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Bite Prevention: It's All About Understanding Your Dogs Communication System 

People tend to believe that dogs are ok with what's happening to, or around them, as long as they're not growling, snarling, snapping or (if all else fails) biting. The truth is that these 'more obvious' communications only occur well after the dog had already exhibited a series of silent behaviors to communicate their discomfort in the situation that no one recognized, much less acted upon!

Every dog communicates using a common system. They're all born with it, it's always 'on', and every dog uses it constantly, as they make their way through life in a humans' world.  The good news is that they have a system through which to communicate. The bad news is that most humans are completely oblivious to it, which renders the system for so many, all but useless. Worse yet, ignoring the sometimes subtle (and often silent!) signs of stress sets dogs up with little choice but to use those 'more obvious' behaviors (like growling, snapping or biting!) next time they're in the same, or similar situation...and there's always a next time.  


The canine communication system is designed to help dogs survive and stay safe from real or perceived threats. I've placed emphasis on the word "perceived" because how any dog perceives what's happening to, or around them, is all that matters to them -- and their perception of things dictates their behavior. So even if it doesn't make sense to you, honor your dogs perspective and pay attention!  A deeper understanding of the more subtle (often silent) signals of stress from your dog (or someone else's!) will help you to know when it's time to help Fido or FiFi out of the situation - before they have no choice but to growl, snap, snarl or bite!


Bites result in tragic consequences for dogs as they are usually blamed, and labeled as "aggressive" "unpredictable" or "bit for no reason" when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Had someone with a true understanding of how dogs communicate been there to recognize and respond to the clear and early signals of stress and discomfort from the dog, the bite wouldn't have happened.


Bite prevention is all about knowing what to look for in your dog's behavior and body language so you can recognize when they're stressed at the very earliest point, and intervene on their behalf. So, how can you learn more about your dog's communication system so you'll know what to look for?


Click to see photos of real-life situations where dogs are communicating very clearly that they're not comfortable and want to escape what's happening. The point of this is to show you what dogs who are stressed look like when they're using their communication systems - which are sometimes completely silent.  


Are you sure you know what to look for in a dogs body language to keep everyone, including your dog, safe? 

Read for some eye opening statistics! 


Dog bite prevention saves lives and is every dog guardian's responsibility.  Start by educating yourself!  Once you know more about your dogs' communication system, you can help others understand their dog's communication system too!  


As always, please feel free to share our Tips with your dog loving friends and family.

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