HomeBehavior & trainingWhy Do Dogs Bite Their Owners?

Why Do Dogs Bite Their Owners?

by Adopt a Pet, | January 8, 2024

Why Do Dogs Bite Their Owners?

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Dogs may bite their owners for many reasons, and not all are related to aggression. A dog may bite after being startled, because he was scared, or because he is in pain. When a dog bites his owner, that doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is aggressive or must be rehomed, but you do need to figure out what caused the incident and then work with your vet and/or an animal behaviorist to prevent it from happening again.

Why Normally Docile Dogs Bite 

If you know your dog has aggressive tendencies, it’s not so much of a shock when he bites. Getting help for an aggressive dog should include assistance from an animal behaviorist with specific experience dealing with aggressive dogs. The good news is that, in many cases, with proper intervention an aggressive dog can learn to live in a family and enjoy a happy life.

But what about when a non-aggressive dog bites? Some of the reasons this could happen include:

  • Medical Condition: This is a common cause for unexpected aggression. Dogs can’t communicate their pain or discomfort, so it can manifest in various ways including snapping and biting.

  • Play Biting: Mouthing is part of dogs’ play, and it’s possible a dog will be a little too enthusiastic in their play leading to a bite that breaks the skin.

  • Stress: Dogs can become stressed out in many different situations such as being around rambunctious kids who haven’t been taught how to behave around dogs. Some dogs react to stress by biting.

  • Fear: Like humans, dogs want to protect themselves when they are afraid. For dogs, that includes showing signs of aggression, up to and including biting. 

After The Dog Bite 

After a dog bites his owner, you must take action. Simply hoping it won’t happen again isn’t the way to go. Instead, work with a vet or animal behaviorist to figure out why your dog bit you and to take steps to prevent it from happening again. The prognosis for the dog depends on what triggered the bite and other factors you can discuss with your vet or animal behaviorist who can work with you to develop a plan to prevent future aggression.  

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