Dogs are not that different from humans. They have their moods. Sometimes they feel cuddly or playful, and other times they're crabby and want to defend their territory. The difference with dogs, though, is they are animals without our self-restraint. So they are more likely to bite or attack when threatened than civilized people would be.
Like human, dogs are not impossible to read. Just like you can tell when a person is getting angry or is ready to react negatively to something, dogs give off signals, as well. Learning to recognize such signs may help keep you and your loved ones safe when you encounter other people's dogs. It's also a good idea to research options for seeking restitution should a bite occur.
Even seemingly benign behavior may signal a possible attack
You may imagine that a dog that is about to bite might growl loudly, bare its teeth, crouch low or bark. These are definite signs that an attack may be imminent to be sure; however, the following list shows other less aggressive behaviors that may also mean a dog is about to bite:
- Turning its head away: You may have witnessed this type of behavior in a human at some point in life. One person tries to talk to another and the other person, not wanting to engage in conversation, turns his or her head away. Dogs do the same thing. If you see a dog turning its head away or trying to walk away from an approaching human, it is a sign of distress that you should not take lightly.
- Sudden scratching, licking or shaking: Children and adults alike often giggle at the sight of a wet dog shaking like crazy to dry itself off. This funny behavior is also a signal that a dog is nervous and may be about to bite. The same goes for sudden bouts of licking or scratching: These may be signs of impending attack!
- Whites of eyes showing: If a dog's eyes widen so the half-moon whites are prominently visible, it's a definite sign that the dog is uneasy, which may mean a bite will follow.
- Guarding behavior: Dogs are often very protective of their young, their property and their owners. It's best never to approach a dog when it is eating, playing with a favorite toy or especially, if it is a working service dog on duty.
Dog bites can be sudden and occur unexpectedly. The injury you suffer from a dog bite can range from minor to severe. Sadly, such incidents can also prove fatal. Pet owners are often liable for their dogs' aggression, which means you can pursue financial accountability against a dog's owner for the expenses you incur because of a dog bite injury.