Fearful Chihuahua backing up. Know the signs for dog bite prevention

Know the body language of fear and anxiety. It could be the best dog bite prevention.

Dogs are our family members.  We love our dogs, but we do not always understand what our dogs are telling us.   The body language, not breed, of a dog is the best predictor of when a dog is likely to bite.  Learn the signals your dog gives to provide good dog bite prevention.

When dogs bite, it is the one defense that works when avoidance fails.  Ours dogs are telling us they do not like the situation they are in, so we as humans need to pay attention and respect the body language signals.

Signals of stress/anxiety and fear:

  1. When a dog is approached by someone or hesitates to do something that you have asked it to do- this is a sign to pay attention.
  2. Yawning, rolling on their back, lowering of the head or backing up- these are some signs of fear or anxiety about a situation.
  3. Licking lips, lifting front leg, sitting, wagging a stiff tail, pacing, barking- can all be signs of a fearful dog
  4. Ears: can be low, pinned backwards
  5. Tail: low or tucked under the body
  6. Body: low, tense, slow or stiff to move, could be wagging- the message is stay away

Dog bite prevention: Tips to keep the family safe

  1. Don't leave young children alone with dogs no matter how friendly dogs are with people.
  2. Let sleeping dogs lie.  Don't bother a sleeping dog!
  3. Dogs tolerate hugs and kisses.  Don't hug or kiss a dog you don't know.
  4. Leave the dog alone while it eats or chews on a toy.
  5. Avoid cornering a dog to clip a leash, give medicine or even to pet it.
  6. Don't point at, hit, slap or otherwise punish/intimidate a dog with the intent to change a behavior.  Dogs do not purposely try to misbehave and punishment will create fear, and a fearful dog is more likely to bite.

There are many resources available to help guide dog owners from puppy training up through adulthood in dogs.  Contact your veterinarian for more information about positive training techniques for your canine.   Learn the body language signs that your dog communicates to you.  Avoid the bite!


For more dog veterinary based behavior information in Chester County Pennsylvania click here .