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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

5 Ways Humans Cause Dog Bites

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Dog bites can have serious consequences, and it's crucial to recognize that humans play a significant role in contributing to these incidents. Factors such as lack of socialization, neglect, abuse, and insufficient training can lead to behavioral issues in dogs, increasing the risk of dog bites. In this blog, we will explore how humans contribute to dog bites and highlight the importance of responsible ownership to prevent such incidents. Additionally, we will incorporate recent statistics on dog bites from 2023 to provide a clearer understanding of the current situation.

This image is a real depiction of a dog bite incident involving a small child and a husky-type dog


Lack of Socialization:

Insufficient socialization during a dog's critical developmental period, typically between 8 to 16 weeks of age, can have a profound impact on their behavior. This crucial time is when puppies are most receptive to learning and experiencing new things. It is essential to expose them to a wide range of people, animals, and environments during this period to prevent fear, anxiety, and aggression later in life. The lack of exposure and positive experiences can make them more prone to fear and anxiety, causing inappropriate reactions in new situations. Additionally, dogs often go through their first fear period around 8 weeks of age. During this time, they can become more sensitive and fearful of new stimuli. Adequate socialization during this critical period helps dogs build confidence and form positive associations with different experiences, reducing the likelihood of fear-based aggression in the future. Providing positive experiences, proper exposure, and gentle guidance during this critical period sets the foundation for socially well-rounded dogs and minimizes the risk of dog bites in the long run.


Neglect and Lack of Care:

Neglecting a dog's physical and emotional needs can significantly impact their behavior. When dogs do not receive adequate care, such as regular exercise, mental stimulation, and affection, it can lead to negative emotions like frustration, restlessness, and anxiety. These negative emotions can escalate into aggressive behavior or biting as a way for the dog to communicate or defend themselves. Recent statistics highlight a correlation between cases of neglect and an increase in dog bites, emphasizing the importance of responsible care and attention for our furry companions.


Abuse and Trauma:

Dogs that have endured abuse, neglect, or trauma are more prone to exhibiting aggressive behavior. The physical and psychological mistreatment inflicted upon them can result in fear, anxiety, and a profound distrust of humans. These dogs may develop defensive reactions and an increased inclination to resort to biting as a means of self-protection. Addressing cases of abuse is of utmost importance, as it is crucial to provide support, care, and rehabilitation to these dogs. By offering them a safe and nurturing environment, coupled with positive reinforcement training, it is possible to help them heal and regain their trust in humans. Recent statistics emphasize the link between past abuse or trauma and incidents of dog bites, underscoring the significance of recognizing and addressing the underlying causes of aggression in dogs.

Inadequate Training, Including Unethical Methods:

Insufficient training and/or the use of unethical training methods, such as prong collars, shock collars, or other aversive techniques, can contribute to aggressive behavior in dogs. Dogs that have not been properly trained may exhibit problem behaviors like jumping, barking, or resource guarding, which, if left unaddressed, can escalate into biting incidents. Positive reinforcement-based training methods, focusing on rewarding desired behaviors and building trust, are effective in reducing aggression and promoting a harmonious relationship between humans and dogs. By prioritizing ethical training practices, dog owners can prevent aggressive behavior and the risk of dog bites.

Lack of Supervision:

Unsupervised interactions between children and dogs can lead to unfortunate incidents. Children, due to their limited understanding of a dog's body language and appropriate interaction, may unknowingly provoke dogs or misinterpret their signals. Dogs, especially those who are not accustomed to children or lack socialization with them, may react defensively if they feel threatened or startled. Recent statistics emphasize the importance of supervised interactions between children and dogs to prevent potential bites. In fact, studies have shown that a significant percentage of dog bites involve children. Therefore, it is crucial for adults to closely supervise and educate and supervise children on safe ways to interact with dogs, reducing the risk of dog bites and promoting a safe environment for both children and dogs.


In conclusion, human behavior and responsible ownership are crucial in preventing dog bites. By addressing factors such as lack of socialization, neglect, abuse, and insufficient training, we can reduce the risk of aggressive behavior in dogs. Responsible ownership involves providing proper care, socialization, training, and supervision to ensure the well-being of both dogs and the safety of the community. Incorporating recent statistics from 2023 on dog bites emphasizes the need for increased awareness and responsible ownership practices. Together, we can promote education, awareness, and responsible interactions to prevent dog bites and foster harmonious relationships between humans and dogs.

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