay the price when their child is out of control in public. The same can be said for pet parents who don’t provide their beloved fur babies with a modicum of positive reinforcement training to help make them good canine citizens.
Are You The Reason Your Dog Bites?
It’s very easy to spoil our dogs and let them rule the roost. With some breeds, it may not be an issue. With other breeds, they do better when they have a routine, a firm but positive training schedule and when they know you’re the pack leader.
Could you be the unwitting reason your dog bites? Could the way you interact with your dog, or even with other dogs you meet on the street, bite you? There are some actions that humans take that may lead to a dog bite — or to your dog biting someone else.
Some of those actions include:
- Making prolonged eye contact
- The motion of your body
- The way you hold your hands when you meet a dog
- Your attitude. Yes, dogs are intuitive enough to pick up on attitude (fear for one) and react to it.
Your body language can provoke or prevent a dog bite.
There have been many studies that have shown dogs have a sixth sense, an intuition, toward humans and other dogs. Dogs can:
- Understand your vocal tone — happy, angry, sad
- They seem to know when they have done something wrong
- They understand when you’re stressed out and react to your stress
Dogs can sense when something is out of sync in their world and with their people.
Now let’s look whether you may be the reason your dog bites.
If your dog doesn’t get along with other dogs or cats and you see someone on the street with a dog. What do you do? If you pick up your dog, you’re showing him that the other dog/person was a threat that you removed him from. How could you have handled that differently?
- Talk calmly to your dog and let him know “it’s all right.”
- Tell the other person that your dog isn’t comfortable being approached. Speaking in a calm manner.
- Clutching your pet and shouting to the other person to keep away.
If you take on the “clutching your pet and shouting” stance you are opening yourself up to your dog biting. Why? You’re showing him:
- You’re nervous
- You’re also shouting and that’s scary to your dog
- Your fear/anger/stress is feeding your dog’s fear/stress
When you lash out and show fear to your dog you are opening yourself up for your dog to bite you or to lunge at the perceived threat your dog sees approaching. When your body language changes so dramatically, your dog’s protective instincts will kick in and he will think that if he bites or lunges he is protecting you.
If you have a dog who is not comfortable with other dogs, signing him up for a doggy socialization class might be in order. Expose him — in a safe manner — to other dogs and humans. Show your dog that you’re not afraid and he doesn’t need to be either.
Don’t put your dog in a situation that is frightening for him. For example, if he is afraid of other dogs, don’t go to the local dog park and think that visit is going to end well.
Remember a shy or fearful dog is one who is more likely to lash out and bite. Reward your dog for reacting and interacting positively with other dogs and humans and work diligently with him on curbing his fear and reactive behavior. It may mean working with a dog behaviorist or positive reinforcement trainer to assure your dog doesn’t bite.
Our Canine Liability Policy provides financial protection for dog owners from dog bite claims. It also covers other injuries to people, including scratches or causing them to fall. Injuries to other animals are also included. Contact us for information at (855) 534-6495 or go online and request a dog bite insurance quote.