There are over 4.5 million dog bites reported with adults and children annually and almost a million of these bites require a trip to the hospital.  There are about 78 million dogs in the United States and over 315 million people so that’s almost one dog for every four people in the United States.

The issue becomes in our ability to better understand and communicate with our dogs and to make sure that both our children and our dogs are properly supervised.  The core of the issues comes down to understanding body language. Many people believe that the bite just came out of the blue with no warning.  In fact the dog is warning us but we often don’t understand what they’re saying.  Most dog bites occur due to our own inability to greet them properly.

Doggie Body LanguageThese are some common signs of an anxious dog. The dog in the photo above is displaying quite a few signs that he is NOT in a comfortable situation (closed tight mouth, ears back, stiff body) – this is how dog bites begin!

Lip licking or tongue flicking

Turning their head or body away from something/someone

Tight, stiff and rigid body

Ears back, tail tucked, furrowed brow

Shaking off (like they’ve just had a bath)

Scratching/Itching (set off by a certain situation not an allergy issue)

Slight or major cowering



Hypervigilant (looking every which way – concerned)

For a great handout to share with kids, click here Click Here

Here’s an excellent video for you to share with your children – it really helps you better understand what your dog’s telling you through their body language.  Better understanding what they’re telling you can help you avoid a dog bite in the future.