5 Signs a Dog May Attack

April 15, 2013

Dogs do not attack without warning.  The warning signs, however, must be recognized by humans if they do not want to be victims of a dog bite.  Knowing what to look for will help you avoid being bit.  Keep reading for the top five signs to watch for; knowing them can save you a lot of pain and suffering in the long run.


A dog that feels threatened will emit a deep growl as warning.  This growl will seem to come from deep within and is his way of telling you to stay back.  A growling dog is one that feels threatened and will bite if pushed.

Raised fur

When a dog is feeling threatened, the hair on its back, from the base of his tail to the back of his neck, will stand up.  You can see what looks like a line going up the center of his back.  If this happens and you proceed to approach, a dog bite is almost a certainty.

Teeth showing

Along with a growl, a dog getting ready to bite may roll his upper lip back so you can see his teeth.  It may look like he is smiling, but his message is more along the lines of “See what I have for a weapon.” than “I’m happy to see you.”

Whites of eyes are visible

If you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes; a dog bite is very close.  Dogs that feel threatened will lower their heads in preparation of an attack.  At the same time, they will keep their gaze on their target.  This combination of slightly lowered head and steady gaze position the eye where the whites are visible.

Stiff stance

A dog preparing to attack will stiffen his entire body.  His tail will be raised and stiff, his ears laid back and his legs ready to spring forward.  His head may be lowered slightly, giving the impression of a bull about to charge.

Not every dog will show all five of the above signs but each is an indicator that the dog is feeling threatened and could attack at any moment.  In order to avoid a dog bite, do not approach any dog exhibiting even one of these signs.  Walk slowly away and give him a chance to calm himself.

One Response to “5 Signs a Dog May Attack”

  1. Marcela Says:

    Excellent, excellent post. You certainly know how to read a dog’s body language. I just wish more people, including pet parents, would take it upon themselves to learn more about a dog’s body language. I do agree with you when you say that a dogs does send warnings that he is ready to bite, but a lot of people have no idea how to read a dog.

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