Dogs & Fear-Biting: What are the Warning Signs?

It is not difficult to see when your dog is uptight, frightened, or in a panic if you know what signs to watch out for.  Fear-biting will never occur without warning; it just happens when people don’t pay attention to the obvious signs.  Dogs that bite out of fear are submissive.  When these dogs are presented with an unfamiliar situation or strangers, they react in an abnormal way.  Fear-biting dogs lack the confidence of a dog that has been properly socialized and who is well-adjusted.  So, when they face the unknown (environment or people), they become extremely nervous and agitated.

The very first thing to watch out for in a frightened dog is a submissive posture.  Here are other distinct behaviors displayed by a scared, fear-biting dog:

  • He will tuck in his tail.  If his tail is docked, the dog will bend his hind legs down close to the ground and the haunches will draw in
  • He will have a hunched and lowered back
  • His ears will lay flat against his head
  • The elbows will be bent, and be close to the ground
  • Hyperventilation; heavy panting
  • Yawning: allowing him to reduce the stress he is feeling
  • He will not make eye contact
  • On rare occasion, and usually only in severe circumstances, a dog will urinate/defecate when he is afraid

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