Dog Bites, Fights, and Owning Multiple Dogs

About 4.7 million dog bites happen a year, according to the American Humane Association. But what statistics don't show is how many bites a year could have been prevented? There really needs to be more education and resources for the Average Joe on how to read what dogs are trying to subtly tell us. This chart from Boogie the Boston Terrier's blog is one I'm really fond of.

Just because a dog bites DOES NOT mean that they are aggressive, in often cases the dogs are so stressed or scared, that they are pushed over their threshold and they react the only way they know how. To bite. If you've ever been bitten by a dog, excluding any out of the blue occurrences, whose fault was it? I bet you 9/10 times signals were missed, or misinterpreted.  
 With owning multiple dogs, fights are something that's just gonna happen. The pack have had their arguments between themselves over the years, only one occurrence did we actually have to seek medical attention. I've also been bitten a fair number of times. Twice that I can recall when I accidentally backed a dog into a corner, ignored the hints, and was told to STFU HUMAN! But most of the time it's when I stick my hands into the middle of the Bash Brothers - Stryder and Lincoln.

I got a fair reminder this evening to not stick my hands near the sharp end when breaking up a fight. No punctures, but my thumb got chomped pretty good, and will be sore for a few days. This could've been easily prevented if I had, like any sane human would, not gotten near the sharp end (or shoved my hand into someone's mouth - sorry Stryder!). The majority of the time I do get bit is due to them redirecting onto me. I do not fault them for this, again it's just one of those things that happens.

Fights in general can be prevented, if you know your dogs triggers. Lincoln's trigger is food. If one of the other dogs get too close to anything he deems a possible food source (like the trash can), I better be handy. Tsuki and Kiba have their little Alpha Bitch scuffles. The Schnauzers don't start fights, but then again won't back down from one (it's a breed/terrier thing). These are all easily prevented by being vigilant when food stuffs is out, that the girls aren't guarding me one another one, and that any grrring with Schnauzers involved is dealt with quickly.

Hopefully someone out there will find this useful. Or just take it as a 3 am rambling of a girl covered in dog hair.


Unknown November 29, 2012 at 4:56 AM  

We are always careful when out and about as you are right you need to be careful. Have a terrific Thursday.
Best wishes Molly

fati November 29, 2012 at 6:19 AM  

The Importance Of A Dog's Diet

Leigh November 29, 2012 at 7:14 AM  

Great advice! We dogs just need peeps to understand our signals better and know that when food's up we don't want anyone taking our portion :-) Hope your hand is better soon - stay safe - woofs and licks from Magic xx

Remington November 29, 2012 at 8:34 AM  

Great post, my friend!

Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM  

Yeap Dad learned this many a doggie ago, now he uses a broom to get in the middle, then it turns into play time, if its not over food.

Your Furiends
Susie & Bites

AnnStaub November 29, 2012 at 7:03 PM  

This is great advice. I have worked as a vet tech for 5 years with no serious dog bites. A couple of chomps here and there. Most of the time, they probably could have been avoided. Like you said, just because they offer to bite doesn't mean they are aggressive. Maybe they are only aggressive in certain situations. Only a handful of times have dogs offered to bite seemingly out of the blue. Reading a dog's body language is so important! It's also helpful in many other situations.

My Dog Sam - Ruptured Disk November 29, 2012 at 11:03 PM  

Hi, as you know there's four of us here. Owen, my litter brother is a bit sensitive and he can get a little testy. If he does he'll go on a stand-up on hind legs, front paws on the other dog's shoulders gnashing of teeth and sometimes a bite, such drama against "brother" the boy sheltie. Sometimes he might go after my sister but those times are pretty rare. anyways, we all get along pretty well, 99% of the time. We hope that all you guys are well.

Oskar December 1, 2012 at 2:31 PM  

It's a great 3 am post!

Nubbin wiggles,

Unknown December 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM  

my name is Arno and I'm from Germany. I liked your post very much, even if you wrote it so late in the night or so early in the morning, as you like..
I'm the only dog in my pack, so I don't have many occasions to show or use my teeth. My humans are very happy about this, especially when my mun is brushing my fur or someone decides to put my bone away, because I'm too loud chewing it. Thank you for the interesting and funny body language pictures.
I would be very happy if you take a look at my blog, even if I only write in Italian and German (my mum is from Tuscany)...
Nice regards

Noir the Texas Tabby December 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM  

Thank you for letting everybody know about puppies--hey, I call everything from a teacup poodle to a Great Dane a puppy--they get scared too and humans need to be considerate of that!


Blue December 6, 2012 at 5:18 PM  

I am the only dog in my pack and my pack leader says I am too friendly for my own good! But just lately there has been a change in attitude to me from people I meet when we are out walking, I wish there was more effort put into educating people about dog behaviour than is put into legislating about controlling it!

Nayeli-London December 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM  

Great post! =)

" Mickey " January 22, 2013 at 9:52 PM  

You guys are soo cute :) kisses and hugs Adri and mickey

challenge coins September 26, 2013 at 6:58 AM  

let you stay next to her for the photos at least.

World of Animals, Inc June 4, 2020 at 3:44 PM  

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World of Animals

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