Puppy love or dog companionship is something that we encounter on a daily basis. Obviously, we do love our pets a lot, and think they are the most harmless and innocent creatures. But, what we often overlook is the fact that they are just as capable of aggression, anger, vulnerability, and fear. Here, we discuss the pertinent issue of dog aggression and dog bites, and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from dog bites.

There are several myths about dogs, and few of them actually lead to dog bites. In this post, we deconstruct those myths and tell you why they should be examined now.

This Breed of Dog is Entirely Safe for Children

Dogs are absolutely the cutest things on this planet. Look at them. Maltese are the friendliest dogs on the planet, pugs can’t hurt a thing, and labradors are just so playful and loyal. Of course, all of this is true, but what is also true is that no breed of dog is entirely safe for your child – especially for toddlers and infants. Children lack developed cognitive skills and often end up doing a lot of cruel things to your pet unintentionally, like pulling their fur, falling on them, forcefully putting fingers into their mouth, sitting on them (or worse, their tail), and snatching away their toys.

All of these actions are irritable for your pup and can cause your dog to get anxious, annoyed, angry, and then finally bite. Do not assume it to be just playfulness and bonding between your baby and pup. Always supervise their interactions, and pay attention to your dog’s body language. If it is trying to avert gaze and move away, step in and take your toddler away from the dog. Just like us, dogs have a certain level of patience, beyond which they snap. Take care of your dog, and make it feel secure. At the same time, teach your children from a young age to be kind toward all.

So, do not assume that just because you own a friendly breed, it won’t bite at all. And always supervise interactions between the dog and children.

Tail Wagging is Always a Good Sign

Platitudes are cause of much misery. One such platitude is that when a dog wags its tail, it is showcasing a friendly demeanor. Dog behavior experts differ in their studies. While wagging of tail can be regarded as a friendly gesture, it is not so in all situations. Observe this behavior closely. When the dog is casually wagging its tail and his body seems relaxed, or is simply swaying with the tail, it is indeed a behavior of comfort and camaraderie.

On the other hand, if the dog is holding his body rigid and erect, and the tail is quickly moving to and fro, it is a warning sign. The dog is tensed, uncomfortable, and may bite soon. Never approach such a dog, do not meet its eyes, and remember this really is the worst time for petting. Move away from the dog, and let it regain calmness and composure.

Dogs Like Physical Contact from Strangers

Why do we simply assume that any and every dog we find cute will be absolutely thrilled to have us hug it, cuddle it, and do all sorts of things? They do not enjoy stranger strangulation. Simply put, dogs resist physical contact from strangers, and if pushed too far, will bite you.

If a dog growls or snaps when you get too close to it, it is absolutely necessary that you let it be and give the dog its space. Some dogs will be more than happy to get all the attention from you, but some won’t. Give the dog some time and space, get to know it a little more, and then if you see it emitting friendly signals, you can indulge in some physical contact.

Dogs Are Not Territorial with Their Own Kind

The canine family is inherently territorial. However, there are quite a few who believe that dogs are not territorial when it comes to their own breed or younger pups. This is untrue. When your dog sees that you are giving more attention to another puppy or dog, it automatically becomes possessive and territorial. You will see your dog’s body becoming rigid and the hair on its back, neck, and tail stand up. It will also growl louder than usual and bare its teeth repeatedly. Your dog at this moment needs you to put everything away and concentrate on it entirely. Be warned that if, at this moment, you do not pay heed to your dog, it will pounce on you – or, worse, on the pup that is the source of jealousy. This will also not be a good time to let the pup get playful with you or your dog. Insecurity and anxiety are powerful motives for biting. Add to the fear that you might lose importance, and the stage is all set for a dog bite.

Aggression in Dogs Can Be Suppressed

After reading the above signs and symptoms, if you think that the best way to control and avoid your dog from biting is to suppress the signs by being harsh and strict with it, you couldn’t be more wrong. Shouting at the dog or keeping it on leash whenever it shows signs of aggression or anxiety equates to suppression of your dog’s emotions. The dog consciously stops emitting signals like the whale’s eye, lip licking, or tail tucking. But this can prove to be even more dangerous, because such a tamed and fearful dog will bite without any warning, and such bites are known to be much more fiercer and painful.

Repercussions of a Dog Bite

A dog usually gives many warning signs before it bites. Once you start to take notice of these warning signs that dogs emit, you can counter dog aggression to a large extent. But, sometimes, even dog owners fail to recognize symptoms in their dogs, and someone is injured. If you or your loved one is bitten by  a dog without any provocation, get immediate medical aid, and consult a dog bite attorney. As a dog bite victim, you must be compensated for all the medical expenses, and pain and suffering that you have endured.

Here’s to hoping this article has been helpful, and that you enjoy some safe and fun puppy love. Dog owner, or dog aficionado, or simply someone who has knowledge about dogs: Add your thoughts on these myths in the comments section.