At the “fifty-thousand-foot level”, a dog bite and a dog nip may appear the same.  They both occur when a dog puts his mouth on our skin and leaves a puncture.  This puncture may be very, very small and may be nothing more than a scratch, but we still often say “That dog bit me!”

Words are just words.  The problem is how we deal with our interpretation of the words and the consequences that follow.

Both dog bites and dog nips can hurt and be very scary at the time.  The big difference that we often overlook is that a dog bite is normally more severe than a dog nip.  To put it into perspective, a nip often only requires a little antiseptic and a band aid.  A dog bite often requires a trip to the twenty-four-hour urgent care and some stitches.

So, the bite or nip happens.  What comes next?  Normally you will become very mad and aggressively punish your dog.  You feel that this is the right thing to do because you “really want to let the dog know he did a bad thing” and you “often feel better after doing it”.

Does this solve anything?  Probably not.  The key factor you are missing is to understand why your dog acted the way that he did?  Was it because he was scared or is he truly aggressive and vicious? The answer to this question will determine your dog’s true nature and the reason for his action.

It could be possible that, even though your dog bit a person, it was not his fault at all.  He may have been reacting to a perceived inappropriate action by the person.  Robin and I have a wonderful article that will put all of this into perspective. Please read our dog training blog titled “What’s the Difference Between a Dog Bite and Nip”

Dog Nip