Scientists Study Online Videos to Understand Why Dog Bites Happen

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool used dog bite videos posted on YouTube and other online sources to identify human and dog behaviors that can be precursors to dog bites.

The researchers studied dozens of videos and analyzed both human and dog behaviors, bite severity, dog and victim characteristics, and the context in which the bite occurred.

What did they find?  Here’s an overview of the most interesting data:

  • Bite victims were more likely to be male than female, and children and infants were more likely to be bitten than adults.
  • Victims were more likely to initiate pre-bite interactions than dogs.  Most bites occurred on the victims’ limbs.
  • The dogs’ pre-bite body language included a change in ear position (often lowered) and holding the body in a low to the ground, awkward position.
  • The humans’ pre-bite behavior included standing over, petting, and restraining the dog.
  • The most common dogs in the videos were Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, Labs, Pit bulls, and mixed breeds.
  • Bites were most likely to occur during play and other interactions, rather than when the dog was at rest.

The authors report that while studying these videos can give us clues as to why dog bites happen, they also note that many bite scenarios are not filmed or uploaded to the internet.

For more information on how to read canine behavior and prevent dog bites, check out the Doggone Safe website.