With "Dog Bite Prevention Week" just behind us, Good Sit feels the need to express the importance of dog bite prevention! You and your family are far less likely to be bitten if you know the signs and help educate others as well.
RECOGNIZE BODY LANGUAGE
Dominance Based Aggression - A dominant dog may make themselves look bigger. Their ears may be up and forward. Fur on their body may stand straight up or puff out. Their tail may stand straight up, or even wag. Their body may be stiff with a straight legged stance, leaning toward whatever they think is an threat. A dominant dog may also bare teeth, growl or bark.
Fear Based Aggression - A fearful dog may also bite when it feels threatened. Their body may shrink to the ground, tail between their legs, lower their head and repeatedly lick their lips. They may lay their ears back, yawn and avoid eye contact. A fearful dog may also stay very still or even roll on their back to expose their stomach, which can often be confused with the dog wanting to be pet. They may try to retreat and hide and if they feel there is nowhere to go, they will bite.
It is our job as pet parents to take responsibility and properly educate and socialize our dogs. Make sure your dog is exposed to all sorts of situations from a young age. If you rescue an older dog, socializing them to situations which may have previously been traumatizing can be difficult. However, any dog can learn to tolerate most situations. It just may take a lot more time and patience.
Avoid playing games like Tug-Of-War with your dog. These games may not seem aggressive, but it is actually teaching your dog dominant behavior. Especially allowing your dog to win the game will teach them to not let go of things until they "win." Try games like fetch, teaching your dog to release the ball, then rewarding them with a treat.
Above all, please remember to spay and neuter your pets. This will stop unwanted pregnancies and many moms become overly aggressive when protecting their young. This will also decrease aggression in males and prevent testicular tumors and cancer! Please share this with all of the pet parents you know. The more we know, the better off we will be living with our adorable four-legged friends.
Written by Ashlee Clement