According to the World Animal Foundation, over 10 million people worldwide suffer from dog bites every year. When a dog feels threatened or provoked, it may resort to aggression, which can lead to an attack. Understanding a dog’s body language and behavior can help you recognize potential danger and take action to prevent an attack. As an individual, it is important for you to identify these signs for your safety and the safety of others around you.
While it is essential to remember that every dog is unique and may display signs of aggression differently, certain behaviors are common across breeds.
Changes in posture
One of the initial signs a dog is about to attack is a change in posture. The dog might stiffen and lean forward, its body held rigid. You might also notice the dog’s tail raised and still, not wagging. Some dogs might also raise their hackles – the fur along the dog’s spine and shoulders – which is a clear sign of aggression.
A dog about to attack often gives verbal warnings. These can range from low growls to loud, repeated barks. You might notice a distinct change in the tone of the dog’s bark, becoming more guttural and aggressive. Never ignore these verbal signals as they are clear indications of an imminent attack.
Facial expressions are key to understanding a dog’s emotional state. A dog on the verge of attacking often bares its teeth and might even snap in the air. The dog’s ears may either flatten against its head or erect, depending on the breed and individual dog’s behavior.
Alongside these signs, the dog may display threatening actions such as staring directly at you without breaking eye contact or lunging without making actual contact. They intend to intimidate and this sign serves as a final warning before the dog resorts to attacking.
Understanding a dog’s warning signs is crucial to prevent potential attacks. Remember to never approach an unfamiliar dog without the owner’s consent and to avoid sudden movements around a dog displaying signs of aggression. Educate yourself and others about these signs to ensure safety when interacting with dogs. It could save you from a dangerous situation and contribute to a safer environment for both humans and dogs.