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How Can Aggressive Dogs Appear Harmless At First?

How Can Aggressive Dogs Appear Harmless At First?
Christian J. Amendt

Whether you are inside a house or walking around in a park outside, you will likely encounter animals that you have not seen before or have not interacted with much.

Signs of aggression in dogs may not always be so obvious at first. Being more aware of how these animals may react can help you even after suffering from a dog bite.

Still and stiff body language

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a dog that stops in its tracks may not always feel at ease around humans. Although you may associate a calm or quiet dog with a lack of fear, the stiffness of its body language may actually be a sign that it feels scared.

These animals may move quickly forward at you and then hop back without touching or biting you at first. Some of these actions can come as a warning to back away even if the owner insists their dog is just trying to play with you.

Teeth and muzzle interaction

At first glance, you may assume a dog with its teeth bared could be smiling or prompting you to reach over and pet it. However, it could start to growl or appear like it is following you as you try to back away. Some dogs may try to headbutt you with their muzzle as a test before they decide to bite you.

Play bites

While some nips may not break your skin or leave you bleeding afterward, they can still signal that the dog is more angry than amused.

Staying aware of how aggressive dogs tend to interact with humans can help you after a bite.