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Dog Bite - Stop Dog Biting, Stop Dog Aggression

Updated on September 19, 2014

All dogs will show some aggressive behaviors from time to time. Most dog biting behavior is attributed to dog dominance but that is rarely the case. Dogs bite or show other bad behaviors mainly because of mis-communication. Often, we give our dogs the most attention when they are behaving badly, and in this way we inadvertently reward those behaviors. Here, we provide some practical solutions to common dog aggression problems.

Dog Bite - Stop Dog Biting

Puppy biting is normal behavior. New puppies will put objects into their mouths to learn their taste and texture. Dogs also play with each other through play-biting. While there is nothing wrong with play-biting amongst dogs, it is crucial to teach a dog that biting humans is unacceptable conduct.

Stop Dog Biting Tip #1

When our dog has his mouth on us, it is important NOT to jerk away. Jerking away will cause us to get scratched. More importantly, sudden and quick movements may make the dog think it is a fun game and reinforce his biting behavior. This could ultimately result in dog aggression.

Stop Dog Biting Tip #2

Stay still and either give a No command or yelp as a puppy might do to his litter-mates when they are playing too rough. I use the yelp for puppies who are still learning and for accidental biting. Otherwise I use the No command for adult and adolescent dogs who should know better.

Dog Bite - Stop Food Aggression
Dog Bite - Stop Food Aggression

Dog Bite - Stop Food Aggression

Food aggression and resource guarding develop in dogs because they have been conditioned to think that humans or other dogs coming near their "stuff" is a bad thing. Certain dog breeds (guard dogs) may also have a higher tendency to guard.

Stop Food Aggression Tip #1

To reduce food aggression, I make sure my dog associates people coming near him with good things. For example, I may throw my dog some really good treats (cheese or bacon) while he is eating so that he learns to associate people with having more food and rewards.

Stop Food Aggression Tip #2

I also hand-feed my dogs frequently. Hand-feeding allows me to practice bite inhibition with my dog. Hand-feeding can also helps me establish leadership and strengthen the bond with my dog, because he sees that food and other valued resources comes directly from me.

Rather than giving food to my dogs for free, I get them to work for their daily food by following house rules, doing grooming, being calm, and doing simple commands for me.

Dog Bite - Stop Dog to Dog Aggression
Dog Bite - Stop Dog to Dog Aggression

Dog Bite - Stop Dog To Dog Aggression

Does your dog tense up, lunge, or bark madly when he sees another dog? Dog to dog aggression is a common problem that spoils outings and nice neighborhood walks with our dog.

There are many reasons why a dog may be reacting aggressively to another dog. It could be fear, stress, domination, protection, curiosity, or just over-excitement. When dealing with dog to dog aggression, I very carefully observe my dog, try to understand what he is trying to tell me, and what is the source of his behavior.

Stop Dog to Dog Aggression Tip #1

Dogs are very sensitive to what their human is feeling. A common mistake when meeting other dogs is to tense up and get fearful of what our dog may do. I always try to stay calm and I do not put continuous tension on the leash.

Stop Dog to Dog Aggression Tip #2

As soon as I see that my dog is starting to get stressed, I interrupt before the situation escalates. For example, I may give a verbal interrupt/command (e.g. Hey, Hey), move quickly away, and bring my dog with me. I treat and praise if he follows me on a loose leash.

Dog Bite - Stop Leash Biting
Dog Bite - Stop Leash Biting

Dog Bite - Stop Leash Biting

There are a variety of reasons why dogs leash bite. Sometimes they may just be bored; more often they are redirecting their excitement or frustration onto the leash. Ultimately, my dog was showing leash aggression because he was picking up on my weak, stressful, and fearful energy. This made him want to take over and dominate me. For shy dogs, unbalanced human energy may lead to fear aggression.

Which technique we use to stop leash aggression will depend on why our dog is doing it in the first place.

Stop Leash Aggression Tip #1

If my dog is leash biting out of boredom, I may try giving him a job to do during walks, e.g. let him carry a stick or toy. I also make our walks more interesting by playing games, changing speed, and changing direction.

Stop Leash Aggression Tip #2

If my dog is leash biting out of frustration, I get him to focus on an alternative physical activity (e.g. brisk walk home). This will help him drain some of his frustrated energy and not give him time to redirect his frustration onto the leash or onto me.

Which is the Most Difficult Aggressive Dog Behavior to Deal With?

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Please share your dog bite and dog aggression stories with us. Tell us what techniques you have tried for stopping dog bites and dog aggression.

Help Fight Dog Bites

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    • profile image

      lmst23 3 years ago

      My older daushhound ran out the door when I open it after someone knocked and nipped a child riding a bike down the sidewalk. He bit another child's a couple years ago when she startled him while he was on his leash. Am so upset and don't know what to do.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      my shiba inu at age 2 has become incredibly aggressive to the other dogs in our home a 10 and twelve year old male and female golden retreiver. Not so much the male but fight to the death with the female 5 to 10 time daily . we have no children but both me and my husband have been bit interfering. i am a dog trainer she hates being away from center of activity so i lock her her for her bad behviour but its like it gives her time to think and comes back more aggressive. we recently added a male shiba inu to our family and i need to check this behaviour as fights are escalating and im afraid the male will start the same behviour with our male golden. help me anyone i have no more ideas!!!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @goose575 lm: I just posted a comment about one of my daughters who has a pitbull. She is having a lil issue with him.However, her sister and I have never had any issues with our pits( her sister has the parents & siblings, I have one sibling). I have known plenty of friends who have never had any negative issues. So it can be done. They are just very smart and determined and need early training from the start. Just my experience. :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Today my daughter was given a warning nip/bite by her dog(pitbull). He usually just growls. This time when she reached her hand down near the dog's food, he actually put her hand in his mouth, but did not bite down. Of course she reacted with shock and a lil fear. He proceeded to growl at the the broom she used to shoo him. Thank you for your great tips! They really helped in trying figure out the differences in the way that my daughter and I are training our dogs. As my daughters were growing up, I always made sure I would always put my hand in and out of their food bowls. In all of our years of owning pets, this is the first incident! I am upset and angry at the dog. However, your tips are very helpful and helping us not to blame the dog entirely or at all for this issue. She has expressed her thanks, and will work with him as soon as she gets home from work. :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My dog is an 8yr ol male yorkie I have had for 3 years now. He's becoming very aggressive towards ME if I walk into my bedroom or past ot if im watching tv in three living room. He does this when my bf is in bed asleep and didn't this with my former roommates gf. He shows his teeth, charges after me, growls, barks...the whole nine yards!! Not to mention, I can't get to anything under the bed if he is there!! Help!!!!......before I send him packing! :(

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      goose575 lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for your great tips on dealing with aggressive dogs. Just curious, do you think there are any breeds simply incapable for being controlled? Pit bulls?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My dog is extremely fence aggressive lab There is a bark and a growls that is very intense sometimes even foaming at the mouth. I also have two small pups that the lab will growl with this same aggression if only they come close. The lab will not smell their rears as I have offered them She will have NOTHING to do with them. The lab is also extremel food aggressive. The lab tore the face of a blind golden that we had. I am not fearful of the lab only fearful of what she is capable of. She has never shown this aggression to the family but does to strangers and ALL dogs.

      Please give me advice My last resort is the shock Collar I don't know if this shock collar may make her even more aggressive.

      Holdling onto faith that no one of no animal is hurt again

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      My 7 month- old dog is being too aggressive. She fights with our other dogs everyday and when they see her, they bark continuously. Also, we tried taking her for walks but she bites and kicks us, so its impossible to get her in a leash. We tried taking her to training class but she vomits in the car and always jumps on me and claws me. How do I fix this behavior?

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      hey!! i have a 4 month old female labrador retriver puppy...me and my family members are getting tensed about her bad behaveiour...she bites her leash,spoil our shoes,and when we goto a walk with her,she tries to bite us and pull our pants... can u plz give me advise reguarding this?

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      gilly12 7 years ago

      I was about 8 and I was riding my brother's bike home from school when out of the blue about 5 or 6 dogs came running after me and the faster I went the faster they ran. They finally catch up with me and then one or two of them got a hold of my pant legs. man was I affair! A farm came running out and chased them off, but the one that had my pants leg bit me good. and I ended up having to get shoots. I personally know that dog use to bark offa lot

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      My 4 year old female golden retriever was attack by a pitbull. Now when a dog approaches her she growls. How do I break her of this habit?

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I really like the idea of stopping your pet's aggression from escalating by stepping in and interrupting them either vocally or physically before they get out of control. Good advice, thanks.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi. my dog is a year and a half ols and we got him when he was 6 months old. he is very protective of my family and when he sees us greeting someone or hugging a guest, they feel they are attacking us and tries to bite and scratch them. do you have any advice on how to make him less aggressive so he doesn't hurt anyone? thank you

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      Dog Time 8 years ago

      [in reply to Eric32450]

      Hmmm, how does Lady act during meal times? Is she very protective over her food bowl? Is she aggressive to people? or is she only aggressive to people with food?

      How you deal with the problem will depend greatly on what exactly is the aggression trigger - people, or food. It may be best to hire a professional trainer to come over and observe her so that you can accurately determine what is the key cause of her aggression. Once you know, you can slowly desensitize her to the aggression trigger(s).

      In the desensitization process, you expose Lady to small amounts of the stressful stimulus, and reward her for not showing any aggression. The details of what exactly to do, will depend on what causes the aggression. Your trainer will also be able to help you come up with a desensitization training plan.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      My dog is almost 3 yrs old. We rescued her from a home where she had been locked in a kennel all day while her owner was at work. After the owner got home from work she would then let Lady, my dog out for a short time then she was herded into a bedroom inside of the home that the owner had put linolium on the floor. Lady, was then left alone for the remainder of the night with the occasional opportunity to go outside to go to the bathroom which in turn made her kennel crazy. We were able to break her of that but now she has began to turn to biting people unexpectedly. These biting incidents happen randomly and has happened to both male and females alike. For instance, last night my girlfriend was giving Lady a treat. She asked Lady to sit which she did, Then to shake a paw, which she did without any attitude change. Then she asked Lady for the other paw and as my girlfriend reached for her paw, instantly Lady turned on her and tried to bite her arm and hand. I need advice please

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      cannedguds lm 9 years ago

      Another one of your great lenses regarding dogs! Wow! You have a healthy Shiba Inu dog! I have one, too and I still need to make a lens about him! I have found a great site filled with kinds of Shiba Inu information ! Why not go and check it out? Anyway, thanks for sharing this lens! My Shiba's not an aggressive biter but we all need to learn how to train them anyway, right?

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Liked it thanks!

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      Paul 9 years ago from Montreal

      Quality lens, well written!

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      Author

      Dog Time 9 years ago

      Glad you liked it Andrea. I'm honored to be one of the featured lenses in your group. Thanks very much!

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      Trekkiemelissa 9 years ago

      Very good Lense and very informative.