When your dog bites a family member, a friend or a stranger a lot of feelings, frustrations and anxieties arise.
I have created this guide as a venue to begin to help you understand why your dog may have bitten, the realistic possibilities for the dog’s future and your responsibility to the dog and everyone who comes in contact with Rover.
Once your dog has bit, all trust is lost in the near term. The consequence of the bite is that you now feel a constant humming of anxiety within you because you are not sure when it will happen again.
You will become hyper vigilant around all people when your dog is near them. Feeling this way daily over any term of time is mentally draining and physically exhausting.
It’s like you inherited a stressful part time job that doesn’t pay anything but you are obligated to watch your dog’s every move to avoid another incident.
When a dog bites the cascade of negative impact affects all areas of your life:
- Family life is now strained because Mom and Dad have to make a decision if the dog is even safe to be within the home.
Many disputes can ensue because of the different perspectives of the event and how to address it moving forward.
- Social life is negatively impacted because you can virtually have no company over without feeling scared of the possibility of another incident.
This is a gradual break down, one day you’re throwing BBQ or dinner parties weekly then 6 months later you cannot even remember the last time you had company over.
- You stop walking the dog if it bit a stranger because you don’t want it to happen again. Then over the course of days or weeks your dog gets even more challenging to live with because they aren’t getting out for exercise or out of the house.
Now they are often acting like a caged animal and the stress continues to build for everyone.
- If you run a home business now you are stressed while working wondering if 1) the dog will bark nonstop since it’s locked away when you are with a client or 2) if the dog has access to the client you won’t be very present for them because you will be concerned that your dog could bite the person if they made the wrong move.
- Or if you work outside of the home, stressing over if the kids did as they were told and didn’t invite a friend over or lunch. Or if your spouse remembered to crate the dog before his friend walks in the home to watch the game.
- You now expend a ton of energy daily checking to make sure all the doors are locked on the house so no one can just walk in. You have to do daily gate checks to make sure the kids didn’t forget to latch the gate because who knows what would happen if the dog got out.
- You feel the stress and strain of being responsible for whether or not you have to end your dog’s life in fear of if and when she will hurt someone again.
And if the dog does bite again you ask yourself, can I live with another incident if this were to happen. I could go on and on, but once your dog has bitten your day to day life will drastically shifted.
Anatomy of a dog bite
In my experience the vast majority of dog bite incidents happen because of an underlying fear or anxiety the dog has. Or at least that was how it began, sometimes a dog can learn confidence being threatening toward people, when a dog learns this…Things get very difficult.
Every dog as well as human has triggers. A trigger is something that makes the dog feel uncomfortable, anxious, scared or threatened internally. For example let’s pretend your dog doesn’t do well with children and your sister visits your home with her 4 year old daughter.
4 year old girls love dogs and love to give hugs but since your dog doesn’t trust children when your niece walks over to Rover and kisses his nose, Rover then is triggered to feel very uncomfortable.
Rover will not necessarily bite because of that first interaction but it will definitely trigger Rover to feel uncomfortable. Now again let’s pretend after the kiss from your niece then Rover takes the high road and walks away from the girl and goes to lay by itself in another room.
But your niece follows him because she just loves a soft, fluffy dog to cuddle! Rover gets up again and goes to another room to attempt to alleviate his anxiety of the child’s presence.
Your niece continues to follow and now is chasing him. Your dog is now triggered further into an anxious and possibly frustrated state.
Since your niece is having trouble getting Rover to stop moving so she can pet him she then grabs his tail hard and Rover now is triggered a third time from the immense pain and pressure that is felt on his tail.
Rover now decides he can no longer let this go and decides to bite the child’s arm. While you are sitting back enjoying a nice cup of hot Tea catching up with your sibling until you hear the scream of pain from your niece.
Now Rover’s life is on the line and you have no idea what to do. You think well I probably should put Rover down, but he’s the most amazing dog and he’s never done this before and UGH this is so hard.
“I wish this didn’t happen”. But it did and now you are left stumbling through unknown territory with a terribly difficult decision on your hands…
This is simply one example and there are many different situations where dogs bite, but the common theme in every case is that a tough decision has to be made.
There is much for you to understand after a bite incident. So far I have offered some help along the process of understanding why it happened. Now there are other points to consider.
Below are the next 4 segments to consider after a bite incident.
3)The Good News
4)What to do Now
The 4 segments are available to you for free, all you need to do to receive them and trust me they are well worth it, is fill in the form below and you will receive an email with more informative information. This is all yours for FREE! No Strings