Dog bites and attacks can be very traumatizing for everyone involved. It is important for dog owners to recognize aggressive behaviors in their pets so that they can help prevent their dog from biting or attacking someone. Dogs will generally give subtle signals of anxiety or discomfort that aren’t always recognized by dog owners. Because they cannot speak, dogs rely on their vocalizations, gestures and postures to communicate their emotions to people and other dogs, particularly when they feel stressed, frightened or threatened. One dog wagging its tail might mean that the animal is happy to see you or wants to play. That same gesture in another dog might mean that it’s anxious or nervous.
Common signs of stress/anxiety in dogs include:
- Avoidance of people or other dogs
- Looking away
- Turning away
- Pulling away
- Walking away
- Repetitive yawning
- Repetitive licking of the lip/nose
- Tense body language
- Slow movement
- Low tail carriage
- Backward ear carriage
When owners fail to recognize signs of stress and anxiety in their dogs, they may continue to put the dog in stressful situations, thereby causing the dog to escalate to a signal that is more obvious, such as growling, snarling or snapping. Remember, you can’t predict whether a dog will bite or not based on its or and breed. Always focus on the dog’s behavior and remain watchful for signs of stress.
Steve Kuzmich is a Board Certified – Personal Injury Trial Lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The Kuzmich Law Firms’ focus practice areas are auto and trucking accidents, wrongful death and other serious injuries, injuries caused by drunk drivers, injuries to children and the elderly, (slip and fall accidents) premises liability, and dog bite cases. For further information about personal injury litigation, contact us today at 972.434.1555.