March 1, 2014 In Aggression
Why Dogs Bite
Dog bite – Act of aggression or reaction
A dog bite is simply a reaction from your dog to a particular situation or moment, if your dog bites you, another human or even another dog it will be the most difficult challenge you will ever face.
This is hard because all of us are emotional creatures. We bring dogs into our lives because they share so many feelings with us. But when it goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong.
Aggression is the most challenging problem we face as a behaviourist. We can be working with people who still love their dogs even though they are aggressive; others want to opt out instantly from their relationship with their animal.
The problems arise when some people in their attempts to make things better with their dog may inadvertently pander to a controlling mindset of their dog. Other dog owners that are facing the same sort of issues may return the hostility towards their dog.
None of these emotion-charged responses improves a dog’s aggressive behaviour and biting is the most serious of all behaviours. This is a very complex area of behaviour.
Every individual case is slightly different this article is going to arm you with a basic understanding of the reasons for biting; you can then start the process of leading your dog to more balanced behaviour.
Canine aggression is not a simple case of that any dog should not be aggressive towards anything or anybody anytime because we say so. Our relationships with our dogs are actually fairly complicated. Dogs have always been considered man’s best friends because our interspecies relationship stems back thousands of years.
Most dogs live with their owners in relative harmony. We actually believe we are communicating with them through speech when in reality a dog is watching us continually, picking up signals we don’t know we’re sending.
Some dogs interpret human communication very differently from others. They will read the signals but get it wrong. When the human starts to send strong, misinterpreted signals the dog can react badly. This is where miscommunication can lead to disaster. You are the leader and it is your job and responsibility to learn to speak the dog’s language.
Dogs will expect the same things from us as they do from each other. Communication between them is partly verbal, body language signals and energy. It is so important that you realise that simply body language and facial expressions is communicating with your dog.
Simply example of this is if you lean over your dog or go to hug them and make direct eye contact they may feel dominated. The same applies if you allow your dog to push ahead of you on a walk or let them sleep on your bed; this sort of behaviour can make them outrank you. So whether you think you understand each other you could both be wrong.
Dog’s behaviour like any other animal is based on instinct and most dogs could survive if they needed to in the wild. Hunting and killing prey would all come fairly natural to them, the need for the pack structure would become so strong that the instinct to be able to integrate and fit into the dominance structure would override any domestic behaviours.
We have seen this in the past and the present after natural disasters and in war-torn countries. You will see packs of domestic pet dogs drawn to each other in a bid to survive, creating a pack structure between them similar to their wild relatives.
Now when you understand how strong these canine social skills and instincts are then force them into the confines of four walls. How can they establish a relationship with the human and other dogs, when the human is restricted in so many ways now with their dogs?
A dog needs to know where to belong within the human household structure as well as the canine structure. A large number of the behaviours I work with are deep-rooted in anxiety and all based on the miscommunication of the human.
Nothing excuse’s canine aggression, dogs should not hurt people or each other. We humans have a responsibility. We invented this contrived existence of ours and we have chosen to bring our dogs along. We are obliged to make it right.
Our dogs love us and become part of us. That commitment makes us healthier. But if you take your behavioural maladjustment dog to the shelter or have her put down you are sending part of yourself to that place right along with her. Many of us already have lives that are littered with the debris of broken relationships. We must stop this for our own sanity.
Nearly every aggressive dog can be managed.