dog bite from a "friendly" dog

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Jen
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dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby Jen » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:27 pm

A dog bit DH at work today. Part of his job requires him to go onto other people's property and sometimes dogs are cool with that and sometimes they aren't. He's generally dog savvy, though. Knows a bit about dog body language and when to leave a dog alone and when it's being friendly. So today he was on a farm and a big, goofy lab came running up to him all wiggly and tail wagging, just like the other 3 he had met on the farm earlier. So DH stooped down to pet him and the dog bit him on the hand. He was wearing gloves, so no harm done. But he was kind of shocked.

So I'm wondering -- what signal could he have missed?

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby Amanda » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:56 pm

I think some dogs have their normal body language of warning suppressed. That happened to Joel last night. There is an American Eskimo dog that comes to our coed soccer games and her owner is kind of a jerk. He leaves her off leash outside the soccer arena which is just ridiculous because she wanders out and there are tons of kids and other dogs that come in. He can't watch her at all when he is playing. Anyway, we were all petting her and I was watching her body language. Lots of loose tail wagging, some lip licking, but no avoidance, no whale eyes, she was tucking her nose into our hands for petting. Joel put both hands on the sides of her face gently and she launched at him. Teeth made contact but she didn't bite down and no bruising or broken skin. She immediately licked him afterward too. I think she gets pushed around at home and treated harshly if she acts out so her signals are all messed up. We won't be going anywhere near her again regardless of the fact that she is following us around and looking for all the world like a sweet fluffy dog. Maybe that is the case for this dog? Or maybe your DH touched a sore spot? Ear infection and he rubbed an ear?

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby UpwardDog » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:08 pm

Stooping down or leaning/looming over or hand reaching towards a dog --especially over the head or towards a collar can all make a dog go from a-ok to Nope. It's a safer bet to put your hand on your leg and be sideways to the dog rather than front to front and see if the dog comes to the hand. A hand coming underhand to the chest is less risky and more likely to be enjoyed by the dog.
My rules for my kids and my dogs is ONE hand only ever on the dog and they can pet the dog on the neck or the chest. No face, no head, no arms over a neck or encircling anything and petting for a max of 3 seconds unless the dog is asking for more. My rules for my kids and strange dogs is if the dog comes to them and solicits attention then one hand to chest or shoulder. I find that humans in general operate on the assumption that friendly happy dogs want petting and my own observations tell me that it's a heck of a lot more common for dogs to want to investigate and greet but not necessarily want their body or head touched by a stranger. If greetings were chosen by dogs I think they'd often choose to sniff our crotches and sometimes pants or shoes and maybe our breath. None of my dogs want to be touched on the head or face by a stranger though they are all friendly and enjoy being scratched and enjoy meeting people.
Last edited by UpwardDog on Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Amanda
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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby Amanda » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:36 pm

Yeah, it was definitely my bad on Joel's interaction. I let my guard down after she was so friendly and happy.

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby JudyL » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Sorry about the incidents, Jen and Amanda.

Heather, I can't love your post enough. I've printed this topic and I'm going to make my husband read all of it, especially your post. Maybe I'll make him read it back to me to make sure he does. He does all of this, and because he's tall and we have teeny dogs, it's impossible to not stoop over them unless we squat or sit down. lol Even after years of reminders from me, he'll start out petting the side or from under toward the chest, but his natural inclination is to then proceed to go over the top to scratch Benson's head or back, or to stroke him. Each time, Ben says 'no' by calmly moving away.

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby 2dogpack » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:26 am

Ronan is one of those dogs who seemingly appears to be people friendly, but requires a little room to adjust. He sees people, he whines (happily). He's open mouthed and wiggly six ways til Sunday. He will run up to them, happy to see them.I know he's dying to be friendly. He'll jump, lick, wag - and TALK like the dickens. But he's also tense..ish. And WAAY too excited. So, he's actually at odds with himself. He wants to be buds, but there's clearly one set of rules for Ronan and one set for everyone else. He fully expects that the person will hold perfectly still - don't look at him, don't touch, don't talk to him (you can, however, talk to me). If you hold still until he loosens up, you've got a friend. If not, he will warn and warn and show all the signs of escalation, yet he won't back away. The WORST thing any new friend can do to him is mess with his feet or his face. He won't bite, but he instantly grumbles hard and may snap if the person isn't listening to him. Also, new friends may not lean over him until he's met them a few times.
Like I said. One set of rules for him, one for everyone else. Patient people will always win him over, though. Then, you've got a buddy for life and CAN touch feet, face, or lean over him all you want. He'll act like you've been gone forever and he's SO happy to see old friends again. They can do just about anything to him.

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby Jen » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:50 am

This all makes sense.

And this is probably very true for DH (and me) because we had Roscoe, who did want petting at all times. The more hands touching him the better, and if your hand left his body, he'd scoot himself back under it.
I find that humans in general operate on the assumption that friendly happy dogs want petting
I'll tell him about the sideways thing and letting the dog come to your hand vs moving hand toward dog. I know he stoops rather than bends because he knows better than to bend over a dog but he's tall, so it's either bend or stoop to reach all but a very big dog.

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby Moemer » Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:24 pm

So hard to say what happened when there's no video of an incident - is it possible that the dog was being appeasing, rather than loose/friendly? (and was upset when he reached for him) Or that the dog wasn't landing an 'aggressive' bite, but over-aroused mouthing? (Labs? Over-aroused? Never!!) Though that does usually look quite different.
Totally agree with Heather, re dogs and greetings. I'm sure I often look unfriendly, or hate dogs, because I'm not all up in their grills, and if the dog walks away I don't chase them. Our collective cultural approach to dogs is so inappropriate, I'm shocked that there aren't more issues (but that's getting into a whole other kettle of fish)
I'm glad there was no damage!
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Jen
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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby Jen » Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:18 pm

is it possible that the dog was being appeasing, rather than loose/friendly? (and was upset when he reached for him) Or that the dog wasn't landing an 'aggressive' bite, but over-aroused mouthing? (Labs? Over-aroused? Never!!)
He's pretty good at recognizing appeasement vs loose and friendly, but an overaroused mouthing is definitely a possibility. He was wearing thick work gloves so it's hard to judge just how hard the bite was.

He definitely doesn't blame the dog at all. Was just surprised.

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Re: dog bite from a "friendly" dog

Postby UpwardDog » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:12 am

Oh gloves could be a factor too. Hands in gloves look and smell different than bare hands.


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