My dog bit me: how to react?
A dog bite is not a trivial act. Superficial or violent, it is a sign that something is wrong. Your dog may not have any other way of expressing his feelings to you, and his aggressiveness is a way of seeking your attention. To help you in this kind of situation, we present the most common reasons that can lead a dog to bite and we advise you on the reaction to adopt, for your well-being and that of your animal.
Why can a dog bite?
A dog can be pushed to bite for multiple reasons, because each animal has its own sensitivity and a unique character that makes it react to a given situation aggressively or not. Here is a presentation of the most common causes of bites.
A dog that is surprised or that feels cornered, cornered, will tend to bite to ward off the danger that frightens it. It is a defense system for the animal.
This type of bite occurs when you wake a sleeping dog, when you make a sudden loud noise near it, when it is locked in a small space, etc. In summary, in any situation where the dog is surprised when he does not expect it.
irritation or pain
A dog that is in pain or some form of irritation may bite in self-defence. Indeed, if he is injured or suffering, he sometimes has no other way to obtain his peace of mind. Likewise, if our touch awakens this pain, it instinctively reacts by biting to end it or to establish physical distance.
This situation generally occurs in an injured dog that is not left alone, in a dog that is injured while grooming it for example, or in an old dog that suffers from osteoarthritis and for which any movement is painful.
Relationships within the household
For your dog to feel good in your home, it is imperative that the rules are established. The dog being sociable by nature, it needs a clear and fixed social organization. If the situation does not seem clear to him, if you grant him advantages which you then take away from him, if you do not reprimand him as soon as he does something stupid, he loses his bearings, he feels destabilized and insecure. He can then bite to clarify your relationship and assert his position within the family.
Your dog may feel attacked, frightened or insecure because of a situation, an animal or a person that he cannot reach, and that he sees for example in the street through the window. In this case, he can redirect his anger, his fear or his frustration on the first being within his reach by biting it.
The predation instinct
The predation instinct of the dog is natural and it can wake up at any time, even when the animal is domesticated. The dog can indeed be tempted to attack and bite small animals within its reach, but also the man. Thus, a running child can cause a dog to react on instinct, to chase and bite.
The expression of a malaise
A dog who would live in appalling conditions, left to himself, locked up, without landmarks, feels constant stress. In this case, he may get into the habit of biting in order to express his discomfort, because he convinces himself that it is the only way to be seen and heard.
My dog bit me: how should I react to myself?
Regardless of its severity, a bite is a strong gesture from the dog, an aggressive signal that should not be ignored. But you should not react to it anyhow! Here are our tips for adopting the right attitude, for you and your four-legged friend.
Treat your wound, even if the bite is superficial. Clean the wound with soap and water and remove any foreign bodies. Disinfect properly with an antiseptic solution to avoid the risk of infection.
If the wound is deep, wrap it with a clean cloth or bandage and consult the doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. If you are injured in the face, neck or genitals, contact the emergency services immediately.
In any case, when you are bitten, check that you are well vaccinated against tetanus. Otherwise, consult your doctor within a maximum of 48 hours so that he administers tetanus immunoglobulins.
My dog bit me: how should I react to him?
If your dog threatens you, listen to him. He seeks to express to you what he feels, his fear, his pain, his stress, his discomfort or any other negative state. He does not suddenly become mean, he tries to communicate to you how he feels and therefore he needs to be listened to and respected.
So, if he threatens you, stop and back away slowly. Leave him alone and seek to understand him. Does he look hurt? Was he afraid? Is he experiencing a stressful or anxiety-provoking situation? Avoid arousing his anger in order to avoid the bite and do the same with your children by keeping them at a distance. Do not disturb him when he sleeps or when he eats. Leave him alone when he is in his basket at the risk of invading his space and stressing him.
If the accident happens and your dog bites you, you should act in the right way.
Try to understand your dog by being attentive to him.
In general, a dog bites when he is afraid, when he is in pain, when he senses danger or when he feels stressed and cornered, with no possibility of escape. It is therefore a normal behavior, certainly aggressive, but in reaction to a given and risky situation. However, this behavior cannot be tolerated, which is why you need to understand your animal and what it is trying to tell you.
Investigate the reason for his aggressiveness. Has he experienced any trauma recently? A change of life? Moving ? The loss of a loved one or, on the contrary, the arrival of a baby or a new animal? Was he afraid? Has he been confronted with a new situation? Do you devote less time to it than before? Is he injured? Does it feel responsive when you touch it in a specific spot? Ask yourself all possible questions to identify the source of his aggression.
If you are unable to understand the origin of his reaction, consult the veterinarian. Initially, the practitioner will be able to ensure that your animal is not suffering from rabies; it is a normal safety process practiced in this kind of situation. The vet will also examine your dog for any injury or pain. It is sometimes difficult to identify certain suffering linked to a disease, which can lead the practitioner to carry out additional examinations.
If the situation recurs, consult a behaviorist
A bite is a serious act. If risky situations are frequent, it is best to seek the help of a behaviorist. This can help you re-establish a climate of trust within your home and a reassuring and balanced relationship between you and your dog.
Your dog does not bite without reason, he tries to express himself and react to your misunderstanding; it is therefore necessary to understand why. Moreover, if your dog has bitten you once, there is no guarantee that he will do it again. It all depends on the context and the origin of his aggressiveness.