Cobb County Government

Preventing a Dog Bite

Why do dogs bite?

There are a few reasons that dogs bite. A dog bites because it is trying to tell you something. If you know why dogs bite and what to do and not to do you can hopefully avoid being bitten by a dog.

  • 1. Scared or frightened – If a dog is scared, it might bite you if you approach it or try to pet it.
  • 2. Protective (female dog with puppies or protecting yard) – You should never try to pet a mother dog while she is with her puppies. She might think you are trying to take her puppy and will become protective. Dogs also become protective of their yards. If you go into the yard with a dog that does not know you, it could try to bite because it thinks you are trespassing.
  • 3. Accident – Sometimes a dog might get too excited as it is playing and accidentally bite you. The dog did not mean to harm you.
  • 4. Sick or injured – If an animal is sick or injured, do not touch it. The animal will be in a lot of pain and does not want to be touched. You need to tell an adult if you find a dog that is sick or injured. They can find someone to help the animal that has the knowledge and experience to handle an animal that is hurting.

What to do around a strange dog

When you see a loose dog there are a few things that you should do. You should never run up to a dog and try to pet it or grab it. You do not know if the dog is friendly.

If a loose dog comes near you, you should not run or scream. Instead, you should avoid eye contact with the dog and stand very still, like a tree, until the animal moves away. Once the dog loses interest, you can slowly back away.

If you fall down or you are knocked to the ground by a dog, you should curl up in a ball with your knees tucked into your stomach, and fingers interlocked behind your neck to protect your neck and ears.

The best advice is to avoid all strange dogs. If you do not know the dog, try to stay away from it.

What to do around a dog with an owner.

You should not pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission from the dog’s guardian first.

Don’t pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first. Always hold out your fist and never an open hand.

The dog may seem fine with its owner, but not like being petted by strangers. The dog owner should know whether the dog will bite. If the dog owner says the dog will bite, do not try to pet the dog anyway.

What to do around your dog

You know your dog, love your dog, and play with your dog every day. You still have to be careful around your dog so that you are not bitten.

Your dog will want to play with you but when the dog leaves, he leaves. Just like you the dog will get tired of playing, but he will play later. When the dog does not want to play, the dog might become aggravated if you keep bothering it.


  • You should not approach, touch or play with any dog that is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Animals are more likely to bite if they’re startled, frightened or caring for young.
  • Pull a dog’s ears or tail, climb on or try to ride dogs.
  • Encourage your dog to play aggressively.
  • Ride your dog around.
  • Drag the dog.
  • Take items from the dog. Dogs do not know how to share and can become possessive of their toys.


  • Care for your dog by giving it water and food each day.
  • Walk the dog and give it plenty of exercise.
  • Pet the dog in the direction the fur grows.
  • Confine the dog when a friend comes by. This could keep your friend from being bitten.
  • Spend time with your dog so that it does not become lonely.