Although some dog attacks are unavoidable there are ways you can actively control a situation before it leads to an attack. In the case of a companion animal in the home, it is essential that adults are aware of the warnings signs a dog may present that indicates they are feeling stressed and may become aggressive.
Some of these behaviors include:
- Yawning, licking lips, avoiding eye contact – Though these behaviors don’t always mean that a dog will bite they are indicators that a dog may be experiencing stress about a situation.
- Rigid body – A dog that is feeling anxiety may stiffen their body as opposed to the relaxed posture you are used to seeing in your animal.
- Low growl or bared teeth – This is one of the more obvious behaviors a dog will express when they feel threatened and may potentially bite.
- Wagging tail – When a dog is comfortable or excited they will not only wag their tail but their entire body. A sign that a dog is uncomfortable will be a wagging tail that is held straight up while their body remains stiff. Their ears may also be perked.
- Raised hackles – A dog will have raised fur when they feel threatened or anxious. This indicates a dog is unhappy with a situation.
- Whites of eyes evident – A relaxed dog will not have the whites of their eyes visible. However, in the case of a stressful situation, they will widen their eyes and focus solely on the apparent threat.
If you notice any of these behaviors, and it is safe to do so, remove your dog from the situation or remove the stressor. Common stressors are a small child that has not learned how to give an animal adequate space or is heavy handed when petting.