That Bites the Big One

11 Jan

When a dog bites, we often hear, “no one ever saw it coming.” Unfortunately, in many of these cases, a professional (or even just a dog owner with an ounce of common sense and access to the internet) could have seen it a mile away if they were given the chance.

Back off, bitch.


We’ve all seen those “cute” viral videos where a baby steals a cookie from a dog or some asshat repeatedly tries to take a dog’s bone while some other jackhole giggles incessantly in the  background.  If you’re like us (and we hope you are), you find yourself rolling your eyes and questioning the future of humanity when you see videos like that.

And why you should be sterilized.

And why you should be sterilized.



There are some pretty well-documented warning signs of a dog bite, so anyone who owns a dog (or is around dogs since it’s naive to think you can trust random Joe dog owner to read their own dog’s behavior accurately) should make an effort to learn even the most basics of dog body language.  It’s also important to note that each dog has a unique “dialect” when it comes to warning signs, so the phrase “know thy dog” is also of importance here.  And if you know what triggers your dog or what has led to a bite in the past, please god, manage the shit of any situation in which you think your dog might bite again.  It’s one thing to be naive about dog body language and behavior, but it’s another to be willfully ignorant and/or dismissive.


To me pay attention, you will. Hrmmm.


Here’s the thing.  Dogs rarely bite without any warning.  There’s almost always a warning.  You just didn’t see it.   When someone says that “there was no warning” before a bite, what they are really saying is, “I wasn’t paying enough attention because I was engrossed in level 158 of Candy Crush” or “I didn’t know enough to see the signals the dogs was sending that he was uncomfortable”.   We get it, dog body language can be hard to read, especially for novice owners and bites can happen very fast, but please for all that is good and holy, don’t say that there was no warming.  Instead, do yourself a favor and ask how you missed the warning and how you can catch it the next time.  Throughout the day, your dog is giving you repeated status updates (Just like that annoying friend on Facebook  who wants you to know about their sudden rash and what they made for dinner), so do yourself a favor and pay attention.

Or maybe you just weren’t hugged enough as a child.


9 Responses to “That Bites the Big One”

  1. Juli Goodrich January 11, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

    Or, and this is my personal favorite. I noticed the dog was uncomfortable, and thought that I could force him to be “friends” with the baby by forcing interaction, in which I encouraged my child to be rude to the dog, and punished him for telling me that he hates this interaction.

    Personally, I always talk to new baby owners about respecting the limits of your dog’s patience with your primate antics, and giving him space and room to avoid things he doesn’t enjoy, including your baby!

    My sister’s dog was unhappy when her oldest kid started walking, it made her uncomfortable. Giving her space to avoid the baby and giving her time to learn that my sister wouldn’t let the kids bother her, and giving my sister time to teach the kids to respect the dog’s space has worked out well for all of them.

  2. Susan G. January 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    Times have changed with regard to punishing dogs for biting. About 50 yrs ago when I was young, I was bitten in the face by a relative’s farm collie. Instead of punishing the dog, I was asked what I had done to her. Well I had been trying to hug her, and she had enough. She was not rehomed or put down, instead I received a lecture about leaving the dog alone.

  3. Diane January 11, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    Reminds me of a certain asshole famous “dog trainer” who has a video of him screwing around with a dog that is already very food-resource-guarding and Mr. Asshole is showing how he can take the food away from the dog. The dog, of course, nails him and Mr. Asshole says, “Didn’t see that coming!” My Uncle Herman, who’s senile, totally blind and has been dead for quite a while, could see that coming.

    • AD January 11, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

      However the fact of the matter was he and probably any other trainer alive would agree that dog should not be living in a house with a small child. As big of an idiotic comment that was, maybe he should not have pushed that dog but pushing that dog showed how far that dog is willing to go. Yeah yeah yeah all dogs can bite but not all dogs would resort to that level of biting. The dog was rehomed and happy and alive. I have a problem with Jackson Galaxy for the same reason. “I’m going to corner a cat and ignore the growling and hissing and obvious fear and flat out signals and let the cat repeatedly tear up my hand for show ratings”

      • mmctaq January 12, 2016 at 1:59 am #

        Thank you. He was hired to see if the kids in the house were safe, and pushing to see where that dog drew the line was the only way to determine that. I suspect the comment had a whole lot more to do with the intensity of the dog’s reaction than to the fact she did react.

  4. mizpah1957 January 11, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    How very true. There are some people I would like to make them watch videos of behavior and then rewrite this essay (in handwriting) to drive home the point.

  5. AD January 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Of course though there are plenty of cases where kids did not provoke the dog, countless cases of kids playing outside and dogs escaping from yards or houses just to chase down and maul the kid. There’s still a reason for that. Dogs are predators and kids many times act like prey.

  6. Nicole January 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    This is so important!!!! Well written. I’m printing this and hanging it on my wall.

  7. brindlenut February 10, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

    People also like to punish growls…. and then wonder why the dog bit “without warning”. Fuckin idiots.

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