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Why Dogs Bite

By becoming familiar with the warnings that a dog is upset, you have a better chance of avoiding a dog bite. Look for these warning signs:

Ears laid back against his head or his legs are very stiff.
If the hair on his back is standing up.
If a dog is growling or barking with his teeth showing, it means he is ready to bite.

If you think a dog is about to bite you:
Remain motionless and look and look at the ground.
Count to five to yourself
Move away very slowly, sideways or backwards.
If the dog jumps on you, act like a rock by curling up into a ball and covering your face and head with your arms.
Don’t stare at the dog.
Don’t run, jump or wave your arms around.
Don’t scream.

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Pets, , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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6:47PM PST on Mar 2, 2013


3:23AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Always use common sense.....

3:03AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Thank you

2:59AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

They need respect and learning like us

3:38PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Dogs bite due to fear or stress. Their actions are know different than if a human was fighting back out of fear

6:22PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

It makes sense why the dog would bite. Protective instincts come out. How would you like it if you were being threatened? Wouldn't you fight back?

1:34PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Thanks for posting!

6:55AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

treat dogs the way you would like to be treated and avoid bites!

2:01AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Yeayyy!!!!! A decent study. As a positive trainer it is good to have scientific back up for alot of stuff we already know.
When called in for bite cases the first thing is usually a trip to the vet for a full medical. Most of the cases there is some physical disorder that has lowered the dogs tolerance of a child's behaviour. The other part is that people misread their dog and don't understand that just because they like the kids in their family doesn't mean they like the neighbours child. Nor do people take the time to properly train their dog not to guard food or toys. As far as I am concerned this is a must around children.
The other thing is parents don't know what to teach their children about dogs because they themselves don't know.

12:08AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Thank you for sharing it!

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