Warning Signs That A Dog Will Bite

Signs A Dog Will Bite

Dogs are great animals and excellent pets in most cases. However, the fact remains that dogs can often be aggressive and will bite people. These bites can range from small nicks and scratches to very serious injuries, depending on the size and aggressiveness of the dog when it actually bites you. Below are a number of signs to look for that a dog may be about to bite you, as well as what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

Growling, Snapping and Bearing of Teeth

Dog Showing Teeth

One of the most obvious signs a dog might be ready to bite you if you get any closer is growling, snapping and the bearing of teeth. This is what dogs do in the wild when are feeling frightened or are just being aggressive. The entire action is meant to be intimidating and is usually a clear sign that you want to stay away from the dog and slowly move out of it’s vicinity.

A Strange Tail Wag

While the wagging of a tail is usually something that means a dog is excited to see you and wants to be very friendly, there are some tail wags that are actually signs a dog is a little hesitant and is considering biting you. The real sign of what a dog is thinking is in it’s body when the tail is wagging. If you see the entire body of the dog getting involved in the wag, then it is definitely being friendly and excited. However, if the dog’s body is more rigid and the tail is wagging just slightly, then it is on guard and unsure of what might happen next, meaning it may decide to bite you.

Raised Hackles

Hair Sticking Up Dog

Like cats, certain types of dogs’ hair will stand on end when they are afraid or about to attack. It usually raises along the ridge of their back, near their neck or tails or along the entire length of the back, also called the hackles. This varies per breed, as some dogs never have their hair raised when they are about to get aggressive. However, of you notice this on a dog that is acting strange when you encounter it, keep your distance or proceed with caution.

Cowering and Tail Tucking

Dog Cowering

When dogs cower and tuck their tails it means that they are frightened or upset about something. And while you might want to console them when they are doing this to make them feel better, be warned that their reaction to your attempt to pet them may be to bite your hand. If a dog cowers from you, give them their space and allow them to approach you in their own time, so they feel comfortable around you. Any biting that may occur when a dog is doing this is just protecting itself and usually biting due to it’s own anxiety and fear.

What To Do If A Dog May Bite

If you believe a dog might try to bite if you go near it or may try to attack anyway, there are a number of things you can do. First, keep your eyes on the dog and prepare to confront it if the dog does charge. This will surprise the dog, as they are trying to get the upper hand if they are attempting to be aggressive. At the same time, you will want to back off and move away from the animal. Don’t turn and run, as this will encourage the dog to chase and attack, if that’s what it intends to do. If the dog isn’t going to attack, then give it space and let it come to you before you pet it.

About Bart Beier

Bart Beier returned to Pittsburgh to open a private law practice after completing his education at Harvard University. He then co-founded the firm of Beier, Beier & Beier with his wife Mary. Bart has extensive litigation experience in a wide range of personal injury cases including slip and falls, auto accidents, and defective products. He provides clients with special insight into insurance practices, having worked for two major insurers before practicing law. Bart also has developed considerable real estate expertise with 35 years of experience. He has personally done over 2,000 real estate closings and has been a real estate title agent for over 20 years. Bart works with both residential and commercial real estate clients throughout Pennsylvania.