Dogs can bring incredible joy to you and your family. Often, adults and children alike will brighten at the opportunity to meet a new friendly dog.
When dogs are anxious or aggressive, it can turn a happy moment into a devastating one instantly. However, you can deescalate a problematic situation before it starts when you know what to watch for.
These are some of the typical traits of dogs who may bite.
Watching for worried behavior
A dog cannot tell you that it feels nervous and would like more space. Instead, the dog will use it’s voice and body language to send warning signs that it feels uncomfortable. When you are meeting a new dog, watch for signals, such as:
- A still body with a wagging tail
- Intentional avoidance of eye contact
Also, pay attention to the owner. In some cases, owners see their dog’s anxious behavior as rude and try to coax the dog into being more friendly. If this is the case, back away and let the owner know you can give the dog its space.
Pay attention to the surroundings
A dog’s environment will determine much of how it interacts with strangers. A dog that is confident and ready to make new friends at home may be less comfortable on a busy restaurant patio during happy hour.
When dogs are stressed, and a trigger pushes them past their breaking point, they will act out by biting. A dog that is stressed by its environment will look around nervously and stay near the people it already knows. Remember, stressed dogs are dogs that need their space.
On the other hand, a comfortable dog will make eye contact and have relaxed ears. Keep in mind, even with a calm dog, check in with the owner before you move in to greet or pet the dog.