How to Recognize the Warning Signs of When a Dog May Bite

Bad Dog


Approximately two percent of Americans are bitten by dogs each year. The financial losses from these dog bites exceed $1 billion annually. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should immediately consult with a dog bite lawyer to protect your legal rights.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

There is a great deal of new scientific literature that sheds light on why dogs bite. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are five reasons why dogs bite:

  • The breed and the parents of the dog. Aggression is a behavior that has simply been bred into some dogs and breeds of dogs.
  • Socialization. Some dogs have been desensitized to various stimuli, and some dogs will overreact to certain stimuli, such as children playing. A dog that has been poorly socialized will have less inhibition to bite. It also will be more likely than other dogs to engage in anti-social, biting behavior.
  • Dog training. Some owners have trained their dogs to be aggressive towards people. However, other dogs have received no training and also present a danger to humans.
  • Dog’s health. If the dog is in poor health or in pain, this can lead to biting.
  • Victim behavior. Some behaviors in the victim can encourage biting. This might include acting in an aggressive fashion towards the dog.

Signs Preceding an Attack or Bite

  • Snapping or growling. Dogs do this to let you know they are not happy. You should not approach a dog that is doing growling. Also, pay attention to when the dog growls or snaps. Some dogs do not like to be approached while they are eating, for example.
  • Tail wagging. Some people are surprised that dogs sometimes wag their tails before biting. This type of tail wagging is different, however. A happy dog will wag their tail and involve the entire body. A dog getting ready to bite will be rigid, and the tail may be wagging but pointed high.
  • Raided fur. Some dogs will have raised fur on their backs when they are afraid. If you see this in a dog, it is time to back off.
  • Rigid body posture. An aggressive dog about to bite will have a rigid posture. Ears and tail will be raised. On the other hand, a happy dog’s body is relaxed, ears low and has a wagging tail.
  • Cowering. If the dog’s tail is tucked and he is cowering, this may be a sign that he is afraid of something. Fearful dogs are not always biting dogs. Still, fear does boost the chance that he may lash out and bite.

Anyone who has been bitten by a dog should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Generally, dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs. You may be entitled to damages in a personal injury lawsuit.