" My dog
a cuddle. "
" Our pup
hurt a fly. "
" My dog
is great
with kids. "
" My dog loves
playing with
other dogs. "

Dogs will bite

From unfamiliar dogs to the cuddliest family pet, any dog can and will bite. And, for lots of reasons. So, it’s vital we know the situations when and why dogs bite. Plus all the things we can do to interact with dogs safely.

To keep ourselves, our loved ones and greater community safe, let’s get to know our four legged friends a little better, and lessen the chances of good dogs having bad days.

Last year, over 500 South Australians were admitted to hospital for dog bite related treatment and recovery. You can find out more about dog attacks here.

Together, let’s learn more about dog behaviour and get this number down.

Look out for your dog

Feeling threatened. Protecting their territory. Sick. Or frightened. There are many reasons dogs will bite. Even if “they’d never hurt a fly”, “are great with kids” or “they’ve never bitten anyone”.

As dog owners, we are responsible for our dog’s behaviour. A key part of this is minimising any risk of your dog biting or harassing another person or animal. No matter what history it has.


  • Keep your gates shut and yard secure so your dog can’t escape.
  • Provide a safe, comfortable space your dog can retreat to when there are people around.
  • Never let young children (even family) interact with your dog without you present.
  • Show all your visitors how your dog likes to interact.
  • Train your dog. Dogs love to learn and enjoy the attention while learning good manners, young and old.
  • Avoid punishment methods that create fear or aggression.
  • Socialise your dog. The younger you start, the better for them.
  • Not all dogs want to make friends with other dogs. If your dog is happier going solo, keep them under control and away from dog parks.
  • Get your dog used to the company of other dogs as soon as possible.
  • If your dog is displaying aggression see an animal behaviourist or your vet.
  • The fact your dog has never bitten anyone before, doesn’t lessen the risk.

Our pup is great with kids.


This might be the case, but good dogs can have bad days. It’s important that all children understand our doggy do’s and don’ts from an early age, this way they can grow up enjoying the company of furry friends.

Doggy do’s and don’ts

  • Whether at home or out in public, always supervise children around dogs.
  • Never enter a dog’s territory, like their bed, yard or toy box.
  • Never startle a dog.
  • Never touch a dog while it’s eating.
  • Never touch a dog’s puppies without the owner’s permission.
  • Never disturb a sleeping dog.
  • Never put your face near a dog’s face.
  • Dogs do not like pats on the head.
  • Teach children to always ask the owner’s permission before approaching a dog.
  • Teach children that dogs can bite when they’re tired, frightened, annoyed, unwell or in pain and these warning signals.
  • When approaching a dog, slowly reach to touch its chest from the side. If it retreats, it’s time to back off.

New four legged friend


They become our best friends, our furry kids, and members of the family. So it’s important to take into consideration your home, your lifestyle and most importantly your family. Here are some steps to take:

  • Research, then choose a dog that suits your lifestyle and environment.
  • Always be prepared for a long-term commitment.
  • If you’re adopting or taking on an older dog, learn about its history. Have its temperament assessed by a behaviouralist or vet.
  • Buying from Breeders? Check the parents’ health records.
  • Visit where the animal was born, bred and raised