Knowing when your dog is about to attack takes experience. Learning how to identify warning signs will teach you how to take preventive measures.
Body movement and dilated eyes
Before a dog attacks, it will lean forward. Its body tenses and its hairs stand up on its back. It’s not uncommon to see an erected tail. Look at their eyes – if the whites are showing, it means the dog is agitated and ready to pounce.
Growling and bared teeth
When you notice that the dog’s lips are drawn this indicates an obvious sign of aggressiveness. Be on the alert for signs of growling, snarling and snapping when the dog is being lifted, petted or eating. If this happens, do not make direct eye contact or any sudden movement. Back away slowly as it will discourage a full on attack.
Sudden change in behaviour
Most dogs engage in other activities to avoid a direct attack. Your dog may start looking extremely attentive and protective over an object – this could be food, toys or its bed. Any sudden changes in behaviour are warning signs that your dog could be agitated and about to attack.
Dogs are pack animals and tend to show their superiority through domination. They may mount people, objects, or fellow dogs in a bid to show who’s boss. Domineering dogs may lunge at you and block your path. Keep calm and avoid any sudden movement. Back away slowly to avoid further confrontation.
Signs of stress
A dog may yawn when someone approaches; it may stop panting and turn to look or walk away. Do not chase after it as it may be telling you that it is not feeling well. Observe your dog closely if it shows fear around strangers and in new surroundings. If it avoids eye contact with strangers, lowers its head and body, looks nervous and has its tail between the legs, it may be easily startled into launching an attack.