Why Does A Dog Attack Unprovoked? The Psychology Of Dog Attacks

Each year, thousands of people around the world ask; why does a dog attack unprovoked? Even more terrifying, the number of people who want to know why my dog attacked me for no reason, suggests people are not only worried about unprovoked attacks from strangers dogs, they're also encountering dangerous situations with their own normally well behaved pet. Victims of such attacks can seek legal help from law firms for dog bite claims.

Understanding dog psychology after attacks have already happened isn't all that helpful. It's surely better to try and understand why dog's attack in the first place in an effort to prevent and reduce the number of dog attacks that occur.

Why Does A Dog Attack Unprovoked? The Psychology Of Dog Attacks

Why Does A Dog Attack Unprovoked? Provocation Is Subjective

There are situations in many homes where multiple dogs are present when a younger dog attacking older dog for no apparent reason causes shock to the owner. Where did that come from? Why did that happen? If you have been bitten by a dog in Manhattan, you might want to get in touch with a manhattan dog bite lawyer for advice about getting compensation for the injuries and trauma associated with the incident.

An unprovoked dog bite is a genuinely terrifying and shocking experience for people to go through. It can be a nip or a much more serious, injury inflicting bite.

The aim of this article is to try and explain the psychology of a dog attack from the dog's perspective. There are no hard and fast rules here, but dogs often attack humans for their own reasons - and while those reasons are never justified using human rules and conventions, the first lesson here is to understand that dogs don't tend to always obey human rules and conventions. If you've been bitten by a rabid dog then call this connecticut dog bite lawyer immediately.

Unprovoked Dog Attacks: An Error In Interpretation

What is unjustified in our world is often completely normal in a dog's. We don't sniff each other when we greet, dogs do. We don't roll around in fox poop, lots of dogs do.

So to understand dogs and to try and get a better oversight of the early warning signs a dog is about to attack, we must acknowledge rule number one: dogs are not people. They may be man's best friend, but they're not man.

It's extremely rare a dog bites without warning. What's much harder for many people (particularly children) is to spot what can often be very subtle warnings.

This article is not a defence of dog attacks. It could never, ever be that. It is an attempt to allow people to understand them using the fictional story device of a very common situational 'unprovoked' dog attack.

“Out of the blue, it attacked for no reason”

When a dog attack is reported we will often hear the same old phrases bandied about.

“It came out of the blue”

“It was totally unprovoked”

“We didn’t see it coming”

“It was totally out of character”

Ring any bells? Well let’s try and understand how and why a dog might attack someone.

Dogs rarely, if ever, attack for no reason. Us humans often misinterpret a dog attacking “out of the blue” and “without warning”‘ because we simply missed the signs.

Let’s be clear about one thing. A dog who is prepared to bite someone has his reasons. Can we, as humans, justify those reasons using the social values of people?

Probably not. But of course, dogs do not live their lives according to human social values.

Here is the story of John, Henry and Max.

John has no wife or children. For the last five years he’s lived with his best friend in the world a playful Labrador called Max.

Why Does A Dog Attack Unprovoked? The Psychology Of Dog Attacks

John is exited today. Henry, an old friend from school who he hasn’t seen for many years is visiting.

John decides today would be a good day to get his garden tidied, make a good impression on his old school chum.

As John gets busy in amongst the weeds in the front garden, he spies his old mate making his way up the street.

Henry’s been looking forward to catching up with John for weeks and, as he’s never been to his home before, finds himself feeling somewhat jubilant to realise he’s managed to find the street on which John lives without too much trouble and can now relish the prospect of seeing his friend again as well as finally getting to meet the only true love of John’s life, the much talked about Max.

It’s a hot and sunny day and Henry is wearing his sunglasses. Further up the street he spots John working in his front garden.

John’s already noticed Henry making his way towards him and yells out, “Hi Henry. Fancy a beer?”

Henry shouts back, “Sounds just the job. Can you believe this heat?”.

As per usual, Max has been ‘helping’ John with his gardening exploits by digging holes of his own all over the lawn. John doesn’t mind. He only wanted the garden so he could have somewhere safe to play fetch with Max on sunny days like today. He’s never been one for trying to keep it immaculate when Max’s favourite hobby is trying to tunnel his way to China.

Max has stopped his gardening though. He’s become preoccupied by the exchange between John and Henry and he’s taken a trip the front gate to see what’s going on.

“I wonder who this bloke is?” ponders Max.

“Why would he and John be shouting at other?” he thinks to himself.

“I’d better be on full alert.” he concludes. “John’s just shouted at this chap so he obviously wants me to keep an eye out.”

Max fixes himself in position at the front gate and hoists his tail high into the air, he’s keen to let the oncoming stranger know he’s about.

John doesn’t notice.

Henry’s still coming. So Max decides he needs to be more clear. He starts to emit a deep, low growl in Henry’s direction just to make certain the stranger who’s purposely striding towards him, his owner and HIS garden is left in no uncertain terms that he’s not moving

Henry’s still coming. And now he’s close enough for Max to notice his sunglasses. “This is getting more serious by the second”, thinks Max. “He’s not only not listening to me, he’s staring right at me. I know, I’ll stare right back at him. See if he’s as brave then.”

Problems. Henry is still as brave. To Max, Henry’s sunglasses look like wide, staring eyes, boring straight ahead and as he marches staunchly toward the increasingly anxious Labrador, Max wonders what his next move might be. As body language goes, Henry is showing all the signs of refusing to listen to Max’s advice.

Now tense and feeling genuinely threatened, Max is offered an escape. John jogs inside to fetch a couple of bottles of beer and Max is only too pleased to hurriedly follow his master. Max is somewhat relieved to suspect that John, his idol, is just as scared as he is about the relentless stranger pursuing them both from outside the garden gate.

“Shut the door John, shut the door” Max worries. “He’s still coming and you haven’t closed the door”.

Too late. Max’s heart leaps as he hears the gate swing open. Too late.

His worst fears are confirmed. The unrelenting Henry is now purposefully making his way up the garden path and toward the the house where Max and John are isolated, cornered and in Max’s case, petrified.

Gathering up every ounce of his canine courage and without a second’s thought for his own safety Max charges out of the house, tail hoisted aloft and barking his war cry as loud as his voice will muster. He heads straight for Henry wondering why this stalking maniac refused to listen to all of his earlier warnings.

“You might kill me but you’ll never take John”, Max decides.

Henry, his face very quickly drained of all its colour, is shocked and taken aback to be confronted by a clearly furious Max, the dog he’d heard so many nice stories about from doting John. This isn’t at all the dog he thought he’d be meeting.

Henry, alarmed and frightened makes his way toward Max, attempting to offer a hand of reassurance and friendship.

Max is having none of it.

“John warned you. Then I warned you. Why wouldn’t you just listen?”, reasoned Max.

Undeterred by Henry’s advance and determined not to let his owner come to any harm, Max lunges in Henry’s direction.

The realisation that Max is a long way past the stage of being able to be pacified dawns on Henry fast and he hastily tries to beat a retreat back out of the gate from which he entered.

John, hearing the commotion and now panic stricken by Max’s attack bellows “No! Max, no.”

Acutely tuned to his owner’s emotions and sensing the fear and alarm in John’s voice, Max forges ahead and launches into a full scale attack on Henry.

And then, as quick as it began, it was over.

An ambulance arrives to take Henry away and, hearing the commotion, John’s neighbours have summoned the Police.

John can be heard explaining, “He’s never done anything like this before“, the attack came “totally out of the blue“, Max was always “such a trustworthy dog“, he’s “never shown any signs of aggression in his life“, the attack was “totally unprovoked“.

But we know differently don’t we?

Let’s look again at how Max saw things unfold:

1. Max spots a man walking toward his and his owner’s garden – ‘his territory’
2. Not unduly worried, Max paid little attention to the stranger until John shouted in Henry’s direction. To Max, this was a clear signal to ‘watch for danger’
3. Obediently, Max sat at the front gate and watched for that danger.
4. He attempted to signal to Henry by putting his tail in the air and growling, that he was prepared to defend his owner and territory.
5. As Henry gets closer, Max again postures but now spots Henry’s aggressive body language, his wide eyes refusing to overt their gaze a clear signal of intent. Henry’s point blank refusal to alter his path, a sure fire gesture of defiance.
6. As John runs inside, Max’s thoughts turn to escape. He now believes John is as scared as he is and they should both seek shelter from the safety of the house.
7. Too late. As Henry enters the garden (Max and John’s territory) Max does what he thinks his owner needs him to do. He defends against the threat.
8. As Henry runs away and John panics, Max takes this as a sign that he should increase his attack, his canine instincts now in complete overdrive.

So let us again question whether John was correct when he explained to Police that Max’s attack was unprovoked.

Was it unprovoked? Not at all.

Was it unjustified in human, social terms? Absolutely.

Was it avoidable? Totally.

The Aftermath

Henry, his pain eased only slightly by drugs lies motionless in a hospital bed and starts to face the reality that a visit to see a dear, old friend has left him disfigured for the rest of his life. He ponders how best to explain to his young children that he’s still their Dad even though he knows his mutilated features will upset them deeply. He wonders how life will be from now on, how people will react to him.

Max, confused and still frightened by the terrifying ordeal earlier in the day is now wondering why he’s found himself confined to a small, secure cage at the vet surgery.

He stares through the bars and looks longingly towards the door, hoping against hope that he will soon be reunited with his trusted friend and master, John.

Unbeknown to Max, he’ll never see John again.

As the door swings open, Max’s tail momentarily begins to wag but he’s deflated. It’s not John. It’s a vet nurse.

He’s still pleased to see her. He’s lonely and upset and he just wants to go home and be with his friend.

He’s too pre-occupied to wonder why the vet nurse seems so wary of him. Wanting to put her at ease, he submissively offers up his paw. As the vet nurse holds it, she carefully shaves a small patch of fur away from his leg.

Max didn’t even notice the injection.

On this day it wasn’t only Max’s body that was destroyed as John’s memories of a kind, gentle, fun loving dog died too.

He asks himself once more, “Why did my dog attack someone for no reason?”

John may never know it, but Max had his reasons.

Dogs do not bite people without reason. They do not attack out of the blue. They do not launch into savage, frenzied assaults without provocation despite what you will undoubtedly read in news reports when the next dog attack hits the press.

There are NO devil dogs. There are NO unprovoked dog attacks. There IS a huge gap in understanding amongst some dog owners about why dogs attack and until we can bridge that gap in education people will continue to be attacked and more and more dogs will join Max, their memories destroyed along with their bodies.

Killing individual dog breeds is not the solution to a problem which runs through an entire species. Oh, and if you were left in any doubt, that species isn’t canine.

Article written by Ryan O'Meara. You may reproduce it with permission, please just link back to this page.

If you’d like to show your support for the sentiment of this article, please click the ‘Like’ button at the top of the page. Thank you!


  1. I’m a dog, and I once did this on a much smaller scale. Went after a houseguest, but just created a bruise. You describe the problem, but not the solution. Perhaps write a post with step by step instructions on how you get the dog to stop believing what he believes. Should the owner immediately crate the dog when he/she hears low growls? Should houseguests always meet us dogs outside the house first? You would be doing a huge service to us dogs by writing about how to prevent attacks, rather than just describing one. Woof!

  2. so so sad……yet unfortunately happens across all species….why do we humans not pay attention and education ourselves on the social norms of our companion pets?? it makes me so angry….
    ::::goes to hug her dog for a while::::

  3. Crap, I knew I shouldn’t have read that. Now I’m as upset as John would have been to loose his beloved Max!
    Straight up there needs to be more awareness of why these attacks happen and prior prevention . It always gets to me when a dog is killed for acting naturally.

    • i totally agree with you. people are always abusing and killing animals including dogs be it criminals like dog fighters who torture and kill the ones that loose or the injured one or the fighting champ. Or the authorities who “humanely euthanize” as they call it for silly or no reasons by injecting them they still feel the effect or by suffocation just cause they bit someone or there is no room. Or civilians who just torturte them in ways they don’t know

  4. Another seriously good article Ryan. I have linked to it on our website and forwarded the link around the traps.
    Thank you.

  5. I dont think this article could have come at a better time or written more precisely.
    I was recently attacked by a dog who I was working with in rehab. THERE ARE ALWAYS warning signs thus… dogs DO NOT ATTACK FOR NO REASON.

    The failure in the Human/ Dog relationship is purely the Human. 5000 years ago when we decided to domesticate wolves and bring them into our homes… we “assumed” they would live by our rules. To a degree, this is the way it needs to be. BUT, animals have their own culture and protocols and we never bothered to learn those and take them into consideration when co-existing.

    Humans, in all cultures, need to become 1000% more savvy to K9 culture and incorporate it into obedience, socialization, exercise needs, etc. It is the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, we live in a world filled with mostly irresponsible humans.

    Check out this video:

    God bless all animals, God help humans!!!

    Chef David Edelstein
    and Team Pit-a-Full
    California, USA

    • My husband and I have been married two years. He had his little mixed dog before. The dog does not mind and my husband lets him get away with everything.Thisis the frst dog in my entire life that has ever bitten me, ten times! My husband says he doesn’t mean it.He’s just scared. The dog is definitely a one person dog and ignores me, shows no affection unless we are alone. He with even let me sit next to my husband without grueling loudly before moving. He will follow me around like he does my husband if we are alone. Trying to groom him is a nightmare, even with a soft muzzle. I do not know what to do. I am becoming less content in my marriage because of this situation. I obviously come second.

  6. Thankyou for writing this. I had the left side of my face ‘pulled off’.Over the immediate days following surgery I understood why the dog wanted to harm me.
    The dog carefully warned me but I did not understand, I was only there again to help this incredibly neglected abused dog.
    I would love to have the oportunity to write about what happened, the media became involved – as a result publically I stated ‘blame the owner not the dog, do not judge the breed just the deed’. How could I possibly show the intracies of what happened to an impartial public when despite my injuries I only ever grieve for this dog …. and all the others.
    Christine Breen
    Trustee Chained Dog Awareness Trust (for NZ).

  7. I find it troubling that people empathize with the dog, and not the man in the story who gets his face ripped off. I am a dog, and my human would be bereft if I had to be put down, but, please have some compassion for human beings. I’m an animal, and yet remain troubled by ‘animal people’ who put the suffering of animals before that of fellow humans. It’s great that you would reach out and help me, but I fear you’d be the type to walk past my owner or any other human in their time of need.

  8. @handsomearchie
    I actually find that comment quite insulting. I can’t see anywhere where people have shown no empathy to either party. Just because someone empathises with the dog’s position doesn’t mean they DON’T empathise with the victims of dog attacks. So for you to say ‘you fear people would walk past humans in need’ is downright insulting, judgemental and rude, which confirms that you are most certainly NOT ‘a dog’. Sorry. Dogs are not judgemental and prejudiced in the way your comment is.

  9. we have just had are little 14 week old Yorkshire terrier killed bull two bull terriers and there ant a thing the polices or the RSPCA can do about it, this sort of thing is happening every day so how come no one is policesing these things. i can see it getting a lot worse unless the law is changed on dog ownership and repeatability

  10. I have a dog who is fear aggressive towards men and needs careful introduction. I always ask people not to stare at him or approach him, but to ignore him completely and let him venture as near as he feels comfortable with. This has worked very well so far, though I watch Louis’ body language carefully.
    He got to know my sister and brother-in-law well and greeted them like old friends, until the day my brother-in-law came in wearing a flat cap. Louis barked, hackles up, warning …
    Geoff did the sensible thing, took the cap off but didn’t look at Louis. My daft dog suddenly realised who Geoff was and greeted him as normal, but it goes to show that even an item of clothing can trigger a reaction.

  11. I agree with the one poster to have a follow up article on if you are going to be a dog owner learn dog behavior and warning signs. I work at a doggy camp and we just had a follow up meeting with a presentation on how to notice doggy warning signs so we can prevent dog to dog issues. The basic human owner needs to educate him/herself. Also, parents should teach kids how to react around an unknown dog before a situation is encountered where they should know how to handle themsleves. It’s called being prepared in life, which sadly does not seem to happen much anymore.

  12. You can’t blame “Henry” for being bitten. The owner clearly should have been in control of his dog. And dogs might have their own “reasons” but that doesn’t justify the fact that they may have physically scarred a man forever. In my opinion, if I was bitten that badly by a dog-reason or no reason, I would have it put down anyway. A dog as dangerous as that should not be trusted around people. Its not only people that can learn. Dogs can also learn to welcome strangers and be trained to be friendly towards everyone. Its not fair to blame the people for that incident, because although there were signs, how can you expect someone to read that kind of language? I know if I were there I’d be just as confused towards the dog language as those other two were. I mean come on, unless were some kind of “Dog whisperer” things like this can’t really be predicted as easily as you think it can. My cousin was petting a little tiny dog, just petting it alright? That’s it. The dog seemed to like it at first, until “without warning” he reached up and nipped my cousin on the lip. Now her lip is forever scarred. Do you blame my cousin for that? NO, you blame the DOG. That dog didn’t die for the consequence but still, my cousin is scarred forever. And my cousin is only 10 years old. It wasn’t up to my cousin to understand “dog language” because as far as she was concerned the dog liked to be petted. She thought in fact that when the dog reached up that he was going to lick her face. Instead he bit her. And I blame the dog completely for that. There’s no way I blame my cousin for that incident. Dogs are still just dogs. People are much more important. And even if it can be predicted lots of the times, sometimes it can’t. NOt by ordinary people. And were not all about to become dog whisperers so…yeah.

    • I’m sorry that happened to your cousin. And your post makes absolute sense. There may be no good or bad dogs, but there are dogs who loose it and dogs who don’t, and it can be tough o know which is which, and any dog that looses it needs to be dealt with swiftly and possibly fatally. All these geniuses here seem to forget a dog’s place, thinking they have rights to the extent that humans do. I was just walking a friend’s dog, and for NO reason, the dog lunged randomly at a random woman, got very close to biting her. Now maybe the dog misread something about th ewoman’s body language, but that does NOT matter!!!!!!! I thwapped the dog on the rear pretty good for that and apologized profusely. It may on acertain level be the fault of my friend, the dog’s owner, for not training the dog properly, but that doesn’t matter, as there are lots of poorly trained dogs who don’t bite or attack strangers without provocation.

      • Restraint and restraint collars/harnesses and firm (not yelling) voice commands on dogs are effective. Hitting an already upset or aggressive dog will make it either more aggressive or fearful. Hitting makes dogs more aggressive, so I hope you learn about more effective means of control before you walk this dog again or advocate such correccting. I understand you were stressed, but learning how to handle the situation in a way that helps the dog change is what dog handlers need.

  13. And I have a dog too. His name is Sam, but he loves people. He’ll go up to any random person on his territory or not and just sit at their feet and wag his tail. The only things he defends his territory from are the ravens that come into our backyard. He chases them out barking. He’s an American Eskimo Dog. And he also establishes his territory by snarling if you come near him when he’s eating food. Doesn’t matter. Dogs need to learn. Especially when he’s found something unhealthy littered on the ground. He snarls when I come near him but I grab his collar and speak harshly and snatch away the food. I say “No” or “Bad.” You let him know who’s boss. Then I take away the food and throw it away and he loses his agressiveness.

    But either way. You train them. And you CAN’T expect other people to know what “dog language” is. If your the dog owner, YOU’VE got to read it yourself.

    • I agree that it is 100% up to the owner to read their dog’s body language and attend to them, especially when strangers are coming over or the dog is off-leash.

      That being said, yelling and snatching away things your dog has is an awful way to train them. When my dog was a puppy, she would growl if she had something like food because she was afraid it might get taken away. So I practiced trading with her. When she let me take things away from her, she got a treat. I started with something less valuable, like toys, and worked our way up to more valuable things like food. Now I can physically reached in her mouth and pull something out without any growling, and without needing to give her a treat because she’s accustomed to it and trusts me. (Teaching the Drop It command is better, but we haven’t gotten there yet).

      Not once did I ever have to grab her collar roughly and speak harshly in order to correct this behavior.

      Your dog only loses the aggressiveness because there is no longer anything worth protecting, but you are actually exacerbating the behavior long term. He’s learning that when he has something good, you’re going to become aggressive and take it from him. So he snarls. He’s learning the exact opposite of what you want him to learn, which is to not resource guard.

  14. I am always very careful when we have visitors to the house – two of my dogs are crated and one stays in the kitchen behind a gate. They are not aggressive – one loves cuddles – one can be territorial but once he realises the visitor is a friend just wants a fuss and the other is fearful of people. I keep them seperate from visitors until i know how either party will react. not all people like dogs sitting in their laps the first time they meet and some people do not know how to treat a fearful dog. as an owner you should always be on the lookout for your dogs behaviour when meeting people for the first time. ALL dog attacks are preventable – good training, a good understanding of your dogs personality and common sense should prevail.

  15. Go google/or other all the gorey images of the brutal harm that humans have and still do inlfict on other humans. Some are more horrendous than what some dogs ever do. Get in perspective people, BE REAL and get balanced!

  16. To all those people that say, “People are much more important.” Think again. Hitler was a person. Charles Manson is a person. Jerry Sandusky is a person. Dogs are better than people. If you don’t believe me, spend an afternoon with me :-0 and I guarantee you will not like people anymore.

  17. I’m sorry, why should we as people have to worry about DOG PSYCHOLOGY?! The dog in this story didn’t understand boundaries because it wasn’t trained properly; shame on the owner. As a person who is laying in a bed right now recovering from a dog attack, I just think it must be so easy for you to blame the victim. And, as another commenter said, people – who don’t even own dogs – shouldn’t be expected to know “dog language”… the dog who attacked me didn’t even growl, so I’d love to know what signs I “should have” seen.

  18. For a dog magazine, you surely don’t know much about dogs. Dogs read body language and are fine tuned to how your voice sounds. If your made up characters were speaking like “buddies” the dog doesn’t think it’s aggresive. He will know. Pretty much that early in your article I lost interest. Tell me, why do dogs that never bite, bite their own owners after 8 years. I had a Boerboel (Southern African breed) for 8 years he was the bestd dog I could want and I still love and miss him now 3 years later. After 8 years, I told him he had to go outside for the night to sleep. He bit my upperlip. I begged not to have him put down, and then they left him. 8 months later, he decided to go for my lower lip after I stopped scratching his belly. This time my parents and the vet said I had to put him down. “Next time it could be the neck”. For the sake of everyone else’s safety (had it been only my safety, I wouldn’t have done it) I put him down. This was certainly “out if the blue” and “out of character”. And you hear these horror stories about this breed all the time. They are the most lovely breed, but you are lucky if you don’t have to put yours down for doing something like this. So there’s not always human influence involved. It can be “in their nature”.

    • I forgot to mention this because my bite situations don’t seem serious enough when reading, and I’m commenting from my phone, but for the first bite I was in hospital for 1 week. The second one I had immediateplastic surgery done as about 25% of the lower lip was ripped off. The first bite I then had to go for plastic surgery as I had 3 rip marks from just below my nose and then on both sides as well to align my lip again and reduce the scarring. Just felt I should mention that so that my story could be taken more seriously.

      • Carlo, I agree with you. It’s the owners responsibility to keep control of their animals at all times, whether off or on leash.

        Many dog owners have a sense of entitlement and believe that if their animal attacks, that the animal must have been provoked and was “only acting instinctively”.

        I’d like to think the dad who choked the life out of the dog who attacked his kid was “only acting instinctively” too.

        I know some people treat dogs horribly and that’s not right. But that’s a side issue. The issue here is when people are attacked without warning by other people’s animals.

    • had you not thought your dog might have a medical condition?i know the breed you are talking about don’t have very long lives,so he/she could have been starting to suffer with illnesses that could alter his/her personality(tumours,dementia etc).

  19. This is a clear and important article. With the number of dogs in homes increasing so rapidly around the world, it’s going to become more important to teach the language of dogs, particularly to dog owners. I agree with previous comments that owners are completely responsible for their dog’s actions, so dog owners, we feel, will need to be the first to make the effort to understand dogs’ signals and methods of communication. We have posted some blogs that cover issues of dog behavior and will be focusing more in the near future on improving the relationships between dogs and people by helping dog owners become fluent in “speaking dog.” Thank you again for this article.

  20. Grrrr! I just want to kill those police! Why is it always the dogs fault when there is an attack? There was a dog attacking a little girl for supposedly no reason. That is not the way I see it. The girl was waving her arms, singing loudly, and strolling into the Dog’s territory. Those actions were clear signs of a threat. DOGS DO NOT ATTACK WITHOUT REASON!

    • It was a little girl!!! There is a big difference between a dog that chooses to back of and walk away when something is scary, and a dog that chooses to attack a little girl. How was she to know?

      • I agree with you a child does not understand an a child should be allowed to laugh an have without being scared about being attacked by a dog I love dogs but when it comes to a child over a dog the child I will choose everytime

  21. I’m sorry but some dogs have no reason to attack like that baby a little while ago that was attacked for no reason an don’t try an tell me the baby could of been crying an it set the dog off cause there are plenty of dogs that live with crying babies an foot attack them for some there is a reason for some there is not I will agree that for some dogs it is there environment but not all the time say for instance the baby had other older siblings would there then be a reason the dog attacked even thou it had been around a baby before an did not show any sign of aggression would that still be the babies fault just think about that

  22. My wife was attacked by a dog this evening as we walked in the local park. It did not bite but rushed her repeatedly, circling around then crashing into her until I got in front of her. Despite our yelling at the owner to call her dog she just stood and watched. It was getting dark and when a light came on at a house across the road the woman called to her husband and he called the dog. No apology. They ran off into the dark. We did NOTHING to antagonise the dog, it just went for my wife. We got the car registration and called the police. When a dog hurtles at you out of the dark it is a very scary experience. No excuses, the owners are scum.

  23. My husband, the day after 4th of July this year was brutally attacked by his uncles farm dog which he has known from the beginning of the dogs life some 5 years ago. The dog almost took off half of his nose and had to attended by a plastic surgeon in the ER as the wound was severe. The dog was laying down outside and my husband approached him frontally. The dog proceeded to bit him on the face; fortunately he wears glasses as his eye lid and lower eye lid was scratched however his nose was torn clear through the cartilage with 3 layers of stiches. Should the dog be put down?

  24. This doesn’t help explain what to do in a situation like this, and doesn’t much help anyone except to only show the worst case scenario. What would help is to show step by step instructions on how to calm your dog down or show them that everything is fine, otherwise I might have to put my really sweet Rottweiler down.

    • Hey Cat, I’ve done a ton of research on dog behavior and positive reinforcement training. I’m not sure exactly what you issues are with your dog, but if you would like some advice on what to do to help your dog calm down or to manage your situation so you can keep your dog safe, feel free to e-mail me and describe what’s going on. ofkingsanqueens@hotmail.com

  25. The thing that people are missing here is: How the dog had been treated previously. And what were the triggers as the result of that treatment. One gal I talked to was really upset because her dog attacked her son when he was playing. She had a web cam set up that had been recording what was going on in the house when she was at work. She paid no attention to it but while her son was in the hospital and she was off work to be with him she happened on a recording of her live-in boyfriend. Who always seemed so nice and loving the her son and the dog when she was around. Was the opposite when she was away. It just happened that the toy the boy had picked up to play with was the very item that had been used to beat the dog with. One commentator mentioned someone her dog knew came in wearing a flat hat. The dog didn’t recognize the man with it on and he sensibly took it off and gave the dog some space until he had relaxed. Another one mentioned illness as a possibility. And it is a very valid one. Dogs are cursorial animals, which basically means that their first response to any dangerous or stressful situation is to run. Hugging a dog immobilizes them, triggering their flight reflex and stressing them out big time. according to a study in Psychology Today, hugs can really stress them out. The signs of anxiety are right there on their faces. Ears back or down, whites of eyes showing, licking their lips, head turned to avoid eye contact, Throughout the study, even the most loyal, loving, and patient dogs still showed signs of distress.

  26. Our family rescued a 3 yr old german short haired pointer .we have had him around a year .have no history on him but were reassured by the dog rescue he got on with other dogs well .he is very sociable at the park and beach and loves his ball .if a dog continuously humps him or jumps on him he will have a ho at them .we have noticed that when we have friends over he can be very unsure of the men .some he will growl at some he will get his heckles up . There are 2particular male friends he never likes ,they have dogs one wears glasses one has a long beard and wears a hat ,I’m fairly convinced its because of this .
    While walking back from the park we passed several people male and female ,got to the shops and a guy pulled up got out walked near us he had a cap on and dark glasses and Gus went fir him nearly pulled me over .i managed yo hold him back but he was not happy .he sometimes does this to. Random dogs when he’s on lead .i am now very mindfully when I’m walking him .ishia because of something that has happened to him in the past . Pls help

  27. Okay, but my dog Cody, who I’ve owned for two years, bites me with no warning. I’ve read this entire article and Cody gives none of these warnings. I can be cuddled up to him and then he snaps at my face. I can be sat at my computer and the dog with jump at me and go for my face again. I don’t understand how he can be so violent when he has been trained properly and has been with me for two years. I haven’t had visitors over for about a year now because this dog attacks me nd I’m scared of what he might do to someone else.

  28. I’ve had dogs all my life and bring my dog with me everywhere. People call me the Dog whisper because all dogs love me and I love all dogs. My current 5 month olds rescue chihuahua was always gentle, easy going and affectionate to me and all the dogs and people I introduce her to every day on our walks since I adopted her at 4-5 weeks old. But, since she got spayed and rabbies 2 weeks ago, she suddenly attacks me for no reason while sleeping on my lap. She also suddenly started attacking and seemingly trying to kill my kind-hearted son as well as me even though until 2 weeks ago, she cuddled with the 2 of us all the time. She still cuddles but she seems to suddenly lash out into a raging anger for no apparent reason. She will be peacefully looking at me, then suddenly leap through the air and start biting me or my son. Do you think the anesthesia caused brain issues that turned from the peaceful dog into a Dr Jekkyl and Mr Hyde (bipolar-like) attack dog? My dogs are always peaceful and loving and she was as well until she got back from being spayed and rabies shot. How do I stop this kind of unprovoked aggression? I’ve trained more than 20 dogs and am considered quite effective but I’ve never had a dog who attacks me and my calm-mannered, gentle sons who are just as loving as me with dogs.

  29. So this article is extremely stupid in my opinion. To me, it’s obvious that Henry shouldn’t have just walked in, and John shouldn’t have let him. John should have called Max over and introduced them to each other slowly and let Max approach Henry.

    The reason I even came here was to find reasons why a dog might snap and bite someone for no reason. I don’t mean that the dog gave warning signs and we were oblivious. No I mean he literally snapped. My fiancé and her family have had a dog for about 6 years and he has been the sweetest pup ever. Very loving and affectionate. He always had a habit of barking at people through the window outside (and thats fine bc the dog is defending his territory and family). However about a month ago my fiancé, her mom, and the dog were sitting on their bed talking. She is literally just sitting talking when the dog snaps his head around and bites her face (tearing at her lips and nose). Nobody touched the dog, nobody was even looking at the dog. The dog followed them up and was sitting to the side of her. I honestly cannot think of a reason why besides the dog having some sort of bipolar issue or something that caused him to snap. This was bad but she was okay and did not need stitches. She has scars about her lip and on her nose. Now, a couple days ago, it was a similar situation where they were talking (nobody arguing, just bestfriend girly talk), when he bit her hand and caused a huge bruise and bleeding. If they were arguing maybe the dog was trying to defend her mom without knowing any better, but they weren’t fighting or even raising their voices. All smiles and giggles. Maybe the dog wanted to get her attention and bit her to gain it? But it was a bad bit, not some love bite or small nip. This is all extremely jarring because he has been great for years until recently. Plus he only bites her. She was the one who raised him and honestly he was her dog until the first bite. Any ideas as to what went wrong or if he might have a mental issue. He does have doggy anxiety and is on pills from the vet. i think he needs to get bloodwork done to make sure the meds are even helping and not making him aggravated or anything. Either way, biting someone unprovoked is something I never thought I would ever see. My three dogs are the sweetest pups and would never hurt anyone, even if the person was hurting them. I feel so bad that her little baby pup is now doing this to only her.

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