Do you Know How to Read Your Dog’s Signals?

Do you Know How to Read Your Dog’s Signals?All too often, well-meaning owners of small or “friendly” breeds of dogs view their dog letting out a short growl or a nip in the direction of someone teasing them as cute or funny. This could be a dangerous mistake to make, though; it’s a signal that your dog is not comfortable with situation they’re in and they are trying to warn you before biting. Knowing how to read your dog’s signals could potentially reduce your liability for a dog bite.

When a dog bite is caught on film, in almost every scenario when a canine expert analyzes the video they find that the dog had given specific behaviors that they were frightened, stressed, or uncomfortable with the situation. Many signals are subtle and not typically recognized as a dog bite warning; these subtle signals include yawning, licking of the lips, or attempting to stand behind their owner. Failure to remove the dog from the situation could cause a bite to occur not out of aggression, but due to fear. Dogs only have one way to protect themselves, and that’s with their teeth. That being said, the following are some signals to watch out for in your pup.

Growling and/or Snapping

This is perhaps the most common sign that a dog is about to bite. Simply put, if a dog is growling or snapping, it’s always best to back off and give them their space.

Low Wagging Tail/Cowering

A wagging tail is a sign of a dog bite? Yes, this sounds strange, but canine experts have found that while a happy dog will typically engage their whole body in a tail wag, a fearful canine will keep their tail low and wag it quickly back and forth; a sign of nervousness. This action might be paired with cowering in a corner or behind their owner.

Raised Hair

Have you ever seen the hair on your dog’s back stand up? This is a clear signal that they have been startled or are apprehensive about a situation and need to either be avoided or removed from the situation if that can be done safely.

Stiff Body Posture

Typically, a happy dog is going to appear very relaxed, while one that is about to bite would appear as the opposite. Much like their humans, dogs become tense when they are upset or scared. Fearful biting is more common than many people realize.

Lip Licking, Yawning, Averting Gaze

You may think that your dog licking his or her lips or yawning repeatedly when they shouldn’t be tired, or even refusing to make eye contact with you is just a quirky behavior they have. However, dogs engage in this type of behavior to let you know they are uncomfortable with something going on around them.

It’s imperative to remember that a dog who is uncomfortable, afraid, or stressed is more likely to bite. At Canine Liability, we understand the risks you face as a dog owner, and have developed an insurance policy specially designed for these risks. For more information, please contact us today at 855.534.6495.

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