A dog’s body language can be confusing. What could seem like playfulness at first may actually be anger or annoyance.
Understanding how a dog looks when it is hostile or calm is important when facing the possibility of a bite.
Position of teeth
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, dogs you see paying attention to you could bare their teeth as you approach. While it may seem as if they are smiling or encouraging you to come forward, it could actually be a sign of aggression.
Lack of movement
You may assume that a calm dog would stand still, while an angry one would run around. However, if a dog stays very still and stares at you, it could signal that it is trying to see what you will do next. This rigidness is a defense mechanism when it assumes it could be in danger.
Fake bites and nips
If you notice the dog lunging at you and potentially opening its mouth in order to give you a bite without breaking your skin, you could think it is trying to play with you. However, this reaction signals that the dog feels upset with you. It could even try to push its muzzle up against you in order to see what will happen next.
Beyond barking, a dog may try to show its power by lowering its neck. An animal that feels overwhelmed is more likely to try to attack or bite down hard if you are close.
Staying aware of how a dog reacts in certain situations can give you more knowledge about what to do if you suffer from a serious bite.