How to Tell if Your Dog is Going to Bite

Learn to recognize the signs that often precede an incident, and what to do to keep your dog from biting – before it happens.

A dog doesn’t bite just to bite

When dogs bite, they are reacting to something – the dog may be in pain or feeling protective, threatened, afraid, agitated, or stressed. Read below for common reasons why dogs bite, and how to recognize those signs.

How to tell if your dog is going to bite?

Your dog may be feeling:

  • Agitation:
    Agitation in dogs can be due to several different reasons, and can look different each time. When dogs are agitated, they may have a stiff posture and stand very still. Alert ears are also a common sign of agitation. If your dog has a bad temper, he may growl, snarl, and/or lunge. When dogs are especially agitated, their upper lips curl back to expose their teeth, which is usually a sign they are preparing to bite.
  • Fear:
    When dogs are afraid, their ears usually flatten back to their head. They may appear as if they are cowering and take a crouched position. Dogs typically tuck their tails between their legs when afraid and may tremble. Your dog may even hide away when afraid.
  • Pain:
    Dogs in severe pain may hide away in a closet or under your bed. Be careful reaching out to your pet when recovering them from a hiding place as they may bite. Pain in dogs is also associated with changes in eating and drinking, a decrease in energy level and activity, swelling, constricted or dilated pupils, and a change in posture, among many other symptoms.
  • Stress:
    When dogs are stressed, they may lower their heads but remain looking at you, showing the whites of their eyes. This position is a common precursor to a dog biting or attacking. Barking, a low hanging tail, and quick panting are also signs a dog is stressed.

How to Keep a Dog from Biting?

If you think your dog is about to bite, learn here what to do and how to prevent dog bites.

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