Let's Talk Dog: Understanding your dog's stress signals

Signs of an Imminent Bite


If these signs occur, cease all interaction with the dog, look away and give the dog the opportunity to leave, do not approach, do not make eye contact, do not talk to the dog. If you are touching the dog, stop and move your hands slowly away. If you are taking something from the dog, let go of it. It is better for him to keep it than for you or a child to get bitten. If you are bending over the dog, slowly straighten up and look away.

  • dog freezes - becomes suddenly stiff
  • dog stands with front legs splayed, head low, looking at you
  • dog curls lip to show teeth

A good guide for children is that if the dog is all soft and wiggly, then he is not likely to bite. If a dog is stiff like a statue then he is dangerous.

Teach children never to take from a dog and if a dog steals from them to let the dog have it. They should ask an adult to get the item back. Trade the dog for a treat to get the item back, or just let him keep it. Hire a professional to help you teach the dog that it is good to give things back.