Was this a "dog bite"?

I love and have always owned dogs, which I have always insisted be well behaved towards others.

My BIL is deathly afraid of dogs (not as result of an attack, just an extreme, irrational fear.). He puts a lot of effort into tolerating my dog, and we make a lot of effort to make our dog inoffensive to him.

Last weekend we travelled to visit another sister. My sister has a blanket rule of no dogs other than her aged dachshund, but there seem to be periodic exceptions granted. Her youngest of 3 adult sons is quite the fuckup (grounds for a different thread.). Without my sister knowing, his BF brought over my nephew’s 1.5 yr old dog. Approx 25#, resembled a fox terrier. His mother was not pleased that the dog (or BF) showed up.

This dog was horribly behaved. The nephew interacted with it in a way that would be expected to rile it up. The dog ran about jumping on everyone, trying to lick faces. Many folk allowed it to. It seemed EXTREMELY friendly, but was somewhat mouthy. I did not express any comment, and did not interact w/ the dog.

FF to the “bite”. My BIL got up to leave the room, and the dog clamped around my BIL’s leg. BIL later said (in private on the ride home) that the dog bit him. Said he had a mark on his leg above the knee, but no hole in his pants.

So I ask you - did the dog “bite” him? Either way, should anyone say/do anything?

My guess is that as my BIL moved his leg forward, the dog had it’s mouth open, such that BIL’s leg came into contact w/ the leg. IMO, even tho it was not an aggressive act, it was ENTIRELY inappropriate. And however irrational I feel my BIL’s fear is, it IS his reality, and I respect that. But I’m not at all convinced that anything needs to be said/done to anyone at this point. BIL has said he will never visit that sister if that dog will be present.

Is the dog an intact male?

Didn’t check his balls. Assumed none, but not sure. Like I said, owner is a fuckup, so it wouldn’t surprise me. (A prior pit of his mauled/killed his BF’s dog.)

I was asking because a few Thanksgivings ago a friend of a relative showed up with a dog that at one point “clamped around” her (the owner’s) leg. She asked, “why does he always do that?” I pointed out that his red rocket was ready for takeoff, but she (thirty-something years old) did not understand.

Oh - and I was out of the room when this happened, so the “clamped” language was my BIL’s.

He consistently describes the most innocent dog behavior in aggressive terms, i.e. a dog that moved in his general direction “lunged at” him. But given the dog’s behavior, I fully expect the dog at least jumped up and put his front paws on my BIL.

Why is that your guess? Why wouldn’t you take your BIL at his word? Dogs can certainly bite flesh without ripping clothing.

It sounds like a bite. Whatever the dog’s intention, it closed teeth on a leg. If BIL is upset by dog teeth closing on leg, that’s sufficient provocation and he’s welcome to avoid said dog, who apparently wasn’t supposed to be there anyway.

My guess is that as my BIL moved his leg forward, the dog had it’s mouth open, such that BIL’s leg came into contact w/ the leg.

^This sounds like “I had my fist moving forward and he just ran his face into it.”

As I tried to indicate, because he has a consistent history of reacting to innocent dog behavior in a manner that I believe misrepresents that behavior.

My sister said he showed her the mark - it looked like a little pimple. BIL thought it an infected dog bite.

IME, some people will say a dog “bit” them, when I do not believe the action qualifies as a bite. A common experience would be a child interacting w/ a dog, playing w/ a toy. If their hand makes contact with the dog’s tooth, the child will say “He bit me.”

To avoid such misunderstanding, I work hard to train “bite inhibition”, such that my dogs know it is never acceptable for their teeth to make contact w/ a person’s skin/clothing.

I’m not at all convinced he “closed teeth on leg.” If you have ever interacted with a dog, you might be familiar with the fact that if a dog has its mouth open, you might make contact with a tooth without the dog closing its jaws.

I’ve dinged my hand on a dog’s teeth in the past. I knew how it happened and I wasn’t predisposed to assume I was being attacked, so I wasn’t upset at the dog. If I was afraid of dogs, I could very well have thought I was being bitten when actually I was being careless.

Sounds like it qualifies as a dog bite to me, even if it didn’t break the skin. Fear of dogs, irrational or not, doesn’t justify excusing out-of-bounds behavior.

I am fond of dogs in general and have had numerous dogs.

I think there might be some confusion going on about the use of the word “clamp.” To clarify, as you understand it, that was a reference to the dog jumping onto his leg, right? You don’t mean that the dog’s jaws were clamped on his leg?

It seems to me that the scenario where an intentional dog bite occurs as just an incidental thing while he’s walking out of the room and there isn’t any other aggressive behavior by the dog is a little bit of an unlikely one. I would definitely bet on the field of all other explanations. It seems like one quite possible one is that the dog just scrabbled on his leg and got him with a (probably very poorly maintained, from the sounds of it) dewclaw, which absolutely can leave a mark on you.

I’m hard pressed to imagine a situation where a dog bites a guy on the knee and it passes underneath everyone’s radar until it’s commented on later, unless it’s a little baby puppy nipping at everything and anything.

Unless I’m the one who’s mistaken and you interpreted the “clamping” as meaning the dog’s jaws closed on his leg, I’m going no bite.

Yeah, I’ve had dogs, too. What matters here seems to me that an uninvited, uncontrolled dog did something physical that caused distress to a person who has previously made it clear that they fear dogs. That person says they’re not going to interact with the dog again because it was upsetting to them. What is the issue here? Problem solved.

It’s just a matter of perception. A lot of people think any time a dog lays on tooth on them, it’s a bite. Other people need to see blood before it’s a bite, and still others would call that a nip. In our society, where most people have an extremely distorted view of animals (compared to what animals actually are, and actually do, and why they do those things), it’s a good bet that whatever the dog thought it was communicating (and given the terrier etc. qualities, it could have just been WHEE! Gotcha!), it was traumatic to the recipient.

To me, a “real” bite is fully intended to cause harm. 99% of dogs connecting skin with their teeth are just warning you that they aren’t gonna take any more of that shit. It’s called an ‘inhibited’ bite in the dog-behavior world. They do not intend to harm you, just change your behavior. But since people have a lot thinner skin and no fur, what would merely be a sobering lesson to another dog can be a trip to urgent care for stitches, to a person. Real bites, on the other hand, are a newspaper story.

Definitely. Apologies for any misunderstanding, which I understand from my original phrasing.

I completely agree with your characterization.

As far as any “issue”, my sister Sally, BIL Peter’s wife, felt Peter thinks this was a huge event, which he is expecting her to react to in some manner different than she is. Like others said, no one else noticed this attack/bite/event. Sally said the mark looked more like a pimple than an infected dog bite (as BIL described it). (Would a dog tooth mark become infected in <12 hrs?)

I entirely agree that the dog was poorly behaved, its owner was inexcusably irresponsible, and BIL’s perception that something unpleasant happened is not to be questioned. My sister (I’ll start using names) Sally, feels BIL Peter thinks Sally should mention this to our host - my sister Lily. Or somehow be more supportive of his “trauma” (my word, not his.). IMO - and I think Sally’s - this was unpleasant and Peter is rightfully upset, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal. And I feel that if he was going to react/overreact this extremely, perhaps he ought to have been more strident (he said nothing) about keeping the dog under control/away from him.

Peter and Sally are coming to our house Sat for dinner. I would not be surprised if at some point Peter brings this up. I’m just trying to kinda get me head straight before that. A part of me thinks it worthwhile to distinguish between a bite - whether aggressive or not, and coming into contact with a tooth. To some extent, that makes the difference between the dog being dangerous/aggressive, or just poorly behaved.

We generally keep our dog on a leash when they are over.

“…old Mrs. Detweiler called after dinner that night. Muggs had bitten her once, in the leg, and she came into the living room only after we assured her that Muggs had run away. She had just seated herself when, with a great growling and scratching of claws, Muggs emerged from under a davenport where he had been quietly hiding all the time, and bit her again. Mother examined the bite and put arnica on it and told Mrs. Detweiler that it was only a bruise.
“He just bumped you,” she said. But Mrs. Detweiler left the house in a nasty state of mind.”

  • “The Dog That Bit People” by James Thurber

Good old Muggs.

“Eets not my dog” is the approach I’d take. Then I’d change the subject.

Yes, I’d do something like “I’m sorry, it must have be frightening for you. How about that local sports team?!’

Funny, but this morning I was absent-mindedly playing tug with my dog while reading the paper and drinking coffee. Something we do at some point pretty much every day. I know how he behaves, and know he would never intentionally clamp his teeth on my skin. When playing tug, sometimes his mouth gets near the end of the toy I am holding - or vice versa. This morning I noticed that one time my hand contacted one of his canines.

No - far from leaving a mark or anything. And not accompanied by a closing of his jaws. Just his mouth and my hand moved such that contact was made. I bet my BIL would have considered that to be a bite. Of course, he would not be playing tug w/ my or any dog either.

Neither my wife or I are much for dogs and we have no livestock in the house at all. However, all three of our children have dogs as does two of our grandchildren who are adults with their own households. The kids all know they’re welcome at our house anytime but dogs stay home. If we go to someone’s house who has a dog we do so knowing full well the hazards. So far, neither of us have been bitten.

However, if we were at someone’s house and then someone waltzed into the host’s home with a strange dog we would keep our distance. If it decided to be aggressive and it bit either me or my wife, what goes through my mind is “God help the dog”.