Why Do Dogs Bite? Signs of Fear in Dogs (Infographic)
Dogs can’t tell us they’re scared or let us know they want to be left alone with words, but they do tend to give us plenty of warning with their behavior. Often, biting is a last resort.
Sometimes, we mistake certain actions for quirks when they are actually signs of fear and anxiety. And when a dog’s fear levels rise too high, it can lead to potentially dangerous behavior.
Before Earth Rated was formed to bring you the best poop bags, and dog wipes on the market, some of our team members worked in shelters and rescues. After learning how to identify scared and aggressive dogs, we’ve created this infographic for you to be able to tell when a dog is on edge.
If you notice these behaviors in a dog, proceed with caution. Or if your dog has been acting strangely, contact your veterinarian to find ways to help your dog feel safe and secure. Recognizing signs of fear in dogs can go a long way when it comes to preventing dog bites and aggression.
Now that you’ve learned the signs of fear in dogs, there are steps you can take to make your interactions with them go a little smoother. We asked Sébastien, a certified positive reinforcement dog trainer from Bravo Fido, for his top tips for interacting with anxious dogs:
1. Learn about dog body language. Getting a basic understanding of stress signs and postures will help you see when a dog is uncomfortable and reduce the risk you put pressure on a pup who’s not ready for close contact!
2. Keep your distance from anxious dogs and pretend they’re not there. This might feel counterintuitive since our first reflex would be to soothe and comfort them. For an anxious dog, however, looks, speech, or touches from a stranger can be highly distressing. If you’re around an anxious dog, always give him lots of room when moving around and avoid looking, speaking, or touching him. Let the dog observe you from afar and wait for them to make the first move toward you.
3. Treats galore! If you want to befriend an anxious dog, it might help to toss a treat to them without looking. Check with the dog’s owner for appropriate foods and whenever you walk by, ignore the pup but toss them a tasty snack. Over time, the dog will learn that you’re a cool person who also happens to be a treat dispenser.
Through all this, be patient. The dog gets to decide when and how they wish to befriend you (or not!). Some shy dogs, once feeling safe, will become your best buds. Others will be comfortable around you but aloof and that’s ok too! With these tips, you’ll be set up for success either way.
Next article: Why Do Dogs Chew and Lick Their Paws?