Reasons Your Dog May Bite

A well loved dog may never bite anyone, but if they do, why did they do it? What do you do next? If you understand why they bit someone, you can work out what to do. If you have children, always teach them never to just go up to a dog and try to stroke it. Children are the most likely to be bitten because they don't understand how a dog may sense them as a threat.

Dog bites can be very nasty, so here's how you can prevent one.

Understanding your dog

So why did your dog bite? There are a few possible reasons.

Possessiveness. Just like a child, if you go to suddenly take away their favourite toy or food, they won't like it. A child will cry, a dog may bite. If you train your dog from an early age, they are less likely to react in this type of situation. Make your dog sit and wait while you put their food down, or tell them to wait while you take it away and put it back.

Fear. If you're afraid, instinct kicks in and dogs are no exception. Never sneak up on a dog, particularly if it's sleeping and in unfamiliar surroundings, keep them on a leash. If you're dog is trained how to react around dogs and strangers from a young age, they are less likely to be fearful of strangers and other dogs as they get older.

Being a mum. If your dog has puppies, be very careful how you approach them. They are her pride and joy and she will protect them all she can. Always approach with caution, and if she shows aggression stop where you are. If you're careful, she may watch you closely while you handle one of her pups, but watch her in case she starts to get stressed. Puppies are great fun for children, but try to supervise children if they want to see or play with the pups.

Pain. We none of us like being in pain and when we are, it can make us very short tempered. If you notice your dog growling if you touch a certain area, have them checked at the vet as they may have a problem. Touching an area which is sore can cause the dog to bite as a reflex.

Predatory behaviour. A dog will always look after its territory and if a stranger comes in to it - they attack. You hear so many stories of postmen being bitten, and this is why.  Teaching your dog while a puppy that people don't always represent danger, will help them to distinguish between friendly strangers and those that can't be trusted. If you know your dog is territorial, don't leave them in the garden unattended.

What to do if they bite

A lot of people react strongly when a dog bites, accusing them of being anti social, aggressive and in some cases demanding they be put down.  This is often not necessary, and a better understanding of a dog's behaviour is all that is needed. If your dog is particularly aggressive they may need a professional trainer, but understanding dogs goes a long way to prevent scaring a dog and avoiding a nasty bite.  

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