WSJ: What Signals a Dog Is About to Attack?

The tricky thing is that many behaviors that seem friendly can be misleading. “A wagging tail doesn’t always mean that the dog is happy,” says Ms. Stilwell. “Dogs will wag their tails when they are upset or over-aroused.” Similarly, if an unfamiliar dog rolls on its back to expose its belly, it doesn’t necessarily want to be petted. It might be asking you to move away.

A dog that attacks is often acting out of fear, says Ms. Stilwell. Those signs of fear may include a dog yawning, turning its head away when someone approaches, tensing up or staring.

Some dogs will slightly lift one front paw in what Ms. Stilwell calls “the anticipatory paw,” because it shows that they think something negative is about to happen.

Mouth signals:  Another subtle warning sign is when a dog slightly lifts its lip to show teeth. Also, flat tongues are relaxed; curved at the sides means there is tension.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s