Dogs are ubiquitous in Kentucky, and most of them are friendly and ready to get petted. However, sometimes these animals can be unpredictable.

Asking the owner if their dog is friendly is not always going to be enough to know if a dog will not bite you when you reach down to pet it. People tend to have high opinions of their animals and may not see the signs of potential aggression. If you can learn how dogs show they are about to bite, you can prevent an incident from happening.

Anxiety can turn into aggression

Usually, if a dog is about to bite, it does so out of the need to protect itself or its owner. If you appear to be threatening to the animal, it will show its discomfort. According to the American Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals, if a dog is running away from you and hiding, chasing it may make it feel that it has no choice but to bite.

The last thing you want to do is corner an animal that feels threatened by you, even if you mean no harm. Common signs of an anxious dog are flattened ears, tail between the legs, repeatedly licking lips, lowering of the head or crouching.

Stay away from an aggressive dog

While some dogs will give chase at a moment’s notice, this is actually pretty rare. Typically a dog will warn you before it tries to bite by barking, lunging in your direction, growling and baring its teeth.

The hair on such a dog’s back will often stand on end, and it will typically maintain eye contact with the perceived threat. If a dog is behaving this way towards you, you should remain calm, avoid eye contact, and slowly walk away.