Dogs typically bite for a reason. It may feel like it happens suddenly and without warning, but that could be because the reason was not obvious to a person, even if it was to the dog.
For instance, many young children suffer bites to the face and/or neck because they assume that a dog enjoys getting a hug or a kiss. These kids are just being affectionate, and even adults sometimes do not see any problem with it. Dogs, however, generally do not like this type of physical attention. They feel confined and threatened. They snap at the kids in response.
It is important to understand why dogs bite so that you can avoid these incidents. Twelve common reasons include:
- The dog is eating or drinking and it believes it is just protecting the food or water.
- The dog has puppies and believes that it must protect them.
- The dog feels threatened or cornered. Even nice dogs sometimes grow skittish if they think there is a threat, and a nervous dog may bite.
- The dog is trying to keep a possession. For instance, some dogs bite when children try to take away a ball or a bone, mistakenly thinking they're just playing a game.
- The dog is excited, perhaps by rough activities. Not all bites are malicious. Dogs sometimes nip at each other while playing, though doing that to a person can lead to injury.
- The dog feels like private space is getting invaded. For instance, perhaps a person tried to step over the dog or got too close to the dog's bed.
- The dog got injured. The injury may not have happened at that moment, but the dog feels vulnerable. This could make it more likely to bite at the smallest sign of a threat.
- The dog felt startled. For instance, someone woke the dog up from a nap by leaning in close to its face.
- The dog simply has an aggressive personality. Sometimes, dogs are friendly when they're young and get more aggressive as they age.
- The dog is innocently trying to take something from a person's hand -- like a treat or a toy -- but does it too aggressively and bites the person.
- The dog believes it is protecting its territory and giving chase. This is why people who jog by dogs in their own yards sometimes suffer bites.
- The dog thinks its owner is in danger. Some dogs, for instance, would instantly be on edge if the owner's friend decided to pick them up or if the two were play fighting.
Have you been bitten by a dog because of the owner's negligence? Knowing the reasons why bites happen cannot prevent every incident, and you also need to know your rights.