Rescue Journal

i was talking to leila today about biting dogs...

Carol  ·  Mar. 21, 2011

it was an interesting conversation.

i just don't have an issue with dogs who bite for a reason. if they were running around like maniacs and looking for someone to bite for no reason..i would have an issue with that tho.

and their reasons do not have to be something i actually agree with. i just want to know why they think they need to bite and then i don't do what pisses them off.

and i don't even really care how hard they bite..i am more interested in how many times in succession they will bite. once tells me they want me to stop doing whatever i am doing...twice might be just a too enthusiastic warning...three or more times in a row, is a bit over the top in my book of acceptable reactions.
make your point if you have to but lets not go overboard.

we have a lot of biters here that pretty much don't bite anymore. but they could if we had kept on pushing their buttons. the longer that they can go WITHOUT biting...the more not biting becomes a habit.

we use muzzles if we absolutely have to do something that we know is going to piss them off. it is no big deal. if they are going to even think about biting...we take that decision right out of their mouths. sorry buddy, you are getting bathed or groomed or your nails are being trimmed or you are going to get checked out at the vets...and we will keep you safe from being a dick head and making someone bleed.

if like blue they bite cuz their back end is sore...we don't touch their back end. but if we had to lift him for some reason...we first would put a muzzle on him. if they bite like phoebe does because she is protecting her space. we don't let her go into spaces that she might want to protect...unless it is her closet..thats hers..she can protect it all she wants and we just don't go in there with her.

if they bite like jesse does..from some weird broken part of his messed up brain. we keep people he doesn't love away from touching him..he can only be safely touched all the time by those that he loves and trusts.

if like reggie they bite over toys..either they cannot have toys or they can only have them in their own private rooms.

if they bite like lucky does....small little children in puffy winter jackets that smell and feel in her blind big mouth, like puffy dog toys...we don't let kids wearing down filled winter jackets near her..learning that one was a bit of a surprize!

most dogs bite for a lucky's case..mistaken blue's case, pain: phoebe is a selfish real estate hag, and jesse must have in the distant past, been dropped on his head.

figure out the reason behind them sticking their teeth into a human and then prevent that opportunity from happening and everyone gets along fine.

each time they successfully bite...makes the next time easier. we learn to know and read our dogs really well so biting just is not an issue for them ever again...unless we get stupid and suddenly forget...then we might get reminded.



I like the way you view biting.
My German Shepherd was very gentle and she never bit anyone. I think if we love our animals, we have to understnad why they do what they do and work with them. My experience is that it works.


What an interesting and appropriate post.

Last Wednesday, while walking my Precious (almost 15 yr. Cocker mix) a Pit Bull came up, sniffed, and then attacked my dog. It was loose with no collar but apparently belonged to my neighbors (so not taking responsibility, though). By the time anyone heard my screams for help I was on the ground with the dogs on top of me. My dog was bitten 8 times and so was I.

I feel sorry for the Pit Bull - while she was sniffing my dog I was admiring what a beautiful girl she was. Now, because of bad owners, she will not have a life. I'm not happy about the attack but I am also not happy because this poor girl was apparently being trained to fight.

Can't we just put the bad pet owners some place where they will never do any harm ever again? So tired of animals paying the price!


'Amen' to this post!

If I get bit, I generally try to figure out where *I* messed up - 'Cause chances are, it WAS my fault. I don't get bit often, mind you - Helping at a Rescue teaches you some observational skills and good 'dog manners,' if nothing else. I try to simply observe a dog for a while before approaching it for the first time, if at all possible. I don't stop 'reading' a dog until after it's someplace where it can't get its teeth into me.

I've run across exactly three dogs in my entire life whom were simply unsafe to have around anyone or anything. That's a pretty small number, when you think on it... For EVERY other dog, there was SOME way of reaching an accomodation.


Harold looks so cute with his lion's cut. Sounds like he is happy and doing good, carol Ann thanks for the update.

Carol Ann

HAROLD got shaved today --he looks adorable and no biting. HE is such a good boy. I LOVE HIM !

Barbara DeMott

Biting unfortunately is a breed issue. While a border collie might nip in excitement at a running child, a GSD who nips a child is considered a menace. Because I own two shepherds, I train with them and restrict them more than if I had different breeds. They are just as gentle but I just don't want some idiot neighbor to get huffy......... so like you, I practice different boundaries for them


This is the most reasonable, rational and common-sense response to biting that I have ever seen. How many dogs have lost their lives because people couldn't be bothered to manage them properly? Sheesh...