An otherwise even-tempered dog may bite someone if the dog is surprised or startled. In fact, this is one of the top reasons that children get bitten. They love dogs, and, upon seeing a new dog, they may suddenly run up to pet it. The dog does not know that the child is simply being friendly, and it may instinctively react to protect itself.
Coming up behind a dog
Perhaps the most dangerous situation is when someone comes up behind a dog and surprises it. Remember, dogs have evolved to protect themselves from threats. Many predators that would try to attack a dog — or its ancestor, the wolf — would approach from behind in order to attack without being seen. A human may do this innocently, but you can’t erase all those years of evolution. The dog is still going to feel like you are a threat and react on instinct to fight back.
To make matters even worse, many dogs will attempt to protect the things that matter most to them: food, water, their owners and especially children within their “pack.” Someone who approaches a dog while it is eating or drinking may get bitten even if they come up to the dog from the front. The dog still thinks that the person is after whatever it has, and its instincts tell it to lash out and protect itself.
After a bite
Understanding why dogs bite doesn’t always prevent these unfortunate events. After a bite that injures you or one of your children, you need to know how to seek compensation.