It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and you can help the cause by learning to understand your dog’s warning signs. This week was established by Doggone Safe, an organization devoted to promoting education that can help prevent dog bites and providing support for dog bite victims. The ultimate goal of this week is to help us, the humans, properly understand and communicate with our dogs in ways that can help prevent biting.
As Doggone Safe acknowledges, we often misunderstand our pups. When a dog bites, we interpret this behavior in negative human terms, when to a dog, biting is a relatively normal and primal behavior. By learning to understand why dogs are motivated to bite in the first place, we can help reduce the risk that our pet will respond to situations with a bite or other threatening behavior.
Basic knowledge of your dog’s physical behavior can take you a long way towards preventing biting. Our sister organization, Morris K9 Campus, published a blog post in honor of Dog Bite Prevention Week about canine body language and how to read the signs that may lead to aggression.
Watch out for:
- Tail between the legs
- Whites of eyes showing
- Ears back, head down, or teeth bared
- Excessive yawning or licking
- Furrowed or tense brow
You can also help prevent biting or lashing out by avoiding situations that often make dogs uncomfortable. Avoid surprising your dog, especially while they are asleep, as they may react instinctively and bite. Do not approach a tethered dog or a dog that is chewing on a bone; even if you know the dog well, they may become defensive. Also avoid forcing your dog into a submissive position.
By keeping your dog comfortable and watching for these warning signs, you can help prevent your dog and others' pets from biting. Though they may be subtle, these signs are a dog’s way of telling us how they are feeling. If you watch for them, you can become more in tune with your dog’s likes, dislikes and overall well-being.