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If your dog tries to bite someone, it’s important to act quickly. From getting expert help to using a muzzle, there are plenty of effective ways you can stop a dog that nips or bites.
Some of the most common reasons a dog may exhibit aggression towards someone include feeling fearful or frustrated, being defensive, guarding others or intimidation. Most dogs will engage in normal mouthing or play nipping, but if you spot your dog aggressively biting others, it could be time to take further action.
We speak to the experts at the Dogs Trust to find out how to stop your dog from biting people. Here’s everything you need to know…
1. Spot the signs early on
Even some of the most well-behaved dogs can occasionally bite people, so it’s important you spot any signs of aggressive or irritation early on.
“Any dog can act aggressively if they feel worried about something, so tackling dog bites relies on us all knowing how to safely interact with our dogs, and being able to spot the early warning signs that they are in distress before a situation escalates,” a spokesperson from the Dogs Trust tells Country Living.
“Subtle changes in your dog’s body language like their ears going back, tension in their body, or their tail tucked under are signals they are uncomfortable.”
2. Consider using a muzzle
Gentle Muzzle Guard for Dogs – Prevents Biting and Unwanted Chewing Safely Secure Comfort Fit – Soft Neoprene Padding – No More Chafing –Included Training Guide Helps Build Bonds with Pet
If you are worried about heading out on a walk with your dog, it could be worth considering a harness or muzzle — great for restraining your dog’s ability to bite, chew and bark. While a muzzle should not be used in place of training, it will prevent your dog being able to bite (or eat things they shouldn’t on a walk).
“If you’re concerned about your dog in public always keep them on a lead and consider muzzling,” add the Dogs Trust.
3. Pay close attention to your dog’s behaviour
Paying close attention to your dog’s behaviour will help you spot when things are leading to aggression. Whether it’s being around another dog or feeling hungry, this will help you to control the situation better and know when to take things further.
Top tip: if you can sense your dog getting more aggressive, always warn others. Don’t allow your dog to approach others and always use a lead when heading outside.
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4. Never leave them alone with children
If you have young children — or are visiting a friend who does — the Dogs Trust explain that you should never leave your dog alone with them. “No matter how well behaved your dog is, never leave them alone with your child, carefully monitor their interactions and intervene before worrying situations escalate,” they tell us.
5. Head to your vet
If you notice your dog has started biting people more regularly, it’s best to seek expert advice — they will be able to help you keep those aggressive tendencies under control.
“If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, it’s worth visiting your vet who can check for any underlying causes and help with referring you to a qualified behaviourist,” The Dogs Trust add.
6. Take part in training
A dog that bites is dangerous. Not just for people, but also for the dog, so it’s best to take part in additional training.
“Dogs Trust’s Dog School provides dog owners with access to fun, reward-based training. These classes help owners to read their dog’s behaviour and to teach them skills that will enable them to settle in a home environment and cope with day-to-day events. If we can support people so they notice some of the more subtle ways dogs communicate with us, this all contributes to a better bond and fewer behavioural issues.”
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