Why Does a Dog Bite?

Just like our own mood swings, sometimes our furry friends have a lapse in their dispositions and become a little more aggressive than we’d like. This doesn’t mean it’s unsafe to ever be around your dog again, as there are lots of reasons why a dog might bite you or someone you know. That being said, you don’t want a temporary lapse in your dog’s mood to cause you any trouble in court or with animal control. The best way to avoid an incident is to know the cause that might trigger the bite reaction in the first place and then take steps to avoid putting yourself and others in harms way.

Here are a Few Reasons that Dogs Might Bite You or Another Person.

Redirected Aggression

Often times when dogs get into a fight, they are acting on instinct and adrenaline and are not concerned with other aspects of their surroundings. You should avoid putting your hands anywhere near a dogfight and instead use a stick or loud noises to break up a dogfight.

Defense/ Feel Threatened

When dogs are protecting their toys, home, people, or themselves they can become aggressive. To avoid aggression when dealing with their toys or food, use obedience training to dispel some of the dominant possessive behavior. Training will also help with possessiveness of the people and home as well. You can also help by letting the dog meet new people gradually. You should advise visitors to not make any aggressive moves, even if they are joking, toward your dog. Let them know to never corner your dog, because if they corner your dog and it feels it can’t escape, it may resort to violence.

Dominance Aggression Obedience training can help dispel aggresive behavior.

Dogs who bite due to dominance aggression feel they are the leader of the household. They don’t believe you have the right to tell them what to do and will act accordingly. Obedience training as early as possible will curb this behavior and so will spaying or neutering the aggressive dog. You will need to monitor dominant aggressive dogs more carefully and avoid putting them in situations that will trigger undesired behavior.


Dogs can hide their pain fairly well. If your dog inexplicably bites you and you can find no other reason for the aggression, they might be in pain. You could have accidentally petted a sore spot and a warning nip of instinct might be the result. If this is the case, try taking your dog to the vet. The vet will be able to identify your dog’s injury and get them back to their healthy selves.

Maternal Aggression

If your dog is a new mother then she will be protective of her puppies. To avoid aggression bites during this time, let her have her space until she is ready to allow people around her puppies.

Prey Instincts

If you are playing an aggressive game with your dog, like tug of war and you are bitten, it was most likely an accident. Your dog was probably reaching for the toy and got you instead. Try switching to a different game like fetch that will satisfy their prey instinct and keep you out of harms way.

Dogs don’t always mean to bite and accidents do happen, but you can minimize them by knowing your dog’s tendencies and the situation. Always keep an eye on your pet when they are around strangers no matter how well behaved they are to avoid incidents. Knowing the reasons why dogs can become aggressive will help you keep your dog from biting others and help you stay clear of strange dogs that might cause you problems.

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