7 Signs A Dog Might Bite And How To Stop It!


Last Updated on June 4, 2020

© The Spruce Pets

The common phrase of “Barking dogs don’t bite” might be right to some extent, but does this mean all quiet dogs are automatically more prone to bite you? Or that dogs who bark won’t bite you at all? We think otherwise.

There are many causes of aggression in dogs. From health problems to animal abuse or traumatic experiences, these are some of the main things that can change your dog behavior from good to bad very quickly.

If you’re a dog owner that’s looking on how to prevent dog biting or if you’re just curious about what dogs you should approach on the streets without worrying about getting bitten, keep reading to find out more!

1. Having A Wagging Tail

We always heard that tail wagging is a sign of happiness or excitement, but unfortunately, that might not always be the case.

Just like cats and many other animals, dogs tend to use their tales in many ways, side to side, up and down, and in many different rhythms.

And of course, these variations mean something.

A scared dog will have his tail down, almost being swallowed by their legs. A happy dog will have his tail upwards and in a curvy shape. A dog who’s ready to fight will most likely wag their tail upwards, but very rigidly and fast.

2. Possessing A Stiff Posture

The dog body language is not that different from the human one.

When we’re feeling happy and excited, our body tends to flow naturally, our arms move freely, and so does our body. However, when we feel scared or angry, we tend to slow down, have more control over our movements, and overall looking very stiff.

The same goes for an angry dog. They get super stiff, with their ears and tail upwards.

You can see this by their stance and especially when you first touch them.

If you decide to touch a dog and his body completely freezes, you should get away as soon as possible to avoid a likely aggressive behavior from the dog.

3. They Are Growling And Snapping

If you’re wondering why dogs bare their teeth, then you probably never saw an angry dog before!

This one is probably the most known behavior that a dog is about to attack: growling while showing their teeth. Whether you have an aggressive dog or not, whenever they show such behaviors, you should immediately step back.

Sometimes they do it in self-defense, with no intention to bite. This can happen when you approach or touch a dog who is sleeping or eating.

Abused dogs do this the most. So if you suspect this might be the case, don’t be too harsh on your dog, give them space and some alone time.

On the other hand, if your dog growls at strangers on the street whenever he goes for a walk, then it’s best to use one of those dog muzzles for biting prevention.

4. A Raised Fur

It’s not just cats who get their hair all spiked up when they feel threatened, dogs do it too! Maybe they aren’t as dramatic with it as cats are, but the meaning behind it is the same.
When it comes to dogs, it’s the fur on their back, around the neck area that stands up, sometimes it happens to their tails as well.

Even though it’s something you might not notice at first, start paying more attention to it, who knows, it might help you escape from a potential dog bite.

5. Tail Tucking

Just like we’ve said previously, a tucked tail means a dog is apprehensive and scared.

Even though it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to bite you, it means they are uncomfortable enough to do something unexpected, such as biting.

When a dog has this type of stance, do not approach them, wait for them to come to you, smell your hand, and then you can try petting them.

6. Lip Licking and Yawning

If your dog is licking his lips in situations where there’s no food involved, then it might mean something is going on, especially if they are also yawning and/or turning their head to avoid eye contact.

This means they are uncomfortable with something. Maybe they’re around a strange dog, or it’s their first time meeting children.

All you have to know is that dogs who are uncomfortable or afraid are likely to bite, not because they want to, but because they feel threatened.

7. Eyes Wide Open

Do you know when dogs have that cute “regretful” look? Well, the reasons behind that look aren’t as “cute” as you might think.

Whenever you see the whites or “sclera” of the dog’s eye, it usually means their eyes are frozen. They move their head slightly, but their eyes stay wide and looking in a certain way.

This is a sign of anxiety, that shouldn’t be overlooked. Anxious or stressed dogs might bite you if you give them reasons to, so stay back and wait for them to relax a little bit before you attempt to come near them.

Anxiety is something that should be treated, so if you want a healthy dog on the outside and inside, go to your dogs vet for advice.

You should always reflect on why your dog is behaving the way he is. If he’s a trained dog who suddenly changed his behavior, then he might have experienced some traumatic experience that you don’t know of. And if your dog is naturally aggressive, then opt by incorporating some dog training into his routine, it helps dogs with discipline and obeying you.

Just remember there’s no exact way on how to stop a dog from biting, but you can help them and prevent such behaviors by providing a safe home, food, and the right balance between love and discipline.