Aggression: learning to interpret
a dog's warning signals
Sometimes dog owners are faced with a pet's behavioral problems. By far, the most common problem is biting. Oftentimes, it is domestic dogs that bite and they tend to bite mainly children who live in the same house with them or unrelated children who happen to be around.
Sometimes dog owners are faced with a pet's behavioral problems. By far, the most common problem is biting. Oftentimes, it is domestic dogs that bite and they tend to bite mainly children who live in the same house with them or unrelated children who happen to be around.

However, it would be unfair to blame dogs for their unpredictability because they are quite unambiguous about their intentions.

Many problems can be avoided if the issues related to the dog's well-being are taken seriously. Remember that for most of our four-legged friends, biting is an extreme measure used when other means of communication fail. So how can we avoid manifestations of aggression?

Here are 10 stages of a dog's "very last warning" and every owner should learn how to spot these before it is too late.

Aggression in dogs: warning signals:
  1. When the dog yawns, closes its eyes and licks its nose. It's a sign of discomfort.
  2. The pet turns its head away.
  3. Your four-legged friend turns his back on you.
  4. The dog tries to leave. This serves as a reminder that all children regardless, need to especially respect the dog's "leave me alone" right. It's important not to chase the dog around and certainly not to get it cornered and I mean this in a literal sense.
  5. If a situation doesn't improve, the dog flattens its ears in a backward position.
  6. Then it curls its tail inward and shrinks it.
  7. When the dog lies on its side with its legs stretched out. Many people wrongly interpret this pose as an expression of pleasure and this is a dangerous misconception. When the dog is pleased and wants love and cuddles, it actually exposes its belly. When the dog is stretched out on its side, it is an urgent request: "Please leave me alone!"
  8. If the dog wrinkles its nose, grins or shows its teeth or looks you in the eyes — this is a direct threat.
  9. If the dog growls, this means you are in a red danger zone. The danger is coming but the dog is still trying to communicate with you. Growling is not always a sign of displaying dominance. The dog is actually requesting that you should seriously leave it alone. So, you should never punish a dog for that. If what you are doing is not a matter of life and death, give the dog a chance to escape from the situation.
  10. If all the warnings are ignored, the dog will resort to using its final weapon - the teeth.
As a rule, dogs use all the possible signals and it should be our aim to be able to recognize these.

Small dogs,although this may seem strange, often resort to the biting stage much faster than larger dogs. They can rapidly go through all the stages before growling. This has an explanation. The thing is, small dogs usually have a moment of sadness when all the mild preliminary stages of communication are meaningless. When people see an angry German Shepherd or Rottweiler they are more likely to be cautious and they stop the behavior the dog finds disturbing. On the other hand, a small Yorkshire Terrier or Bichon Frise is not taken seriously. People react like. "Oh, what a lovely baby! It wants to seem big and brave!"

There's one simple conclusion: to avoid getting bitten, you need to learn yourself and teach children as well how to understand the dog's language,as dogs also learn to understand ours, and finally, have respect for their personal boundaries.

Do not try and deal with canine aggression yourself. Find an experienced canine specialist to help you.
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