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Signs That Your Dog May Bite

Under the right circumstances, all dogs will bite. This may happen when the dog is guarding something such as its food while eating, or when it’s sufficiently provoked. A dog may bite when it’s startled, is in pain, or is otherwise not feeling well.

Preventing dog bites starts with learning to read behavior that says your dog is feeling stressed about something. Knowing how to read your pet in this way allows you to better supervise interactions between small children and your dog. It also gives you better insight into your dog’s personality, and on changing unacceptable behavior. Here are four signs that your dog is telling you or someone else to back off:

  • Growling. This is an obvious sign to most people. When a dog growls, don’t repeat or follow through with the action that triggered it. Never punish a dog for growling. This only trains it to bite without growling.
  • Averting their gaze and showing the whites of their eyes. A dog that feels uncomfortable or anxious will look away or avert its gaze. Sometimes the dog will keep its eyes fixed while turning its face away. This reveals the whites of its eyes and is sometimes called whale eye or half-moon eye. This is another sign that it wants the person to stop what he or she is doing. If you look at photos of people kissing or hugging dogs, it’s not uncommon to see some dogs exhibiting whale eye. Most dogs don’t like being kissed or hugged.
  • Licking lips and yawning. When a dog isn’t sleepy or when there’s no food present, yet it licks its lips or yawns, it’s expressing feelings of stress.
  • Flag pole tail wagging. A tail held high and rigid that waves back and forth like a flag at the end of a pole, means the dog is highly uncomfortable. Variations of this include a tail held low with only the tip wagging or a wagging tail between the legs. Happy tail wagging involves both the tail and the dog’s body.

Dogs bite as a last resort when stressed beyond what they can tolerate. Bites that seem to come out of the blue, only happen after the dog exhibited many signs of discomfort that the bite victim failed to detect. Familiarity with these signs is especially helpful when you own a rescue dog that has a history of biting, or when you own an aggressive dog breed. These types of dogs have a lower bite threshold, which requires keen observational skill on your part for any signs of discomfort.

Unfortunately, not everyone has these skills, and dog bite incidents can happen. In addition, many insurance companies exclude dogs with a history of biting as well as certain breeds. Dog bites happen, and so do lawsuits. If you’re having trouble finding animal liability insurance for your dog, XINSURANCE will help you with the coverage you need. Contact us today.