Bitten by your own dog

Ford23

Member
A friend told me that she got home one day and found her dog in a foul mood. He actually started barking at her but she managed to calm him down. This just got me thinking about what could happen in extreme cases. Is there a chance that your own dog could actually bite in some instances?
 

Vinny

DR & CRR Founder, Consultant Lead
Staff member
Great question and I would start by saying all dogs can bite. Most people do get surprised when they hear that all dogs can bite :)

As with many questions with behavior the answer is always “It Depends”.

The way I look at it is every dog has a bite threshold which will be related to trigger stacking. Much more is involved but the short answer will be yes. I’ll try to give some brief thoughts on this topic.

Most bites in my experience are from Dogs that suffer from fear and anxiety. Think of Dogs that are over aroused say from a door bell and we touch the dog after the bell rang and the dog just turns and bites. Many will label that as redirected aggression which is very common. Most owners in my experience will get bitten from redirects.

Now if we have a dog that has fear and or anxiety towards certain triggers like unfamiliar people, bikes, children and all three happen at once the dogs bite threshold be lowered and have a good chance to bite.

In your case we would have to get more info on the dogs history by asking lots of questions to look for red flags and possibly function of the behavior/body language we observed when your friend came home eg.. lunging, barking and body language they observed.

Questions like:

How old is dog?
How long you had the dog?
Does your dog have any fear towards certain things? Eg. Unfamiliar humans, dogs....
Is this a new behavior your observing?(related to how long they have the dog)

We would need a history report to understand why this dog barked or even what type of barking it was when they came home eg. Excitement, startled, unsure, fear , anxiety.....what happened after you entered?

Short answer will be yes and in my experience it usually happens with dogs that are new or been in the home for a month to a few months. Usually many red flags where missed.

Hope this helps some and makes soem sense :)
 

Woolsy

Active member
Thanks Vinny for the quick lesson on the reasons dogs bite their master.

Is it also possible that dogs may bite due to a smell that they don't like and we may have accidentally carried that smell with us from outside?
 

Vinny

DR & CRR Founder, Consultant Lead
Staff member
Thanks Vinny for the quick lesson on the reasons dogs bite their master.

Is it also possible that dogs may bite due to a smell that they don't like and we may have accidentally carried that smell with us from outside?


Yes, always many variables when it comes to behavior. I actually heard a case where a dog had a bad experience/association with someone that smelled like gasoline and it became a trigger for aggression/fear. It took some investigating before they figured out the trigger was the gas smell.
 

HereSadie

Well-known member
Did she ever find out the reason for her dog's behavior? I'm sure it feels like a betrayal to have something you love harm you. Then again, humans come out swinging against their own friends and family at times, so it's hard to hold dogs more accountable than we hold our own species. Maybe the pup is hurting and she touched a tender area.
 

RuffLuv

Member
I like what @HereSadie said about whether the owner found out the reason for the dog's behavior. If the dog was in a foul mood that means that the dog doesn't always act like that, so it's wise to find out the cause.
 

Ford23

Member
Wow, what an explanation @Vinny; you basically made me understand a lot about aggression and what may cause this. I will have to get back to my friend and find out more but I do agree that there has to be something that triggered this. It is important for a dog owner to completely understand that every other dog is different.
 
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