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Dog bites can be prevented by learning the body language signals that dogs give off in the lead up to a bite. Dogs generally don't "bite out of nowhere" unless these early signals have been ignored repeatedly or punished.

Here are the signals that a dog will give as they move down the road to a bite, and what they mean:

1) Displacement Signals - "I'll act distracted to take the pressure off"
- Sniffing
- Scratching
- Goofing around

2) Calming Signals - "I'd really like things to calm down"
- Licking lips
- Yawning (often with a squeaking noise)
- Turning head away or moving away
- Moving in slow motion

3) Stress Signals - "I'm really getting scared now"
- Heavy panting
- Sweaty paws
- Trembling
- Big wide eyes (called whale eye or half moon eye)
- Hackles up

4) Preparing for Action / Assessment - "They're not stopping, maybe I'll have to defend myself"
- Stiff, frozen posture (conserving energy)
- Staring wide-eyed without blinking (hard stare)
- Mouth closed

5) Last Warnings - "Please stop and go away, this is your last warning"
- Snarling or lifting lip up vertically
- Growling
- Snapping the air
- Punching with nose (muzzle punch)

6) Attack - "This is the only way to keep myself safe"
- Lunge
- Bite

The earlier you take an exit, the better your chances will be of avoiding a bite! The rule of thumb if you're not sure what to when you think your dog might be heading down the road to a bite is ADD SOME DISTANCE between your dog and whatever is upsetting them.

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