Blog Pi-Bo

My Dog Bit Me. What Should I Do?

To somebody who is not quite familiar with canine inner life, this situation might seem catastrophic. First, how on earth did Susan dare to lay paws on her own mum? Secondly, her upbringing must be no good if it came to this utterly disgraceful behavior. However, we know that aggression is not an acquired characteristic.It cannot be given to a dog or bought in an online shop. This is the ‘built-in’ function which all highly evolved species share: from dogs and elephants to us, humans.

One shouldn’t overly demonize it, though. Aggression is a natural reaction of a psyche to an irritant. This is essentially self-defense. Although seeing dogs do it can at times look disturbing. Say, when your sweet wheezing Edmund is foaming at the mouth, chasing a cyclist. However, this is his way of dealing with fear. We all must have experienced this feeling, too - how, after getting scared to death (for example, if there was a threat to the life of your loved ones), you just feel like screaming at the top of your lungs uncontrollably.

So, a bite is actually a forced measure. Before snapping its teeth, the dog gives you quite a few warnings. This is not its fault if they all went unnoticed. It’s just what happens if you travel to another country and don’t really know the laws - ignorance of the law is no excuse. Should you choose to chew some gum in Singapore - kindly pay 10 000 dollars. One didn’t see how the doggo keeps turning away, keeps growling, baring its teeth, licking itself? Here comes the bite! It’s most likely that hairy Edmund has been signaling about it for weeks if not months but his polite requests went unnoticed, or, perhaps even worse - discouraged, so, basically,  he was left with no other choice. 

What to do during and after the bite?

1. Try not to snatch your hand away and not to pull away. Wait till the doggo comes to its senses and only after this go about your business. 

2. One shouldn’t punish the doggo or scold it. Saying in a normal voice that you’ve been hurt will be enough. Even if you’re still not clear what was the thing your Susan got so scared of or you consider this fear to be insignificant, she must have been really scared if she did what she did. So, punishment in this case will not only be useless but also harmful.   

3. If you feel you have the energy for it - make it up with the doggo and spend some time with it. It is most likely that the pup is also feeling nervous and uncomfortable. If you don’t think you can do it  - just close your room door, give yourself some time to catch your breath and rest a little.   

What to do afterwards

1. Try to identify the reason

There are 2 basic reasons: 
— physiology (the doggo felt unwell and thought it was because of you). This is usually described as aggression out of nowhere. That means the outburst was spontaneous and the irritant didn’t get revealed.
— fear of action (the dog was protecting itself or the resource) 

2. Fix it

If you think it’s the physiology thing, take Edmund to a neurologist. 

If the nature of the aggression is psychological (there is a specific thing the dog is afraid of) - start correcting its behavior. One should work through the issue by showing to the dog time after time that there’s nothing to be afraid of: ‘This cyclist, sure, may look unpleasant to you, Susan, but he’s no threat to us, your mum is here, my sweet pumpkin!’