Was It Just a Little Bite or More? Evaluating Bite Levels in Dogs

116 | Posted:

inBy Dr. Sophia Yin
1966-2014 R.I.P.

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Picture of a Shepherd type dogAs the 75-pound male shepherd mix squatted to urinate on the floor just 10 minutes into our consult, I hinted to the owners who were seated between the urinating dog and me,  “The paper towels are hanging on the post right next to Ferdinand.”  Since the owners were way closer to the paper towels than I was and theirs was the dog pottying inside the behavior consult room, I assumed they would clean up the mess. Not so! So, I decided I’d better clean it up myself.

Although the dog was presenting for fear (aggression) to unfamiliar people, I’d already greeted the dog, he was comfortable taking treats, AND the owners had marked in the preconsult records that he had never bitten anyone before. As I got up to walk past the owners toward the papers towels and the accident, I noted Ferdinand’s demeanor. He was relaxed and still interested in exploring the room. Fearful dogs suddenly can become scared and reactive when the person they’re nervous around changes posture, moves suddenly, or approaches them, especially head-on. Ferdinand showed no such signs of anxiety or reactivity.

Furthermore, although the owners had brought him in on a muzzle, they had asked to take it off now that he was in the room and looked comfortable. They said that he only was fearful of some people. They reiterated that, as the preconsult form stated, he had never bitten before. We decided to let him explore the room while dragging his leash, so that I could evaluate his uninhibited behavior in the new environment.

As I dropped the paper towels onto the floor and then stepped on them to sop up the dog’s mess, I continued to question the owners about Ferdinand’s history. “How many aggressive or reactive incidences does he have per week? How do you handle the situations? What’s his response to your handling technique?”

When all the urine was soaked up, it was time to collect the paper towels and dispose of them. Normally when I’m in the room with a dog who’s fearful and reactive, the dog would be on leash. In addition, I might avoid facing him head-on even to pick up something off the ground. But, based on the owners’ experience, Ferdinand was not likely to react at this point. Plus he was over 10 feet away. I casually bent down to pick up the paper towels. Then I hear, “Bark! Bark! Bark!!” and feel teeth on both sides of my head.

The owners quickly had him by the leash and pulled him away from me so it wasn’t a serious or even scary event for me. Plus, I was pretty sure that there were no marks on my head. However, that didn’t stop me from being peeved.

I emphasized to the owners, “You know that counts as a bite.” I thought to myself, “When you told me he had no history of biting, you forgot to include that you didn’t count the times that your dog rushed a person and grabbed a body part in their mouth as a bite!”

Based on the response of this dog, I could tell this wasn’t Ferdinand’s first time acting like this. He’d clearly had some practice sessions barking, lunging and putting his teeth on skin. A first timer facing the same level of threat or scariness—me leaning over from far away while not looking at him—might run up and bark at me but would just snap or nip with his front teeth, rather than actually grabbing my head like he was trying to taste a cantaloupe with his teeth. If he’d had tons of practice or intent to harm he’d have actually bitten down or clamped on in the same way he does when he mangles his tug toys. Or if he was scared out of his mind by my movement he would have kept biting, even if it was only a soft bite owing to lack of enough confidence to bite hard. But it was still a bite; the owners should have known that it could happen and should have had Ferdinand on leash or still wearing his muzzle.

How could the owners have been so naïve about their dog’s behavior? Usually when people think about bites and aggression, they think about mauling or think the dog has to intend to be mean. However, Ferdinand’s biting behavior, although mild, was cause for concern.

“Some Bites Can Kill”

Surpisingly, even with serious bites, sometimes it doesn’t click for owners. Says, Dr. Emily Levine, a veterinary behaviorist at Animal Emergency and Referral Associates in New Jersey, “I recently saw a 2 or 3 year old intact male English Bulldog in a behavior consult. The dog was staying at the owner’s mother’s house. She thought the dog was crated. She went to open the door for her friend who was there holding her baby. The dog saw the visitor, ran straight towards her and bit her legs. The dog bit through muscle down to bone. They owner had a difficult time getting the dog off of the visitor. The visitor needed 90 stitches and will likely need plastic surgery,” continued Dr. Levine.

You would think that a person would clearly see how dangerous this situation is; however, according to Levine, this family had no real experience with aggressive dogs. Says Levine, “The owners had been instructed by Animal Control to quarantine the dog, which they did, but because they never received a visit from the Animal Control Officer at the end of the 10 day quarantine, the owner thought that perhaps this degree of bite was not out of the norm.” In the owner’s view, since the Animal Control Officer didn’t seem concerned enough to make a return visit, the bite must not pose any future threat.

Luckily the owner did seek a behavior consult. “Once they were educated about the fact that this was a very severe bite and after I went through the risk and benefits of a behavior plan, they decided that the risks outweighed the benefits for them.

They understood that even if they were extremely vigilant and did a great job with the behavior modification plan, fantastic results are not a guarantee.

“They realized that this could happen again and that this dog could literally kill someone,” says Levine.  “If the person he had attacked was a short person or a child, it would have been the neck he grabbed hold of.” The owners decided to euthanize their dog.

Although aggressive behavior can be modified in a huge range of cases, behavior modification is not like fixing a clock or a television set where you make a few changes and then it’s good for another five years. Dogs are living animals and behavior is something you can never guarantee 100%. Based on her findings with this particular dog and family, Dr. Levine says, “I believe the owners did the right thing. I fully supported this choice.”

Different Level Bites

One way to find out how serious a bite may be is to acknowledge that different levels of bites exist. Bite levels range from minor to so severe they lead to death. Dr. Ian Dunbar first developed this bite levels system. I’m providing my modified description of these levels here.

Level 1 (pre-bite): the dog snaps or air bites but makes no contact with the person. Now people tend to say, “The dog tried to bite me but I moved away.” I say, “Give me a break.” Humans have sloth-like reactions compared to the speed of a biting dog and dogs have pretty good aim when trying to grab things. If the dog actually meant to bite (rather than just give you a warning), you would have the holes to prove it. Owners should take this air snap as a sign that someone wasn’t paying attention to their dog’s earlier signs of displeasure or fear. Owners should get help before this sort of pre-bite behavior progresses to an actual bite. Avoid punishing these warning signs or the dog may progress to biting without warning. Instead, learn the signs of fear and anxiety that the dog probably showed prior to this situation and learn to spot the common inappropriate human actions that may have contributed to the snap.

Level 2 (near-bite or highly inhibited bite): the dog snaps and makes tooth contact on skin but there’s no actual puncture. Often the dog runs up to or lunges for a person but just puts front teeth in contact with the skin in a sort of near-bite.  In other cases, the dog actually opens his mouth and clamps but in an inhibited manner such that no skin is broken. Again the owners should ask, “What earlier signs did we miss to warn us that this could happen?” The owners should realize, the near-bite or inhibited bite could turn into a real bite down the road.

Level 3A: the dog bites once and punctures skin, but the puncture is shallower than the length of the canine tooth.  Even though this bite may not be severe, it is still reportable. And painful, too. Reporting is mandatory if the victim is treated in a hospital. Once your dog has actually bitten at this level (or higher) he will always be considered a liability, even if, with behavior modification, he is 99.9% improved.

Level 3B: the dog bites multiple times leaving skin punctures shallower than half of the canine. Multiple bites generally mean the dog is in a higher arousal state. That is, the dog is reacting without thinking between bites.

Level 4: the dog bites once with punctures deeper than the length of the canine (the dog bit and clamped down) or the bite produces slashes in both directions from the puncture which indicates that the dog bit and shook his head. This type of bite is very serious. While any of the lower bite levels should act as a neon sign telling the owners to seek help from a qualified and educated behavioral modification specialist (link to my site), the level 4 bite says, “Man, you should have gotten help three years ago. This has been building up even longer than the level 3 bites.” Level 4 bites are way harder than level 3 bites and now show no inhibition in strength. A dog biting at this level presents a screaming liability to the owners, both in terms of money and family members because this type of bite can kill a child.

Level 5: The dog gives multiple bites with deep punctures. Dogs who bite at this level generally have had practice biting at levels 3 and 4. Some dogs are so fearful that a scary event triggers a high arousal state and they get stuck in a reactive mode, continuing to bite hard.

Level 6: The dog kills the victim or consumes their flesh. It’s important to realize that even little dogs and puppies can bite hard enough to kill infants and small children, just the way little knives can. Dogs can bite this hard due to fear, but they can also bite and cause death due to over aroused play.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Bites?

Now that you know dogs can bite at different levels and early snapping and low level bites can, and often do, lead to more severe bites, you can start addressing the biting earlier, as soon as you see warning signs. Hopefully, the situation won’t escalate into something life-threatening for your dog or others.

For information on how to prevent dog bites or the types of behavior modification that are safe or appropriate, go to Help, My Dog Bites! How to Deal with Dogs who Bite.

Download the Canine Bite Levels Poster from our store for free or a donation here.

Dr. Yin passed away in 2014 but her legacy lives on.

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116 responses to “Was It Just a Little Bite or More? Evaluating Bite Levels in Dogs

  1. Dr. Yin,

    Thanks for such an informative article and for providing a framework and scale for dog bites to humans AND the links to prevention, including human behavior. You may have already done this (I am new to your resources), but, if not, please consider discussing the similarities and differences between how dogs interact with other dogs vs how dogs interact with humans. For instance, many dogs will mouth another dogs neck in play, however, such interactions with humans are inappropriate. However, in some instances, this action is cause for alarm in dog-to-dog interactions. How do we tell the difference?


  2. Dr. Yin,
    I’m wondering if you have any training for deaf dogs available that you would recommend? Thanks for all your work and available information. Stephanie

  3. My dog will not let anyone groom him without biting. We now have to have him sedated at the vet and they sheer him. He has bitten me for attempting to groom him. Now he gets aggressive even when I try to bathe him. What needs to be done?

    1. Our dog is the same way. We are trying to figure out what to do. We also have 2 small children and he growls out of annoyance when they come close to him and he gets up and leaves. We arent sure what to do…

      1. I’d really consider trying to rehome or euthanize the dog man. The children’s well being is more important than exhausting all options first.

        But I know that’s a really hard thing to do because if you’re like me your dog is like family so maybe make him an outside dog if possible.

        1. Please don’t rehome a problem dog, usually their behavior becomes worse with the trauma of losing their pack and family and the new owners rarely are made aware of the severity of the dogs issues.

          1. Agreed, Jamie! When people re-home rather than retrain, they are often compounding the issue! Especially when it is multiple re-homings…. at some point it makes it so that the dog is so mistrusting of any human (for good reason in it’s mind – it’s pack keeps abandoning it!) it becomes harder & harder to correct. IF A DOG GROWLS OUT OF ANNOYANCE AND LEAVES – THOSE CHILDREN ARE BEING TOLD BOTH VERBALLY & PHYSICALLY – “PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!” Children need to be taught to pay attention to and respect the dog, not just barrel through and do what they want. Part of teaching children about empathy, as you would do the same for an elderly person if they were uncomfortable and told you, you’d tell your children to leave them alone. Same thing here.

  4. My dog is only 2.5 years old and even though she is always on a leash in public areas (we have a leash law), she is constantly being attacked by off leash dogs and by dogs on Flexi-leads.She is not an aggressive dog and her response is to try to run away from these aggressive dogs, but she sometimes still gets hurt. Owners must show their puppies that mouthing and biting are not acceptable.

  5. My dog bit my 3 year old because she went near her while she was eating her bone. She did puncture the skin on her fingers but to be honest I don’t think she even realised she did it. I really don’t know what to do. She’s not aggressive dog at all, I haven’t slept worrying about it. Jessie is just 3 years old but have only had her since December 2015. I’ve spoke to vets and dog trainers to make the right decision. I’m thinking put her down but my daughters are so upset I’ve had them crying on me

    1. I’m sorry that your dog is having food aggression issues. We do recommend you see a behaviourist for biting. http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/findabehaviourist

    2. You should not put your dog down. You should teach your children to be careful around animals when they eat as they display more aggressive behavior. Or find her another home.

      1. With respect, “teach your child to be careful around animals” has a place, but it’s a very slippery slope with a child that young. Even an excellent, very on-top-of-it parent can never be sure that a child that young will never try to test or pester the dog again. What is the parents are out and the babysitter isn’t as on top of it? Children push boundaries by nature. We can try our best as parents, but there is no way to communicate to a toddler with a 100% success rate that they’ll poke or prod the dog again. If you can’t trust the dog 100%, you can’t trust the child 100% and continuing to put them in the situation only tempts fate.

        1. I have a 3 year old that constantly pesters or 2 year old border/lab. He’ll pull on his tail or grab his legs when he’s trying to walk. We’ve repeatedly told him you can’t do that, even gated the kitchen and put my 3 year old on the other side to get him to leave the dog alone. Up until now my dog has been tolerant, but yesterday he put him in the toe, breaking the skin. I am worried that this will escalate, now that he knows he can get him to stop by biting. On the other hand, I hope my 3 year old realized now that he needs to stop. I don’t know what to do?!

          1. Try going to experts to learn how to train your children as well as your dog. If a 3 yr old continues to do things after you tell him repeatedly, them you need a different approach with him,one that works, before you have totally messed up the kid and the dog. Maybe re-home the dog and work on the child before getting another animal, JS

            1. Your 3 year old will not realize his behavior should stop. They are too young to reason. Parents have to teach their children how to respect a dog and leave it alone and it’s up to parents to make a time-out and not allow the child to be near the dog. And the dog should always have a safe place to retreat if they do not want to be bothered.Why would you even allow your child to pull on dog’s tail etc. You are asking for trouble. Sounds like you are overwhelmed and cannot manage the two as it is a full-time effort!

    3. The dog is resource guarding. Do not let you child go near him while he has a bone or is eating. Then get a qualified trainer in.

  6. Iv just been bitten fri1/4/16 my 10mth old pup used 2bite my hands in playn&he plays rough with neighbors 3yr old dog,jus before I went2pick up koko fri night I could hear him sneeze&as I was moving away from my pc I was talkn 2him&wen I went2pick him up,I didn see any signs of anger&I bled like a dog,I tried2get him 2go outside&@same time I tried 2stop my finger from dripping blood on my carpet koko got on his 4legs&displayed himself like spider would2warn of danger&that’s wen I gave up&shut myself in bedroom&cried myself2sleep finger was throbbing&no more noise from koko.my email address:knittingclub@outlook.com

    1. Unfortunately, we cannot diagnose behavior problems over the internet. We do recommend that if you are having these issues, you see a certified Animal Behaviorist. We recommend the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, https://iaabc.org/consultants or the AVSAB, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior http://avsabonline.org/resources/find-consult.

  7. My son, his wife, 1 y.o. child & 2 dogs; one a male Australian shepherd & the other a not fixed female small german shepherd. I have an 8 month old golden retriever. My g.r has always been gentle & non aggresive.recently we had 20 people, some of whom were small children & he never jumped or begged for food etc. Now naturally all 3 dogs are stressed. The German shepherd is clearly afraid & cowes down to the A.S. the A.S. wants to bite, nip & herd. But now, less than 1 week with us, the A.S. has biten (superficially) 3 people but it wd have been worse w/out intervention. And he’s now trained the golden to nip & bite the other dogs in play, which has also frequently escalated to frightening dog fight’s w/ear damage from the aussie & unwanted behavior from the golden puppy
    In his stress, the golden has started eating sticks in a crazy fashion
    I don’t want the golden to learn bad behaviors, become aggressive & then…& I don’t want anyone else to get bitten or the baby to be caught in it. It takes a herculean effort to separate the dogs once they start & it seems to escalate from 0 to 10 in a milisecond. ??????

    1. Unfortunately, we cannot diagnose behavior problems over the internet. We do recommend that if you are having these issues, you see a certified Animal Behaviorist. We recommend the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, https://iaabc.org/consultants or the AVSAB, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior http://avsabonline.org/resources/find-consult. Since this has escalated to biting another person, you should try to speak to someone as soon.

    1. he has bit me 5 times. 3 of which I have gone to the hospital. he has bit me trying to help my fiance when she hurt herself (3) of which she fell off a ladder b/c she is a painter. 1 of which we were laughing alot. 1 of which seemed to be of no apparent reason at all. the last one was yesterday, ladder incident. idk what to do?? We have been together 4 years. I told her I can’t keep doing this, being attacked for no reason. she says she’ll put a muzzle on him. never happens. can’t keep getting bit. not good. idk what to do!!!

  8. I was bitten by dog for 2 times.i had taken treatment & i am fine. but I have heard that if a dog bites a man more than
    2 times, there seems some changes on his attitude and it damages his brain. Such as:1st bite:2003 2nd bite:2008.

  9. I would really like a reply, since i really dont know what do do. When my husbands grandmother passed away, we inherited a very gently but old dog. she is a medium size dog (border collie lab mix).Her name is Lady. She never showed signs of aggression and she was always gentle around small dogs and cats. Well she was about 11 or 12 when we got her, and that was three years ago. We since added a baby to our family who is now a very lovable huggable 2 year old. Well my daughter loves animals and constantly wants to hug them and kiss them. our other animals love it and let her. but any time my daughter goes near Lady. Lady Snaps at her. never making contact. Until Last night. She rand up to her and hugged her around the neck. It was not an overly aggressive hug and she didnt have any hair in her hands it was just a hug. but when lady growled, she didnt let her go. At this point im yelling at my daughter to let her go and on my feet to get her (she was on the other side of a bit of a large room) but before i got to her she reached up and bit my daughter in the face. The bite was probably a level 3a. she didnt pucture the skin but she left about four long welts on my daughters face. there was no blood, but they area was red and my daughter burst into tears. My husband grabs the dog and throws her outside and we aid to my daughters face. I guess the thing im trying to figure out is what to do with Lady. She is so old that im sure she is sore everywhere and doesnt want to be touched with little hands, and she already bit my child so i cant have her near her. If i gave her away (and im not sure i really could find someone that wants a somewhat blind old dog) than i would risk someone else being hurt and she would have to readjust to a home and she is already so old. If i take her to the pound, they would put her down for her aggressiveness and she is already so old she should be able to finish out her life. I dont know what to do.

    1. We cannot provide guidance on behavioral issues over the internet. Because your dog is being aggressive, we recommend searching through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, https://iaabc.org/consultants or the AVSAB, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior http://avsabonline.org/resources/find-consult. You may want to also check with Karen Price certified trainers https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer?source=kpctnavbar as well as Victoria Stilwell Positively certified trainers https://positively.com/dog-training/find-a-trainer/find-a-vspdt-trainer/

    2. please watch your daughter and make sure she doesnt jump grab or hug them.Its up to you to make sure they are both safe.It happened once and you can just be more careful .your elderly dog doesnt have patience for a baby .are you going to kill her for 1 bad situation,call a rescue and see if they know of any that specialize in senior dogs to happily live there lives out.you are now the parent to an old puppy and a young baby.do whats best not wjth

    3. I also think your reaction escalated things. You yelled and made quick movements… which startled the already nervous dog.
      (Not blaming you)
      The dogs feel our anxiety

      1. You’re insane. Let’s be honest. Your 100% to blame . Warning signs every. The dog warned you and your daughter numerous times and you ignored it. You knew the dog didnt like it and yet you continued to let the dog and your daughter have contact and gave the dog no choice.
        If someone came up and hit hit, how many times are you going to let the person hit you before you fight back?
        You gave the dog no choice by continuing to let your daughter do what made the dog uncomfortable. You’re situation is a human problem, not a dog problem.

  10. I got a little skin peeled and it was soo thin I didn’t even feel it. The dog was a pet that had all his shots. I washed my hands when I got home. Am I fine?

  11. We have a German Shepard and Lab mix.He is 10 months old.He has been in puppy classes and intermediate classes as well.His mame is Riley.Whenever he grabs socks ,a loaf of bread or anything for that matter ,he becomes very possessive. I try and take what he has and he has biten me..This is the second time he has done it.He wil just run up and grab food off the counter and now the only way I will try to get it back is by offering him a treat which 90 % of thd time works.Should I just keep doing this or should I handle this in a differerent way.We have told everyone when they come to visit that if Riley gets a belonging of theirs in his mouth please do not try to retreive it.We will take care of it ourselves.

    1. Training! Training! Teach the dog to ” Leave It “…research training it only takes a little time to learn this. I you love the dog and want to de-escalate this behavior do some homework and training with the dog! Please…

  12. I went to reprimand my 8 month old dog when he was bad, when I reached to grab him he bit me multiple times on the hands, drawing blood and hashing the skin. What do I do now? Is he going to show this aggression more now he has shown it once? And will he start doing it to other people??

    1. Well, what do you mean by reprimand? If you’re hitting him or being too aggressive/abusive, of course he’s going to eventually want to stop it and defend himself… I would put him in a room alone or talk to him disapprovingly as dogs come to understand when you aren’t happy with them. And find some kind of time out type process to train him; not hurting him in any way or doing something that requires grabbing him… If it’s the first time he’s biting you then I would suggest just working with him a different way, I doubt he would continue being aggressive to other people irrationally unless he feels threatened or has an illness. And definitely don’t listen to anyone who tells you to put him down after one bite!

  13. My 10-year old tiny Maltese has take to biting me. She never once bit me before in all these years, but now she bites when I am feeding her, and sometimes if I try to snip her hair around her eyes, which I’ve been doing since she was a puppy. She bites hard, even though she weighs only three pounds, and draws blood. She bites as hard as she can, and it’s only her tiny size that makes the bites small. She lunges at me, and she almost never misses. What can I do? She needs to eat twice a day being she’s so tiny. Now, even if I’m holding a piece of food or a treat, she lunges not at the food, but at my hand. She has been loved and treated super-kindly. She never bites strangers or anybody else but me. We have never had a problem with biting in her whole life.

    1. Have you gotten her tested at the vet for various things? Maybe the senior blood panel they do, or something else? This sounds like she might be in some sort of pain. Our dog started showing (more) aggression late in life, and she had some health problems.

  14. My Boerboel mastiff bit me 3 times all in the face and head.I was his primary caregiver and never hit him..all discipline was verbal. I have had extremely difficult dogs for 25 yrs ..I once had a rot tie that “tried” to growl about her food at 8 wks..corrected immediately. Buford was fine with cats and horses and very respectful of the other 2mastiffs in the house..however Beulah ALWAYS HATED HIM …she would growl at him all the time and walk away from him. The other mastiff did not have an issue with him but died when he was 6 months old. When he was 2 1/2 the 1st attack happened..I thought he was protecting me from the vacuum. He pulled a horseshoe piece of my forehead down,ER visit,16 stitches.Second time I tripped on him,just bruising.3rd time REALLY BAD..43 stitches ambulance ride,and my hair is f’ed up forever..my hair is down to my waist and I really had to work to keep them from shaving my head! When I went home for the 1st time in my life I was actually afraid of a dog.I have horses,goats and cows,so WTF. We put him to sleep because we were ordered to and I failed this dog somehow but my scalp will never be without a reminder of him..thank GOD it was no one else.Live and learn..no EVER South African dogs of any kind for me.

    1. The first time he tried to rip your face off was you alarm that training was due years before, according to this article. The second time was unfortunately your own negligence. Thank you so much for generous sharing with us. A good example how easy it is for pet parents to be in denial and choose excuses over actions. Sorry for your injuries but how blessed you are that it wasn’t someone else and not a death.

  15. You mention that active children stress dogs… what stresses me out is seeing dogs that are twice the size of my children running loose in public parks where is mandatory by law to have them on a leash.
    That is stressful and illegal. Stop thinking about the dogs welfare and start thinking about humans, as vulnerable as a 3-year-old child.

  16. Hi, thanks for this article it was really helpful and information I had not found anyone else write about before. I have a 2yo Doberman who is highly fearful and has bitten up to level 3b. I have been attending a good-quality training school with him since he was about 6months old and have had both private sessions and board/train stays. Unfortunately I am not seeing a lot of improvement and he does a lot of snapping at home. This is something I have not had much information about how to deal with as I have had with the more serious reactions. I find them difficult because he reacts to my actions that he should be tolerating (eg I pick up the lead). I also have a second dog (who has a beautiful temperament) and he becomes very distressed if I try to walk her, and I am getting mild reactions around patting her, touching the lead, opening her cage etc. Any suggestions of what I can be doing to prevent these snaps worsening?

  17. our 4 year old silky terrier just level 2 bit my 3 year old. The dog was sleeping on the sofa and the dog startled and bit him on the forehead, there’s no puncture but little marks on his skin. She’s never bitten before nor even growled at my kids and I’m now unsure of whether to rehome her or not.

  18. I need a behavioral dog specialist in my location but I have been unsuccessful in my search. Do you know of anyone in the southeast Louisiana area?

  19. I literally tried the best best trainers, the best Vets, medications, and countless other things. In Los Angeles, we have a lot of resources. Thousands of dollars and dozens of hours over 2 years trying to fix this rescued boy who was sweet 99% of the time. But when he bit (unpredictably and without an apparent trigger/pattern), he latched on so hard and BIT!

    The amount of damage a 25-lb dog did to my body and several other people’s bodies is staggering. I considered having all his teeth removed as last resort, but that’s a super cruel procedure and doesn’t fix the underlying problem – something going on in his brain.

    I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out, but I finally let my boy Gizmo go on peacefully today. No rescue or shelter would take him without guaranteed euthanasia and I wanted to hold him in my loving arms and do it if it had to be done. He got a steak and meatballs for his final meal. Spending his final hours in an unfamiliar and scary place like a shelter would be the worst.

    I have a long history in animal rescue and NEVER imagined I would have to euthanize such a young and otherwise phenomenal/healthy dog but the reality has sunk in – sometimes you just cannot help every dog. Thank you for writing this article and for everyone’s comments. I needed it right now.

    1. I am so sorry to hear this but you do what you have to do. We have to remind ourselves that you can’t save them all and some are just too badly damaged to save. He is in a better place and you will see him again. I am far from being a religious person but this is one thing I do believe in:

      Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
      When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
      There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
      There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
      All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
      those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
      just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

      The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;
      they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
      They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
      His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.
      Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass,
      his legs carrying him faster and faster.

      You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet,
      you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy
      kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head,
      and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet,
      so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

      Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

      And for us rescuers:

      Rescuer’s Rainbow Bridge

      Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch

      It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.

      He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

      With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

      One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for awhile to explain it to him.

      “You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge.”

      The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So what will happen now?” As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.

      “Watch, and see.”, said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

      “What happened?”

      “That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of her work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn’t place on earth across The Rainbow Bridge.”

      “I think I like rescuers”, said the first animal.

      “So does GOD”, was the reply.

      You will see him again…

    2. I am truely sorry for your loss .I had to put my boy Odin down 7/3/17 he was 3 years old did traing , holistic vet and he bit .First time happy to see someone then suddenly bit Second time he bit me I was 3feet away pickig up wood pieces thst had broke znd he went after me my thumb is not ok yet . He was a mix of cataloua Husky &96lbs I loved him &still cry but he could have killed someone . I really feel for everyone in this situation but my vet said he could never be trusted 100%so I dud the kindest end possible I could not let him die alone he was with family .Good luck with everyone who hss this heart wrenching decision

    3. I live in Los Angeles, my dog growls really badly at other dogs, and she bit me when she was upset today. Who did like for behavioral training in Los Angeles? I live in West Hollywood, but anywhere is great 🙂

  20. My dog snapped at me and bit my lip when I tryed to lift her off the bed. She had soft stool earlier in the day and I think she was in pain from it. She has never heen aggressive before that. Should I be worried?

  21. We’ve had a 7 pound cuddly, quiet dog for 4 years. We have 3 year old twins and they’ve been bitten several times. Usually no mark or a small scratch that goes away in a few days. Always provoked, such as having hit or put a blanket over the dog’s head. We supervise closely but as anyone with kids knows, you can’t physically watch them 24/7. We love our dog but I’m wondering if it would be better for her to be in a loving home with no children? We plan to have more kids. Our dog is a “Velcro” dog and always at our sides, so I am afraid it would devastate her to be rehomed but am trying to look objectively at what’s best for all, humans and animal in our family. Would love words of advice!

    1. Hi, with all due respect, as someone who has grown up with giant breed dogs, who has raised kids and grandkids around dogs, it’s your children that need the training. It can be done. First off, crate train the dog and set up an open crate somewhere that is the dogs “safe space” that it can go to when it’s feeling stressed and wants away from the children. Next teach the kids that space is absolutely off limits, that it’s the dog’s bed or home or secret cave or whatever and it’s not to be disturbed. Then work on the kids “being nice” to the dog and only touching the dog in any fashion when you are around. It can be done, it takes some patience but it can be done. If not, someone ios going to get very badly hurt.

  22. Im so stressed with my puppy she’s almost three weeks here in our home. And develops a bad behavior. On first week she was so silent and cries when she wants to poop or pee. 2nd week she became bossy. We trained here to sit before giving a treat on first week but in 2nd week, when I say sit she barks. Bark and bark and dont listen to my command. And now, she gets more bossy. If we dont ulleash her she wont stop barking and then she destroyed her leash and when I tried to put thenew leash on her collar, she bites me and it almost break my skin. Then later my sister tried to put the leash on her collar and she did the same. She bites my sisters thumb and she didnt release the thumb until I shouted saying NO! My sister got a little cut. And now im so stressed. Always thinking how to stop her from creating that bad behavior.

  23. hello. thanks for the read. I am in a situation where im wondering the next step for my beloved dog. He is 6 and ober the last year he has started showing more aggression. He recently bit my husband while he was trying to get him out of the chicken coop although he didnt break the skin. He acts like hes going to attack my teenage daughter if she gets too close to me he hasn’t yet but I am worried he will become more aggressive.

  24. Hello, I have a worry about my 3 year old male Staffordshire bull terrier. He has never been aggressive before but we went over to my mums for a weekend and he was playing with her Chihuahua (which he has always liked, we got them within weeks of each other. They have grown up together). Me and mum went out and when we came back my staff had my mums dog in his mouth, he had only done it as soon as we walked in the door but my worry was not only had he bitten the Chihuahua but he stared to shake it as well. My mums dog ended up having level 4 bite marks and for his first time showing aggression it’s a worry that is going straight to that. What should I do?

  25. We adopted our 4 year old, now 90 pound dog from the county shelter almost 2 years ago. He was very fearful but soon became very attached to us and to our family members who frequently visited. Last year, when my husband opened the door to speak with someone, the dog pushed out and bit the man on the leg. This resulted in 16 stitches and a lawsuit. There were also 2 other attempts at biting someone unknown to him while the person was in our house. One I was able to prevent, the other was prevented by a thick boot which suffered the only injury. These attacks were separated by many months and we believed were isolated incidents, a mistake made. Two days ago as a friend was entering the house, the dog came at her and bit her behind the knee causing a lot of blood lost before we were able to get the bleeding stopped and take her to the emergency room. The next day we called the county animal control ourselves to report the incident as is required by law. Later an animal control officer came for our beloved pet and took him to the shelter for a ten day quarantine. After that we are told he will most likely be adjudicated for euthanasia. Our hearts are broken that people were harmed and that we didn’t recognize that our dog was showing signs of a dangerous pattern of behavior. We are lucky both injuries have healed or are healing well. We are not lucky that we bear the responsibility of being in denial that resulted in these injuries and will cost our dog his life. I want to save his life, but not at the cost of harm to others. I want to offer a plan to the legal authorities that will keep people and my dog safe, but I don’t think that is possible. I welcome any thoughts and suggestions.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Here’s our story. We adopted our sweet dog 4 years ago from the county shelter when she was 18 months old. She had been given up by her owner who was deployed. She is an affectionate, intelligent and sensitive dog who hated cars and had separation anxiety. Slowly both of these issues have become better with the help of a nearby behavioral vet. Our dog is on fluoxidine (prozac, daily) and thorazine and clonodine (only when we leave her alone, which is not often; we are retired). So – #1.. maybe medication might help your dog.

      Our story, continued….. two years ago on walks our dog started growling at some dogs she knows . Not all, just some dogs. Go figure! Our behavioral vet upped our dosage of fluoxitine and said this behavior cannot reliably be cured. Just keep her away from other dogs. .So my suggestion #2 is to Anticipate and Plan. If someone is coming, put your dog in his crate or in another room. Don’t open the door to anyone without securing your dog. I suspect your dog is territorial and is trying to protect you when he bites. You can muzzle him when on walks. I think if you tell animal control these ways you will not allowing these bites to happen again (they will if you do nothing!), your dog might be spared.

      1. Just another thought about new aggression in dogs. It might be pain or thyroid problems so that should be checked out by your vet..

  26. My dog has bitten for the second time within six months. I’m torn on the next actions to take. She’s on the smaller size, either a pharaoh hound mix or kelpie mix of some kind running right at 30 lbs. She was rescued by my adult son at six months old on her last day from a kill shelter, along with another male mix breed dog. She was terrorized at the shelter and wouldn’t socialize with visitors so no one wanted her. He had her for three years, but didn’t socialize her as much as he should have because of long work hours, but he did bring her around some because she was afraid of everything as a puppy.

    When he was expecting his first child, he knew there would be even less attention given so I took her. I already had a female GSD triple her weight. Both dogs are leaders so I was worried about their engagement with each other, but they are fine. The first bite happened 9 months after she was with our family when I took her to a groomer for a nail trim. The place was inept in handling dogs period, and I should have walked out but I didn’t. The handler didn’t even attempt to greet her but dragged her by the collar into a room out of my sight and within seconds the handler screamed. The bite was reported. Later that evening I found five nail grooves in my dog’s chest that had broken her skin. I believe she tried to squirm and the handler was going to win and pinned her down to clip her nails, which hurt her and she bit

    Fast forward six months to the second bite. My other son reluctantly agreed to dog sit while I was out of town for a couple days. My dog ran into her crate and hid from him, refusing to go outside. After a while, he decided to pull her from her crate to make her go outside. I think he was worried about her messing in the house. He was probably frustrated and annoyed with her at the time. I’m guessing he was inpatient too. He literally got his face down into her crate. As he was pulling her out, she bite him four separate times in attack mode. She did break the skin in several areas along his chin, but didn’t sink her teeth in him. The ER doctor thought the bites were superficial and he wouldn’t need stitches. My son consulted a plastic surgeon the next day too, for peace of mind. The surgeon agreed with the ER doctor. Again, the bite was reported.

    My son is pushing for the dog to be euthanized. He says it is to protect others in the future. My older son and I have both experienced nothing but love from this dog, but we don’t know what traumas occurred in those early months of life. She requires lots of exercise and play everyday, which my GSD and our family gives her. She does have a prey instinct (mostly for uncaught squirrels), but she’s also been around Chi’s – so smaller dogs may get rough play from her but zero aggression. I feel she’s fine and these incidents occurred because of the circumstances.

    I take full responsibility as her owner for not being a more insightful owner. I should have hired an experienced dog handler while I was away. I fear my son is emotionally scarred by this event. He’s stated he will never visit me again as long as I have this dog. Am I being a naive owner or are these situations plausible for the dog biting? Moving forward, we are not allowing her to get into any of our faces – even for kisses. We are disciplining her for any over excitement in the home. Basically, she’s in our mini military training camp for dogs now. She’s so very smart. She definitely takes to instruction, but she won’t take to people instantly – ever. Opinions are definitely welcome, please weigh in.

    1. You should definitely tell your son (and everyone!) to *not* touch the dog when she’s in her crate. That should be her safe place.

    2. My daughter, her dog (a Great Pyrenees) and her daughter moved in with me, my husband, and his elderly aunt. My husband’s aunt tells me she was bit by my daughter’s dog. I did not see the bite, but she was not injured. I have known this dog since he was a pup. He is about 10 now and he is the most loving dog I have ever met. A natural emotional support dog. My daughter and her little family moved in because she was fleeing and abusive relationship. Her dog never showed aggression to the abusive boyfriend, but like many abusive people, he was gentle and kind most of the time and occasionally terrifying. When they all moved in with us I got a new pup myself who this old dog is sweet and patient with, and she has puppy manners (not good) I am struggling to understand what happened. My daughter’s dog has gone through many recent life changes and he is elderly himself. My husband’s aunt has recently gone through some changes herself that she is unhappy about and carries a palpable anger with her wherever she goes, so much so that my new puppy wouldn’t let my aunt touch her for her first three days home. The only answer I can come up with for the bite is that the old dog was nervous of her anger, even though it wasn’t being directed at him. Now she is scared of him and between her fear and anger, I’m worried that it might happen again.
      The only solution that makes sense to me is to put the old dog on a training leash when he is in the yard so the aunt can stay away from him, and my daughter, her child, and I can provide all his care. We aren’t afraid of him and he feels very safe with us. Any other ideas?

      1. Hi. I own Pyrs and have almost all my life. I also run a rare Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) breed rescue and used to head up a large Pyr rescue so know the breed. I’m not a behaviorist but the following is from decades with Pyrs. Several things are possible here. 1st thing is to have him checked by a vet to ensure that he’s not in pain of going through hormonal changes (we’ve found low-normal thyroid in LGD breeds can cause reactive issues). This is a very common cause of elderly dogs becoming “snappy”. He comes from a stressful household and now has a new level of stress so that could also be an issue here, along with the Aunt’s own anger issues causing even more stress for everyone, including the dog. You are right to be concerned that her issues my be a problem for him. The key here is not to let him fail. Keep him and the Aunt separated for now and observe him with others. Search out a good Veterinary behaviorist who can work with all of you to ensure that there are no further issues. They can recommend training tips and possible medication regimen if needed. https://www.dacvb.org/search/custom.asp
        If you have any further questions or would like to talk about him more, you can contact me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/LGDeducation

  27. I found a lot of information about snapping dogs and their reasons to do so, and that I can not punish the dog for growling or snapping, even verbal correction is not ok. I understand it. But I can not find any information on how to react when your dog just growled or snapped. Say nothing and walk away? If the dog is trying to establish her alpha status, she will take it as her win and will do it again in similar situation. How to show your dog it is not the appropriate behavior without physically/verbally correcting her??

  28. Thanks for the poster!
    I think the download link is broken though – would you be able to fix it? thanks a lot!

  29. My friend’s dog just bit me today. We think the cause was she smlled my mother’s dog on me. First she was growling at me, and pouncing a bit. Then she went and socialized with my other friends. Then she came back to me growling and barking, doing the pouncing thing again. She was also friendly with me. Then she came back to me with intensified growling and barking. At first I thought she was play biting (my sister’s dog does this) but then it became painful. She bit my left hand about four times, and once on my wrist. Luckily she stopped after I pushed her away after she did her last bite. I then got up, and we put the dog outside and proceeded to move to another room. We were also sitting on the floor when this happened. I’m lucky she didn’t bite my face. She was one of those heavy built short pitbulls.
    Anyways, I had no indents on my left hand, but my hand was burning for a while. That went away but the burning on my thumb lingered. The bite on my right arm broke the first barrier of the skin, showing the pink skin underneath. However, there was no blood.
    I washed my hands and my wound afterwards. Oh and I did ice my thumb and eventually it went away. Also the wound on my arm is already healing and closing up.

  30. I’m 15 and my family recently adopted a dog from the shelter, he is very nice and a little older than 1 year, sometimes if he gets wxcited by the cats or just gets excited he try’s to play, but he plays rough like he grabs my butt and arm and has left scratches from his teeth, he growls when we try getting him away, but he is very nice when he is calm or being walked, I don’t want to have to give him back to the shelter ir put him down what should I do?

    1. I also should include he has a cold and was fixed about a week and a half ago so he is on a lot of medication does that have anything to do with it

  31. My 9 year old male very shy and nervous dog adopted dog (I have him about 5 years) was sleeping in the living room by the thermostat, I stepped over and put my foot in front of his face to change the temp and he jumped up and bit me on the thigh and I think he got me more than once there, I think twice and I put my hand down to shield my leg and he bit my hand. I have bruising with one tooth mark that broke the skin, didn’t bleed only a dot of blood where the skin was broken. He was like a mad man until he was on all 4 legs and looking at me. Scared the crap out of me. Level 3B I would say. I have grand children and am now afraid for them when the sleep over and myself if I get out of bed at night when he is sleeping by the side of the bed. He loves to be petted and loves everyone. The only thing I do know is if he doesn’t want to go out and goes in my bedroom, I’ll leave him be, especially if it has been raining with thunder or fireworks. He is afraid of motorcycles, thunder, loud trucks, diesel trucks. I have always stepped over him to walk between rooms, etc. Do you think this is a one time thing, any suggestions what I should do.
    If this happens again, I love him but I’ll put him up for adoption to a family without children around. My grandchildren safety will always come 1st, and my own.

  32. Dog has bitten at a 3A 3B level both times child aged 6-7 the incidents were months apart . Small punctures. Should dog be moved to home with no children?

  33. Dog aggression is probably more difficult in the Christmas season than in other holidays. Everyone is stressed out, including our dogs.
    My nephew’s dog has been aggressive and the family has been working hard to make things easy for everyone. He has been slowly exposed to more dogs and a once a week class (ran for 2 1/2 months) for dog aggression. It has been frustrating at times but we’re slowly seeing the results.
    Last Christmas when their family visited ours, we slowly introduced the dogs again, gave them treats and more positive reinforcements like in my nephew’s class. So glad, all went well.
    It’s a huge step and I hope this encourages everyone who has a dog that tends to be grumpy or aggressive.

  34. My dog bit my hand and now I kind of have 2 dark circles on the very spot where his canines were. He’s a German Spitz. Please trip me how can I stop him from doing so as this was the second time he did this. I feel bad as he is getting punished coz of me.

  35. My ex-husband’s girlfriend has a 2-year-old female chihuahua. The dog has only ever lived with adults up until recently. I know the dog has some issues such as not going potty and very frequently going in the house. In the first 3 days my children (ages 6 and 7) stayed at their home, the chihuahua had bit them 3 times. As far as I know the bites were completely unprovoked. Twice the bites broke skin (small scratches), and the last time she bit my daughter on the mouth when my daughter tried to pet her. She didn’t break skin but my daughter was bawling from the pain.

    Is this something I should be concerned about and is it likely the dog will cause more serious injury? My children live with two dogs at my house and have regularly been around other relative’s animals and have never been bitten before.

    Since it is not my dog, I have no say in how it is trained. Are these types of bites serious enough to need to report?

  36. Our 8 year old dachshund dog bit my nephew today. The dog was just sleeping and out of nowhere my nephew jumped on him and lounged his elbow on the dog’s back and got trapped by his weight. Somewhat like a wrestling thing. And the dog tried to escape but couldnt and end up biting my nephews face. Any advice? Should we put the dog outside the house or rehome?

    1. Your 8 year old Dachshunds reaction sounds appropriate based on the circumstance that it was placed in. Being crushed/trapped by another animal and reaching the threshold to bite for survival is not a situation any dog should be placed in. From a young age, children should be taught that a dogs space is to be respected no matter what. I would recommend establishing some rules for interactions with your dog inside your home. If you cannot guarantee that your dog will be respected by them, then it may become necessary to place the dog in another inaccessible space while those guests are present. If that is not possible, rehoming would be a final option. Expecting your friends/family to treat your dog respectfully (no jumping, poking, screaming, chasing etc.) is not an unreasonable request.

  37. Thank you! I recently got not by my 10 year old mix breed. I was shaving him for tge summer and he snapped (I guess that’s what you’d call it). I guess he was irritated by the fur going everywhere. They’re minor though, two level 3A on my left forearm and a level 3B on my right pinkie. Im just glad he didn’t decide to get my face, I’d hate to give him away or put him down because he was irritated. Charlie (my dog) has never bit anyone in his life. He hasn’t even shown any aggressive behavior towards anyone. I just hope I wasn’t tasty. 😢

  38. I would really like a reply for some guidance. We have a 19month old blue tick coin hound who in the last 5months got aggressive towards a few people. He snap at a caregiver, a friend and a family member for what seemed like slow scary moments, then he bite my daughter for chasing her brother and left a huge bruise, now while we were not home someone let him out a a person he sometime likes came to the door. He bit him on the shoulder and scratched his side which he needed 7 stitches for. He he the most loving dog to most people and our family. My question is do you think training(which he is trained for walking and sit, stay basic things professionally done) will help. He is usually fine on a leash walk but occasionally will howl like crazy at certain people. Help please I love this dog and I am so sad thinking about loosing him.

  39. We have 3 dogs. The first dog we adopted approx 4 yrs ago. She is about 9 yrs old. She was abused and abandoned when we adopted her and partially blind. We have 2 other dogs, one which she snaps at constantly. She bit my daughter last night. My daughter approached her and hugged her when she was sleeping and she turned and bit her on the lip. A single bite straight down. This has happened before when she was sleeping.
    I’m ready to rehome her but want to get a second opinion prior.

    1. The issue is you are not treating her like an elderly, blind dog. The other thing is no one should ever grab or surprise a sleeping dog, especially an older one that also may be partially deaf. Your entire family needs to learn to not bother her when sleeping unless it’s necessary then wake her without touching her. Also, she needs to be taken to a vet to see if she is in pain for any reason. Often the reason older dogs are “cross” is that they are in pain. As for rehoming, that will likely be a death sentence as very few people want an older dog and shelters often end up putting them down. You can adapt to her very easily and both enjoy the few years she has left.

    2. Your daughter must NOT HUG your dog! Your daughter must NOT DISTURB your dog when she is SLEEPING! When you have children and dogs, you must educate yourself about appropriate interaction, adult supervision and how to read canine signals. Almost all dogs hate to be hugged and only tolerate this. “Let sleeping dogs lie” because dogs will startle from sleep if disturbed and bite.

  40. Obviously we care about the welfare of humans too, especially children, but the two situations you mentioned aren’t correlated at all. They’re two different topics that can both be spoken about and cared about equally.

    Yes, dog owners should keep their pets on a leash in public, but that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t also care about the well-being of dogs who are pushed and pulled around and stressed out by children. And I’m pretty sure they meant in the event where a dog bites a child in the same household or a child that’s messing with it because the parents and/or owners aren’t paying attention to the situation to see if the dog is comfortable with a child.
    Anyway, my point is we can be stressed about both things. Don’t think badly of all dogs bc you’ve been in unfortunate situations with irresponsible owners :/

  41. I don’t know what to do. My two year husky bite my friends child, the child us around 8. The bite was only one however it broke the skin. We made sure it was cleaned and my dog as all his shot. My dog never done this before and around kids all the time. He allows my grandson to pull his hair and lay on him. When I asked my son what happened, he explained my dog was sleeping on the floor and next thing he know the child was bite. Right know I am so worried my dog will do this again. I don’t want to lose him. I wait for five years and research before getting him. I made call to the local trainer. But whatever you can help me with great. Thank you

    1. Please do not allow your grandson to pull your husky’s hair and lay on him. That is highly inappropriate interaction between a child and dog, especially a large breed dog that could seriously injure. Your grandson is lucky he hasn’t been bitten.

  42. Hello.. as i was preparing food for my 9 month old baby boy.. he suddenly cried and so i took him and calmed him.. and so he did.. then i continued to prepare his food and let him eat his dinner.. while changing his clothes to his pyjamas.. i notice a small scratch on his right thigh and below the scratch was i thought a small dried blood.. i wiped it clean and i saw a very very very small hole.. not that recognizable.. is it possible that my LO has been bitten by our 3 month old belgian malinois? He was tied under a ved where i fed my LO.. not sure if he can reach my baby.. but i am now worried and dont know what to do.. since i am suspecting that my baby has been bitten by our dog.. pls help..

    1. It’s highly unlikely. First off though, your dog should not be tied up. that creates all sorts of other issues. Also having a 3 m/o puppy around a infant is also a bad idea. The pup needs his own space. Crate train him and also set up a place outside that he can call his wne needed.

  43. I was recently bitten by a dog and it bit a hole down to the muscle about 1″ by 2″ in size. I needed to get 4 stitches and a staple. What would this bite classify as?

  44. I have a collie. She is a sweet and gentle dog but she is a herding breed that was bred to nip at the heels of sheep. Dogs are subject to their breeding. Retrievers instinctively retrieve, hound dogs pursue scents (and so should never be off leash) and so on. Collies were trained to herd and nip, but to do so gently (because a shepherd would not want his sheep’s coat damaged). I have a small cat. My 65 pound collie loves the cat but one way she plays with her is to nip at her. People might think this is aggressive behavior but the cat is totally calm about it – she will bat at my dog’s muzzle but not make any effort to move away and in fact will approach my dog.

    Sometimes when I play with my dog she makes nippy movements as well, but never actually touches my skin. She has this look on her face like she is laughing, it’s obviously just play.

    However, when we go outside if we see children, I always make sure I am holding her leash and alert. I know my dog is gentle, but I do not want to take a risk of a child being frightened. So far (4 years since I rescued the dog) there have been no issues. Children will come up to her and pet her and even pull her fur, and she is very calm throughout. I think she knows that she needs to be extra-gentle with children.

  45. My friend’s dog gave me a “3B” bite on my face without warning when I was calmly sitting watching tv. The owner (my friend) didn’t even tell the dog no. Now I’m a bit scared to go over to their place cause their big dog constantly bites me and they do nothing about it. Is this a serious issue or am I just over reacting..?

    1. Yes, this is serious because the owners don’t recognize that they’re is a problem which means they are doing nothing to fix it. Your next bite may be much worse.

  46. We adopted a male Boston terrier from a rescue group April of 2018. He’s 4 and he came from a stable home. No history of abuse. He is a sweet, friendly dog . Gets along well with other dogs, children. He’s playful. Not aggressive with food or toys. He is a little nervous at times and will pee a little when he gets nervous. Well he bit my 4 y old daughter on the nose. A minor bite, scraped the skin a bit. No punctures. I think he was already nervous at the time. My 2 kids had a friend over and they were all running around, hyper and making noise. My daughter ran to him and picked him up and he freaked. I feel so guilty my child was bit. Roscoe, the dog, has been such a wonderful addition to our house. He’s brought such joy to the kids and my husband and I. I don’t want to give my dog away. What should we do?

  47. My dog is 15 months old. 6 weeks ago he was hit by a car and had to have his back leg amputated. He is maneuvering well but is fearful at times. He has bit me two or three times since the accident and the bites have slightly broken skin. I’m sure this was brought on by his accident and injury. It’s only been six weeks, but how should I handle this situation under the circumstances?

  48. Our neighbor’s 100 lb dog bit our 15 lb. pomeranian through the fence, breaking his jaw.
    We took them to court to pay for the vet bills, but we lost, since our dog was “on their property”, despite the fact there was a fence, and our dog had no idea the fence was inside their property line. According to your post, this would be a level 4 bite, but they kept insisting their dog was not aggressive. The neighbors have been there for 9 years now, and still to this day their dog comes bounding over to the fence every times he sees us, barking like crazy, as if he’s never seen us before.

  49. Thank you for all the information. I got bit by my dog and he scraped my skin and it swelled up. There was no blood but I didn’t know if it was serious or not. So again, thank you.

  50. There is a dog that seems to do the level 3A bite, but hold on, without shaking his head, so you have to open his jaw to get him to let go. I would like to adopt him, but am a bit worried about his bite history.
    How would I be able to help prevent this and work with him on the issue?
    I believe it was just a stressful situation for him and muzzle training may be a good idea.

  51. Hi, my dog has always been a well tempered dog happy to give anyone attention and never barks. She has been a little down lately due to not being able to have so much walks due to lockdown.
    My son was telling my golden retriever to get down off the couch because he wanted to sit down there so my dog went to a different spot and my son preceded to tell her to get down.
    She then returned to her cage and my son felt bad so went to stroke her nose while she was in the cage and my dog went for him. It’s only a small cut but what does this mean? Was it because she was frustrated and he came into her territory?. Please help.

    1. Hi, you need to have the dog evaluated by a canine behaviorist as soon as you can. You can find them here https://avsab.org/directory/.

  52. My dog bit me on the face and draw blood. I understand that she got scared because I moved quickly towards her from behind. After that, I took her out of my bedroom and closed all the rooms to the house, so she could only access where she goes pooty, her bed, and her food for the whole night. She came into my room like she was checking up on me. But I ignored her. I’m not sure if I did the right thing.
    My question is, I’m not sure what to do now. If I should pet and being loving to her, or act more distant, take her toys away? I free feed her, I’m not sure if its the right thing now since I’ve been reading that is not a good idea, and that mealtime helps to bond.
    She is a chihuahua of 8 months. I adopted her about 4 months ago. But she is a very calm and loving dog. She is not aggressive at all and usually very obedient.

  53. What does it mean if a dog grabs hair and pulls a person down? I am in the emergency, because a neighbour’s large dog gave no warning signs of stress, and grabbed me by the hair and pulled me to the ground. My scalp is torn and I am also bruised. EMT’s were called. The owner had to pull the dog off. I am familiar with both this dog and owner.
    I allowed the dog to sniff me, it was friendly and enjoyed having a pet while I spoke with the owner. I said, “You’re such a good dog!”, and hugged it while it faced away from me.
    What level would this be, and should I submit a witness statement to Animal Control?

  54. i have a gsd mix breed she is 5yrs old.. Im taking care of her.. n i love her so much since the day 1 she also love me everytime she is around me.. but i dont kno what happen to her previous month she attacked me from my back.. n her biting was like level 3b and again after few days she did the same with me.. I take her to the vet.. he told me due to hormone changes… I m givin her medicines according to the prescription but i m not seein any changes again she attack my brother like the same….I m totally confused what to do…

    1. I’m not sure why your vet would say that as that shouldn’t be the issue. You need to consult with a Veterinary Behaviorist as soon as you can. You can look for one here, https://www.dacvb.org/search/default.asp or check with your local veterinary teaching college. Please do this immediately.

  55. I’ve got a 13 year old amstaff whose my best friend. We sleep together, cuddle, hell I pretty much smother him and he seems to either love it or not care. Point is he’s very comfortable and tolerant. Recently we were playing, and because of his age that doesn’t happen often anymore, and I picked him up a few inches off the ground and he reached up and bit me on the head. It didn’t draw blood and I was able to put him down gently. But the thing is is pick him up often so I can’t really tell if that was a play bite or not. Against my better judgement after we calmed down I picked him up again and got no reaction. I wanted to know if this is something I should be mindful of or if it was just a play bite. Thank you

  56. La herida o lesión que se produzca a consecuencia de la mordedura dependerá fundamentalmente del animal que la ha causado, pero también depende de cómo haya sido la mordida, de la fuerza con la que el animal haya mordido y también de la parte del cuerpo de la víctima que haya resultado afectada.

  57. Las mordidas de primer nivel no tocan la piel de la persona agredida y no causan daño físico. Generalmente son despliegues agresivos que pueden incluir gruñidos y mordidas al aire. Con más frecuencia, comprenden conductas agresivas con la boca abierta, mostrando los dientes y con gruñidos, pero que no llegan a tocar a la persona.

  58. I had to re-home my dog because of COVID, I work overseas and I can’t go home.

    Today, the new owner accused me of not telling her that my dog had been biting my family members and has a history of biting. If she had known she would not have adopted him as he poses to be a danger to her and her family. I told her that’s not true. My dog had never bitten my family members. My dog bit me once because i took his toy away and another he attempted to snap at me when I was putting a leash on him. When I informed the trainer back then, she told me that it could be the position that I was standing that caused my dog to feel intimidated. No further bitings occurred after that. I have completely forgotten them so the new owner was not informed. However both the trainer and owner were informed that my dog has the tendency to resource guard.

    When I spoke to the trainer today because of the allegations, she told me that as long as a dog bites or attempted to bite, it is considered as one with a “history of bites”. I am just appalled. Apparently the new owner has issues with my dog now and the trainer seems to giving us both, the new owner and myself the impression that my dog’s current behaviour is due to the issues which he already has but it got surfaced now. I am not sure what issues by dog has or what she’s trying to imply.

    I feel so sorry for both my dog and myself. When I handed my dog to the new owner, I had been truthful. I didn’t know that I have to let the owner know of 2 biting incidents, which I have completely forgotten about it.

    We really didn’t have any issues with my dog. Had it not been covid that I can’t return home, I am sure my dog would still be home waiting for me. I felt so maligned that I withheld the truth.

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