Behavior Cues and Dog Bite Prevention


Behavior Cues and Dog Bite Prevention

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville Dog Bite Lawyer. Each year, more than 4.5 million people suffer dog bites. Nearly 1 million of those injuries require a trip to a hospital and medical treatment. Dog bites are traumatic, especially for children who are frequently the victims of bites. Unmanaged aggressive behavior results in many dogs being surrendered or even put down each year. Dog bites are bad for people and dogs.

Puppy Therapy

Dogs, like humans, are emotional creatures. A happy dog might wag its tail, a sad dog might mope around waiting for its human- a scared dog might bite. In fact, most dogs who bite are acting out of fear. While dogs might struggle with words, learning to understand some of their behaviors can help pet owners and others to communicate better with “man’s best friend,” and hopefully add a useful tool to avoid being bitten.

Dog to English

When a dog is feeling nervous or anxious, there are usually a few warning signs that might cue a person in. You might not be able to read a dog’s emotional indicators, especially if you are unfamiliar with that particular animal. It is always a good idea to ask the dog owner’s permission before petting their dog- and respect that “no” might be for your safety.

Like people, some dogs are more outgoing than others. For some, meeting new people can be a stressful experience- at least initially. A dog with a calm, relaxed posture wagging its tail is likely an animal that wouldn’t mind being pet. However, a dog that is frightened with its ears flattened and tail tucked might be so terrified of you that it may bite in “defense.” Anxious, nervous, and frightened dogs will show you how they feel with body language.

Warning Signs

Some of the most common behavioral cues to alert you to a dogs nervous or frightened emotional state can be observed in the dog’s body language. Signs that a dog may not want your attention include:

  • Cowering
  • ears back or flattened
  • tail tucked
  • licking lips when no food is present
  • panting when not hot
  • yawning and pacing

If approached when any of these signs are present, the dog may snarl, snap, or even bite.

Your Dog

If your dog is known to bite or nip, it is very important to take action to address inappropriate behavior. Learning to interpret signs of fear and common triggers can help you condition your dog to have a happier, healthier life. You might need to avoid certain situations, but sometimes the risk to your dog and other people is too high.

Related Articles and Video by Roseville Dog Bite Lawyer Ed Smith

Roseville Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville dog bite lawyer. Dogs can be wonderful pets, but not all people are cut out to be dog owners. If you or someone you love has suffered from a dog bite, please call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice with no obligation.

I have been recognized by the Million Dollar Forum. Forum members have obtained million-dollar settlements and case verdicts for their injured clients.

Some of the results I’ve achieved for my clients are summarized here: verdicts and settlements

My clients have left many comments and reviews posted on AvvoGoogle Plus and Yelp.

Visit my website for more information on personal injuries at

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Australian Terrier by Karen Arnold. CC0
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