Which dog barks, does not bite. Is it really true?

Szénási Szimonetta

2023. December 9 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

You can protect yourself from serious trouble by reading the signals of animals well. For example, when you recognize that a dog is about to attack.


Understanding animal communication can be easily misunderstood. Yet it is crucial to know when your pet is trying to express something, especially when there is a risk of injury. Many people think when a dog barks is indicates an impending attack, as a kind of warning sign. However, it is by no means that simple!


There can be numerous reasons

Dogs use barking to communicate with each other and with us in various situations. They also use it to draw our attention to strange or unusual things. Barking can be a sign of joy, and in uncomfortable situations, dogs may vocalize to express their displeasure.

So, when a dog barks, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s angry and preparing to attack. But it could also mean that! Conversely, a quiet, reserved dog can also bite.

The importance of body language: dogs do not only bark to signal

That’s exactly why you shouldn’t rely solely on vocal signals! Take the entire body language into account if you want to assess an animal’s intentions.

Wagging, for instance, can express joy, excitement, tension, while a tucked tail between the legs may indicate fear. Additionally, the accompanying happy barking differs from tense whimpering or angry barking. You need to interpret nonverbal cues collectively!

Fear as an indicator

There can be numerous reasons why a dog bites out of fear. Many situations can trigger what may seem like an aggressive but is actually a self-defense reaction. These include loud noises, sudden unexpected movements, or unintentional infliction of pain on the animal. This is precisely why you should never reach out to a stranger’s dog in a way that startles the animal. (It’s not advisable to pet any animal without permission anyway; always consult with the owner first!)

The impact of heat and environmental damages

A study also pointed out that sudden heat and air pollution negatively affect the behavior of dogs. Similar to humans, dogs may become more restless and aggressive due to the effects of heat and smog.

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