Yawning, blinking, nose licking, head turning and breath holding behaviours are all signs your dog is nervous or uncomfortable with the situation they are in. Turning away, walking away, ears going back and standing crouched with tail tucked underneath them is a sign that the discomfort/anxiety is escalating. Please be aware of all these warnings before your dog can no longer control how they feel, if they start staring, stiffening up, growling or snapping because you have not noticed their way of telling you STOP it may lead to them biting.
THINK! Is my dog telling me to STOP?
If a dog is provoked (even in situations you think are unjustified) they may show aggression to tell you to back off! If they have been giving you repeated warnings telling you to stop and they go unseen they may feel the only way to regain some control and feel safe is to bite as surely that will tell you enough is enough?
Things would of course be much easier if our dogs could speak!
Taking note of body language is the next best way we can communicate with our dogs. Remember, just like people a dogs mood can change in an instant, one minute they can be perfectly fine the next something triggers fear aggression, for instance, some dogs hate been touched from above the head/on the head, on the neck/collar area and on their tail, reaching over a dogs head to stroke them may cause fear of which they do not know how to handle other than to bite to tell you STOP.
Why not put your hand loosely in front of the dogs face instead? Allow the dog to sniff you and have a little lick and see that you are safe and won’t hurt them, and once they have done that give them a little chin rub or back rub! Putting them at ease rather than triggering the fear that could make any dog react.
It is unfair to put our dogs in situations where they may feel uncomfortable, where they may fearfully react due to our ignorance of their needs and feelings and the dog is then labelled as aggressive and may be put to sleep when in fact it was human error for not understanding the beautiful animal in front of them.