How can I protect myself from being bitten by my dog?

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The best way to protect yourself from being bitten by your dog is to teach him which behaviors are acceptable and not acceptable as early as possible. Dogs use their mouths like humans use their hands, so a dog’s natural instinct when he is curious, scared or excited is to react with his mouth.

If your dog tends to be mouthy, avoid playing games like tug of war and don’t use your hands in games with the dog. These types of games encourage rough play and biting, in addition to aggression. Instead, play low-contact games like fetch with your dog that limit the amount of pulling and biting involved. Similarly, correct unacceptable behaviors like licking hands or nibbling on fingers so that they don’t turn into biting later.

You should also be aware of any triggers that may provoke your dog to bite. Some dogs show aggression when their toys are touched, while others have aggression during feeding time. Know what your dog’s triggers are, and be mindful of them. Training can often prevent these behaviors from becoming dangerous.

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