Preventing Dog Bites

Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 11-17th this year (2021).

During this time, we want to take a moment to share our knowledge on dog behavior and their body language in hopes that we can help encourage safe interactions with your pup and/or others!

Dogs are similar to us in which they communicate through body language. This is where they may give us signs that let us know they are stressed, uncomfortable, or happy, excited, etc.! Preventing dog bites can almost always come down to being able to successfully read a dog’s body language and taking the correct action to follow.

Each dog can give off different signals of stress. One pup may give an obvious growl. Another pup maybe tuck their tail and whine, show their belly, or lick their lips. A bold stance could be another. It is important to be as attentive as possible when monitoring interactions between animals to prevent incidents like bites from happening.

A growl is a dog saying, “I am uncomfortable right now and something needs to change before the situation escalates”. We WANT a pup to growl if they are scared or uncomfortable, as it is a very obvious tell that they are going to react negatively if there is not an immediate change soon. We would not punish a person for saying, “I don’t like this, I am uncomfortable” so it is important that we respect our animals in the same way.

All dogs have different thresholds for what level of anxiety/fear/discomfort they will tolerate (by "tolerate" we mean they still show other body language signs of discomfort but they do not do an action that would inflict harm) before they escalate to biting. And when you're with an unfamiliar dog you have no idea what that level is, whether they are comfortable with other dogs, what type of dogs they are comfortable with, etc.

Some dogs do not like other dogs, and that's okay. Some dogs only like small dogs, or big dogs, or relaxed dogs. The point is we don't know when first meeting a new pup so it is always important to keep YOUR dog on leash and under your control at all times when outside. Keep your distance walking in the vicinity of unfamiliar dogs. Do not let them get close enough to make contact. Cross the street or take a different route altogether if one or both dogs are reacting from a distance. All of these precautions can prevent dog bites from being inflicted onto you or your animal. 

If you notice one of these stress signals from your pup (or another) and you can tell your pet is uncomfortable, it is important that the person and/or animal interacting backs away and is removed immediately from the situation. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

We think these visuals below are very helpful! Please feel free to reach out to any of our staff for any questions! We are always here to help!

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