Dog owners who struggle with their dog’s aggressive behavior and especially those whose dogs have already bitten another dog or human, often wonder what the causes for this behavior are and what they can do to stop it. The main concern of course is to prevent a dog bite from ever happening again.
Sometimes a dog bites; however, there are many reasons why a dog might choose to bite. Let’s have a look at the main causes of a dog bite.
Causes of a Dog Bite Include Aggression
Every year in the U.S. more than 800,000 dog bites result in the need for medical attention, and 17 are fatal. 50% of children that suffer a dog bite are under the age of 13. Make no mistake every dog can bite. Thankfully, most do not. There are 6 main reasons why a dog might bite.
1. Dominance Aggression
When the cause of a dog bite is dominance aggression, most times the family is the victim. Something as innocent as moving your dog off the bed, or stepping over a dog could lead to your dog biting. It’s your dog’s warning that you should know better.
In these situations, your dog thinks she is in charge and that you as a human have not earned the pack status to tell her what to do. Some breeds are more likely to show dominance aggression, as are unneutered males. You can work within the limitations of your dog, and you can also spend time training your dog so there is less dominance aggression.
2. Protecting Your Property and Your Valuables
Some pet owners feel that the way to protect their property and their valuable is to have their dog act in an aggressive manner. The trouble is your dog can very quickly take this to the extreme. Your dog may protect one member of the family from another; she may protect her food or toys, etc. When a dog becomes territorial, there is no limit as to what she may choose to claim as her territory. Early training can create a workable solution.
3. Fear Aggression
Dogs with fear aggression generally will direct it towards a stranger, which is why veterinarians will muzzle a dog they are unsure of. Most dogs can be fearful in a situation that is unfamiliar, which is why a dog that lives in a quiet adult home may become fearful when there are noisy youngsters running around, barking and nipping to warn them.
All breeds can experience fear aggression. If your dog is showing signs of fear aggression it is important that you deal with it in a firm, neutral manner taking corrective action. You should not pet or coddle your dog telling her it’s all right, as this can reinforce the bad behavior.
4. Maternal Aggression
The first couple of weeks after your female gives birth, her puppies depend on her for survival, and even the best-trained dog may show signs of maternal aggression to protect her puppies. Do not leave children alone with a nursing mother, and always give her some additional space.
5. Redirected Aggression
The most common reason for redirected aggression to occur is when a person is attempting to break up a dogfight and thus becomes the victim of a bite meant for the other dog. The best way to break up a fight is to use water or loud noises and to avoid getting your body parts in-between the fighting dogs.
6. Pain Aggression
If your dog is in pain, she may bite. Even a gentle dog can bite if she is hurt or in pain.
Other Causes of a Dog Bite
- Old and grumpy
- Having a bad day
- Has no patience with children
- Has been provoked
- Has been mauled
- Has been startled
- Has accidently bit when playing too rough
- Has had her prey drive initiated
- Is a herding breed where nipping to herd is common
The causes of a dog bite can be numerous. It is important that you evaluate the situation and then take corrective action.
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