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How Can I Prevent My Dog From Biting?
 

These 8 tips are crafted by Dr. Kang Nee, a certified professional dog trainer who works with us to help the dogs at our shelter – www.cheerfuldogs.com

A dog seldom bites ‘out of the blue’. It usually starts with the dog communicating its discomfort in being in a particular situation through a display of stress signals, e.g. turning away, lip licking, yawning, shaking off, closing its mouth, stress panting, growling etc. When these signals are repeatedly ignored but we continue to put the dog in that stressful situation, the dog reaches its limit of tolerance, and bites in an attempt to escape or protect itself. Inappropriate training methods, such as the use of punitive or aversive techniques, often escalate the problem. Punitive or aversive training techniques include the use of choke chains, prong or pinch collars, shock collars, alpha rolls, neck jabs, harsh verbal reprimands, and flooding the dog through prolonged exposure to a situation.

If your dog shows signs of aggression, and you’re not sure of what to do, please consult a qualified trainer or behaviourist to help you and your dog.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #1

In this photo, the man is setting up the dog for a potential bite. The dog’s body is stiff, its tail is tucked under, its ears are pulled back, its eyes are wide in a hard stare and its mouth is closed. It can’t escape because the man has it in a tight hold as he forces a kiss on the dog’s cheek.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, it would be the one to pay the price, not the human.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #2

In this photo, the boy is in danger of a potential bite. The dog’s body is stiff, its ears are pulled back, the pupils of its eyes are dilated, and its mouth is closed. It’s wearing a prong collar, which may be decorative, or suggests that a punitive form of training may have been used on this dog.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and stop your children from hugging a dog, especially one that’s unfamiliar or doesn’t enjoy being hugged. Take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, both the dog and boy may pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #3

 In this photo, the dog is growling to show its discomfort. Never punish a dog for growling. A dog growls as an attempt to diffuse a potentially threatening situation, not to escalate it. But if its growl is ignored or punished, without the removal of the perceived threat, the dog may escalate to a snap or a bite.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, the dog would be the one to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #4

In this photo, the human is playing inappropriately with the dog. Your hands, fingers and feet are not toys! The dog is clearly stressed – its ears are folded far back. If such inappropriate play continues, what started off as playful or rough play, may become a potential bite situation.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate.  If this dog bites, the dog would be the one to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #5

In this photo, the human has set up both dogs in a situation in which they’re clearly uncomfortable. Not all dogs enjoy being photographed, much less being forced into such close proximity. By now you’d be able to recognize the stress signals – dilated pupils, whale eye, ears pinned back, closed mouth, stiff body posture, leaning away. If both dogs are stretched beyond their tolerance limit, they may snap.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If these dogs bite, they would be the ones to pay the price.

 

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #6

In this photo, the child pets the dog on its head and the dog is clearly uncomfortable. It avoids looking at the child, its mouth is closed, its ears are pinned back and its body is stiff. Most dogs do not like being petted repeatedly on the head.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and stop your children from petting a dog on its head, especially one that’s unfamiliar or doesn’t enjoy being petted in this way. Take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If this dog bites, both the dog and girl may pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #7

In this photo, what may have started off as play between the 2 dogs has escalated into a potential bite or fight situation. Note the whale eyes in both dogs. The bigger dog has bared its teeth in warning, but the smaller dog continues to chase and nip at it. Neither dog has the loose, wriggly body language that shows they’re enjoying the interaction, instead, they’re stiff. The smaller dog also wears a choke chain, which may be decorative, or suggests that a punitive form of training may have been used on this dog.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and monitor how your dog plays with another. Intervene if you see play escalating into a potential bite or fight situation. Take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If these dogs bite, they would be the ones to pay the price.

Dog Bite Prevention Tip #8

In this photo, the human is putting both dogs at risk by teasing them. Both dogs are highly stressed – note the exaggerated lip licking, whale eyes (in the dog on the left), while the dog on the right has turned its head away. No matter what the occasion might be, one should never tease a dog.

Be polite to a dog. Learn to read its body language and take steps to help your dog be comfortable in every day situations, through force free, reward-based training. Avoid putting it in stressful situations that are unnecessary and inappropriate. If these dogs bite, they would be the ones to pay the price.