10 tips to prevent a dog bite

By | Published On: February 7, 2011 | Categories: Behaviour, Dogs, Training |

So often we hear that people got bitten by a dog ‘out of the blue’, ‘so fast I didn’t see it coming’. Unpredictable? Unpreventable?

Personally I believe that all dogs can bite – but they don’t really want to! Here are 10 top tips to prevent a dog biting you, or anyone else for that matter!

  1. Read the dog body signals – Licking, yawning, shaking as if wet. A dog will do these things if they begin to get a bit unsettled. Give your dog the chance to get away, settle down, have a quiet moment and things are less likely to escalate.
  2. Don’t expect a growl. Many dogs decide that growling is a waste of time. Why? Because when they growl, they get punished. Instead, they don’t bother to growl and just bite anyway
  3. Biting is a sign of patience pushed too far. Some dogs have lower tolerance than others, of course, but unless a dog has learned to bite they would rather get away from a situation. Let them take themselves off to a quiet place if they want to.
  4. Teach your children well! Children cannot read dog warning signals until they are well into their teenage years! Do not leave them unsupervised together. You can learn more in mynKids and Dogs Safety Manual.
  5. If a dog has bitten once, they are likely to do it again. This doesn’t mean you should panic and rush for euthanasia or rehoming. Be aware of the situation that caused the bite. Get professional help from a qualified behaviourist immediately.
  6. Hugging and kissing can be threatening to a dog. Obvious? Not to many. Even if your dog is used to your ‘loving attention’ they may not see it that way one day.
  7. Always read the signs. Dogs can have bad days too! How can we tell if a dog is in pain, has a bad tummy, or is really tired or achy? Usually dogs will not show the signs until the pain is extreme. Be ready to help your dog by taking them to the Vet if you see signs of unusual or ‘grumpy’ behaviour.
  8. ‘He only nipped’. Not a dog bite then? A ‘snap’ is often a deliberate miss. Take action by getting professional help now. Your dog was clearly feeling under pressure and needs help to feel less stressed.
  9. Socialise, socialise, socialise. Get your dog used to people and their weird ways from early puppyhood, and keep practicising!
  10. Do not assume that your dog would never bite. They all can if they are put in the right (or wrong!) circumstances.

Enjoy your dogs – and your people!

– Karen Wild

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