Subtle Signs of Dog Aggression: More on Dog Body Language
The more I hang out on the Internet, the more horrified I am.
Just Google “Dog bites baby” and you will find horrifying videos of diverse breeds of dogs being videotaped, biting children.
And, although it is horrifying, in some respects, it is important that the average person watch these videos so that they can understand more about dog behavior.
I just wrote an article about two of these videos.
In the first video, the dog doesn’t show any blatant warning. I can see the signs the moment the video starts, but I suppose the average person doesn’t always notice the subtle signs.
If you want to see the video, here it is:
In the second video, a very blatantly aggressive small dog is held still while he barks, snarls, growls and snaps and a tiny hand is encouraged to pet this dog… until the dog reaches his limit and he lashes out and bites the hand.
This is totally the fault of the adult humans who are videotaping and holding the dog still. I am saddened that charges were not brought in this case, as the dog is clearly protesting and telling everyone that he is about to bite.
Both situations are horrifyingly sad, because neither had to happen.
Both dogs are giving information that they are uncomfortable.
But, I can assure you that I couldn’t continue to live with a dog that bit my child.
Signs of Dog Aggression
In the first video, I hope that the mother is just too uneducated about dog language to notice the subtle signs, so let’s discuss and share the signs of dog aggression so these sad videos can cease.
It is crucial to respect what the dog is saying during both the blatant and subtle signs of aggression.
Do NOT ignore these signs like in the second video. There will always be a “first” bite and it could be devastating!
Stiffening (freezing of the body)
Looking away (note that dogs in both videos looked away prior to biting)
Hard dark pupils
Whale eye (flashing of the whites of the eyes just prior to the bite)
Trying to get away
Wagging (yes, a fast stiff wag is often seen prior to a bite)
Lips drawn back (this may look like a submissive grin but can also be a sign of stress – seen in the first video)
Lips forward (this often happens just prior to a growl with the lips tightening)
Body Posture and Dog Body Language
Both a fearful dog and an blatantly dominantly aggressive dog should be judged as a threat.
Tail tucked (may wag)
Body stiff but tucked back, as if ready to run
Lunging forward and then running backward
Lips drawn up
Eyes hard and darting
Dominant Aggressive Posture
Tail HIGH, most likely will be wagging
Body stiff but leaning forward as if ready to pounce
Lips drawn tight
Eyes hard and staring straight at you
These are all very serious signs of aggression that should be respected!
It is crucial to keep yourself, but even more crucial to keep your children, from being bitten.
Not all dogs like children.
Some dogs even see children as prey.
You must be vigilant to educate your children and ensure that they are not bitten!
If I had children of my own, I would almost rather they be scared of dogs than running toward all dogs. I would also rarely let them pet dogs, unless I was 100% sure that they were safe.
Please like and share with your friends to keep this epidemic from spreading.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.