If your dog has bitten someone, you may feel various emotions. Fear, anger, and confusion are common reactions.
You may feel like you’re in uncharted territory and don’t know what to do next.
This guide is meant to help frustrated dog owners like you who have gone through the experience of their dog biting someone.
We’ll talk about what led to the bite, what you should do immediately after the bite, and long-term solutions for preventing future bites.
First, figure out what led to the bite
The first thing you need to do is figure out what caused the dog to bite.
There are many possible reasons why a dog might bite, but here are some of the most common:
One of the most common reasons that dogs bite people is out of fear. Dogs may become afraid if they feel threatened or if they are startled. If a dog feels like it is in danger, it may bite in order to protect itself.
Another common reason for dogs to bite is if they are in pain. If a dog is injured or ill, it may bite out of fear or confusion. Dogs may also bite if they are trying to defend themselves from being hurt.
Dogs are also known to be territorial creatures, and may bite if they feel like their territory is being invaded. This can include biting people who come into the home, or even people who approach the dog while it is outside.
Dogs may also become possessive of their food, toys, or other belongings and may bite if they feel like someone is trying to take them away. This is especially common in dogs that have not been properly socialized and do not know how to share.
Some dogs may also be aggressive by nature and may bite as a way to assert dominance over others. This type of aggression is often seen in dogs that have not been properly trained or socialized and can be a serious problem.
Dogs can also suffer from anxiety, which can lead to biting as a way to self-soothe or release stress. Dogs with anxiety may bite out of fear or frustration, and this can be a difficult behavior to deal with.
Dogs may also bite when they are excited, such as when playing with someone or when greeting someone new. This type of biting is usually not malicious and can be controlled with proper training.
Puppies and young dogs may sometimes bite out of curiosity, as they are exploring their world and learning about new things. This type of biting is usually not harmful and will typically stop as the dog gets older and more experienced.
What to do immediately after your dog bites someone
If you’re reading this, odds are you’re probably going to benefit from the section below since the bite has already happened. But if for some reason you’re anticipating a bite or this has literally JUST occured, here’s what I recommend:
1. Keep calm
If your dog bites someone, it is important to stay calm. Getting upset or angry will only make the situation worse and could cause your dog to become more agitated.
2. Apologize to the victim
Even if your dog has never bitten anyone before, it is important to apologize to the victim. Let them know that you are sorry for what happened and that you will do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
3. Offer to pay for any medical expenses
If the victim needs medical attention, offer to pay for their expenses. This will show that you are taking responsibility for what happened and that you are willing to help in any way you can.
4. Get your dog away from the victim
As soon as possible, remove your dog from the vicinity of the victim. This will help to diffuse the situation and will also prevent your dog from biting anyone else.
5. Leash your dog
Once you have removed your dog from the scene, it is important to leash them if they aren’t already leashed. This will ensure that they cannot bite anyone else and will also help to keep them under control.
6. Cooperate with authorities
If the authorities are called to the scene, it is important to cooperate with them. Answer any questions they have truthfully and provide any information they request.
7. Quarantine your dog
If instructed by authorities, quarantine your dog away from other people and animals. This is important in order to prevent the spread of disease and also to contain the situation.
8. Seek professional help
If your dog has a history of aggression or has never been socialized properly, it is important to seek professional help. A behaviorist or trainer can teach you how to better manage your dog’s aggression and prevent future incidents from occurring.
9. Take preventive measures
Once you have taken care of the immediate situation, it is important to take preventive measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. This may include leashing your dog at all times when in public, enrolling them in obedience training, or avoiding situations that trigger their aggression.
What to do if your dog already bit someone
Okay – so what if your dog already bit someone and maybe some time has passed? What can you do now?
Get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible
If your dog has never been to a veterinarian, now is the time. A check-up can rule out any possible medical causes for aggression and biting. The vet may also recommend some behavior modification strategies or medication to help with your dog’s aggressive behavior.
Consider enrolling your dog in obedience training or behavior modification classes
If your dog is not already enrolled in obedience training or behavior modification classes, now may be the time to do so. A professional trainer can help you to understand why your dog is biting and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Cooperate with any animal control officers who may be investigating the incident
If animal control is called to investigate the incident, it is important to cooperate with them. Be honest about what happened and provide any information they request. Animal control may decide to impound your dog while they investigate the situation further.
Be prepared to answer questions about your dog’s vaccination history and past behavior
You will likely be asked about your dog’s vaccination history and past behavior. Be prepared to answer these questions truthfully. Animal control may also ask for permission to access your dog’s medical records.
Keep your dog away from other people and animals until you are certain that he is not a risk to them
It is important to keep your dog away from other people and animals until you are certain that he is not a risk to them. This may mean keeping him leashed at all times, confining him to a specific area of your home, or not allowing visitors in your home.
If the person bitten requires medical attention, be prepared to pay for any medical bills that may incurred
If the person bitten requires medical attention, be prepared to pay for any medical bills that may incurred. This is important in order to show that you are taking responsibility for what happened and that you are willing to help in any way you can.
If you are sued, be sure to cooperate with your attorney and follow all court orders
Again, this (from my experience) is rare, but if you are sued, it is important to cooperate with your attorney and follow all court orders. This is the best way to ensure that the case is resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner.
Follow any orders from animal control or your veterinarian regarding quarantine or euthanasia of your dog
If animal control or your veterinarian orders that your dog be quarantined, it is important to follow their instructions. This is important in order to prevent the spread of disease and also to contain the situation.
While I’ve seen this to be highly unlikely, if your dog is ordered to be euthanized, it is important to comply with this order. This is a difficult decision, but it is important to remember that your dog’s safety and well-being is always the most important thing.
How to prevent future dog bites from happening
Okay, the previous two sections were pretty brutal, but I had to be honest. Now, assuming nothing wild happened and you still have your dog and the incident was just minor (hopefully!) let’s talk about how to prevent dog bites from happening in the future!
Don’t encourage it
One of the best ways to prevent your dog from biting is to not encourage it. This means not playing games like tug-of-war or wrestling with your dog, as these can lead to biting. Additionally, you should avoid roughhousing with your dog or letting them play too roughly with other dogs, as this can also lead to biting.
Teach them “no”
It’s important that you teach your dog the word “no” and that you enforce it when they do something you don’t want them to do, such as biting. You should say “no” in a firm voice and then provide a positive reinforcement, such as a treat, when they stop the behavior.
Socialize them early
Socializing your dog from a young age is another important way to prevent biting. This means exposing them to a variety of people, places, and experiences so that they learn how to behave around others. Dogs that are well-socialized are less likely to bite out of fear or aggression.
Spay or neuter them
Spaying or neutering your dog can also help to prevent biting. This is because intact dogs (those who have not been spayed or neutered) often have more aggressive behaviors than those who have been spayed or neutered. Intact dogs also tend to mark their territory by urine spraying and may try to fight other dogs, both of which can lead to biting.
Train them properly
Proper training is essential for preventing your dog from biting. You should start training your dog as early as possible and continue throughout their life. Training will help them learn how to behave around people and other animals and will make them less likely to bite out of fear or aggression.
Provide mental stimulation
Another way to prevent biting is to provide your dog with mental stimulation through activities like obedience training, agility training, puzzle toys, and nose work. These activities help to tire your dog out mentally and can reduce problem behaviors like biting
Biting is a problem that can occur in any dog, regardless of breed or age.
There are a number of things that you can do to prevent your dog from biting, including socializing them early, training them properly, providing them with mental stimulation, and spaying or neutering them.
If your dog does bite someone, it is important to cooperate with your attorney and follow all court orders.