My dog bit someone, what should I do?

posted 11 months ago in Pets
Post # 16
35 posts

Just curious, when you say he nipped him what do you mean? To me, a nip is my GSD’s nip, when he wants to play with us, but we aren’t paying attention, he grazes his teeth on us. I can’t explain it but it’s like he pretends to bite us. It’s always in the butt and it’s always in a playful mood. So I’m just wondering what sort of action was towards the pest control guy-being stepped on makes sense, but did the pest control guy startle him? There had to be a reason, which will help you find the solution.

Its tough, OP, and people label GSD’s because of some of their more difficult traits but they are incredibly smart animals and you can (pardon the pun) nip this behavior in the bud with quick action. Do some research and best of luck! 

Post # 18
157 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

It sounds like he may be a fearful dog as opposed to an aggressive one.

 Nipping because he was stepped on is not the dogs fault, but does show that he may be particularly fearful/ defensive (if I accidentally step on my senior dog she’ll cry out but has never nipped). If he suddenly came out of the bathroom to a strange man in his house, the nipping is also likely out of fear of someone invading his space.

i would suggest looking up information on fearful dogs. It’s a long process (i had a fearful rescue growing up and she never got super confident, but did definitely improve over the years).

a basic suggestion for when you have guests over is give the dog a “safe space” (kennel, crate etc) where he can go and no one will bug him. Make his safe space a great place for him to be (treats, praise when he goes there). 

Post # 21
137 posts
Blushing bee

With the more information you have provided, I honestly don’t think your dog nipping once because someone stepped on him, or because there was a strange, unexpected man in your home, necessates an extreme reaction or extreme problem. I feel like the unexpected part plays a major role in this. Would he had been fine had he been introduced to the man beforehand? Or in other words, does he do fine with strangers in the house that he is introduced too?

My grandparent’s dog was a sweetie, and did really good with strangers. However, there were two times she went and nipped a stranger (maintenance person and a friend that hadn’t been around for a long time) inside the home, and it was because they came over and tried to pick up my little sister and I or did a large hug/pick up thing of my grandma. She nipped because she was protective, which sounds like your dog did as well. Not saying it’s okay for dogs to bite because they are being protective, but it is certainly different than the image being created before that your dog had attacked a person out of nowhere and little harmless old lady. 

My dog would also growl and snap towards my cats when they would crawl or jump on top of her when she was sleeping or otherwise distracted, because it startled her.

I would agree this sounds more fear-based. My dog will “nip” (she sorta does this growl snarl thing and snaps/bites the air, but never makes contact with) when we are walking down the hall in our apartment building or outside on the side walk and turn the corner and someone runs into her. She just get’s really startled and scared when someone runs into her, which I can understand. 

I feel that it is almost a normal dog reaction to try to snap if in pain (ie being stepped on suddenly, especially if it was hard), or if they are let out of a room and there is a stranger in the house. That doesn’t seem to be aggression, but more being startled/afraid/pain and protective of you and her home. All 10 dogs (german shepherd collie mix, white shep, border collie, hound mix, eskimo mix, lab mix, cocker spaniel, corgi mix, spaniel mix, etc) I’ve grown up with/interacted with a lot have the reaction of turning and snapping if you accidently step on them or sit on them or something. 

Also, I would’t mind seeing a pic of him, if you care to post one 🙂

EDIT: Reread your posts, I definitely think that he nipped the pest control man because he was startled and thought he was a threat to you, especially if you had nervous energy about him being in your home that he could feel. 


Post # 23
656 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

lunarfairy :  when did you get the puppy? Your dog could be trying to protect the puppy and that’s why he’s acting differently. Was the puppy at the dog park as well when he bit the woman?

Post # 25
4914 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

lunarfairy :  The crate is a good idea, also keeping him on leash until he gets to know strangers.  He probably thinks he is doing his job – keeping you safe!  

Post # 26
137 posts
Blushing bee

lunarfairy :  Oh my golly what precious babies! He has such a cute face, and she is super adorable! Shepherd mixes are just so freaking cute! 

I agree with astra, he probably thinks he is doing what he is supposed to do, keep you safe from threats and any harm. 


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