From growling to lunging: 6 warning signs your dog displays before biting - Hindustan Times
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From growling to lunging: 6 warning signs your dog displays before biting

By, New Delhi
Jun 12, 2024 05:55 PM IST

Understanding your dog's behaviour can prevent unfortunate incidents. Here are six warning signs to watch for that may indicate your dog is about to bite.

Dogs usually show hostility long before they actually bite. Growling, snapping, snarling, flashing teeth and lunging are some examples of these warning signals. Although a well socialised dog won't normally attack, they may turn aggressive if they feel helpless and frightened. This may be the result of a perceived threat they are currently facing or simply discomfort from a previous encounter. When a dog becomes hostile, it can be very upsetting for both the owner and the community. Dogs can use body language to tell us if they are going to bite, regardless of the reason for their aggression. Knowing the signs can help prevent dog bites. (Also read: 5 ways to help your new dog settle into their home )

Understanding your dog's behaviour is key to preventing bites. (Unsplash)
Understanding your dog's behaviour is key to preventing bites. (Unsplash)

6 Signs Your Dog Might Bite

Renee Rhoades, Dog Behaviorist, shared six warning signs that your dog may display before biting in her recent Instagram post.

1. Head turns

Dogs will try to de-escalate stress with each other by turning their heads. If a dog turns their head away as you approach them, it's unlikely they are looking to engage. Dogs will try to de-escalate stress with each other by turning their heads. If a dog turns their head away as you approach them, it's unlikely they are looking to engage.

2. Crouching

Dogs may slowly move away from you to say, "Give me space," before or during an interaction. Dogs may flatten themselves, hide under something, or arc their body to avoid your touch.

3. Whale eye

Whale eye is when the dog's sclera (white) is visible. This creates a crescent moon in the dog's eye. If your dog is watching you, give them more space and observe what the rest of their body is saying.

4. Licking

Although we think of our dog's licks as positive, quick licks directed at you or around the dog's muzzle can be a sign that your dog is asking for the interaction to stop.

5. Freezing

Many dogs avoid tight embraces, especially with strangers or unpredictable people. Even though the dog isn't struggling, they may feel their choice is taken away and escalate to defend themselves.

6. Mouthing

Dogs will mouth to express fatigue, discomfort, excitement, stress or hunger. If your dog starts to mouth during an interaction, it is a good time to stop and assess.

"Be sure to look at the big picture! It is not just one part of the dog's body that we assess to get a reading on what our dog is communicating. Be sure to look at the dog's whole body and the context of the situation," says Renee.

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