Dog Bites Happen. To act as if every incident is avoidable is naïve; however, a good percentage could certainly be prevented. We must learn to first stop the provoking behavior, and second, recognize signs that the dog has reached his limit.
Unfortunately, more often than not, children are the ones who end up on the other side of the canine’s canines. Parents need to teach their children to treat animals with respect and this means not taunting, teasing, growling, barking, poking, pinching, squeezing or climbing on them. Even if a dog has been seemingly complacent when enduring such, chances are that it is becoming aggravated and could eventually snap. Biting is in a dog’s nature. It is a means by which they play with each other and also a defense mechanism when they feel threatened.
Every dog has a different annoyance threshold and since they cannot verbally iterate their feelings, it is important to be hyper aware of the “body” language they can communicate. There are clear physical cues that the dog has become irritated. Common signs of such agitation are licking of lips when food is not present, cowering, lowering ears to the side, panting when not hot or thirsty, looking side to side, acting confused, or trying to get away. If a dog shows ANY of these signs, leave him alone for a while and try approaching again later if you so choose.
Heed these warning signs when they become evident, but ideally, try to avoid escalating to this point in the first place. By appreciating and respecting these loyal animals, chances are very high that they will return the love.