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I've seen some dogs who are so sweet, they will literally let you do anything to them, and have also heard some people say that 'their dog would never bite' , but I wanted to know what some of you thought of this. Do think all dogs have a bite threshold, even if they never have bitten a person before? I think they do, even if it has been brought out.
 

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I think it depends completely on the dog. We were just talking about this yesterday. My oldest would bite, the golden would never even think about it, and the GSD probably has it in her, but I don't see it as of yet. We can do anything to the golden and GSD, but I don't push it with my oldest ever.
 

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Yes, all living things have their tolerance levels and the biggest trigger is the will to live.

Well trained dogs have been taught to respect humans so the threshold is higher but the instinct is still there
 

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I think it will always be there, but you may(hopefully) never see it. I hope my dog is never put in the position where she has to attack (whether a person or another dog) to protect herself.
 

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I have seen dogs who would rather die than bite. Literally. So I honestly think that some dogs have simply lost the self-preservation instinct. It seems counterintuitive that an animal would not defend its own life, but remember that all breeds are man-made.

I used to groom a Cocker Spaniel who had no will to live. He would try to hang himself on my table. Not by trying to jump off, or strain against the loop, or fight it, but he simply would not hold his head up. I'd put his head in the grooming loop and he'd simply hang all his weight into it and droop his head as far as he could. Before I realized he had suicidal tendencies, I'd simply lower the grooming loop to a level that should be natural and comfortable, and let him lean into it, figuring he'd eventually figure out that it would be in his best interest NOT to hang himself. Well, one day he just kept drooping lower and lower--no struggling, not a peep, nothing--and then his whole body went limp. He'd literally cut off his own oxygen supply and passed out. Thankfully, I was able to cut him loose and revive him, and after I realized that the dog would literally rather die than hold his head up, I used a loop around his belly instead of around his neck.

This dog, despite being a Cocker, never ever tried to fight me, bite me, or make a sound. He'd sometimes poop on my table, but other than being dead weight (and suicidal), he never showed a hint of emotion. Just total shut down.

So yes, I think there are rare cases where a dog's bite threshold is so high that the behavior will never be expressed.
 

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Yes, I think that all dogs have a bite threshold. And also that it can vary from day to day depending on the stressors that have accumulated, which can lower the threshold. This is a really great article on the topic

Reactive Champion: Good Dogs Bite, Too: Why You Need to Understand the Bite Threshold Model

An excerpt from above link (which I really encourage people to look at because it has some really great graphs to help you visualize this).

"Most dogs- like most people- don't really want to hurt others. But given the right situation, any dog- and any person- is capable of defending himself or his loved ones. That situation happens when multiple “risk factors” converge into one single incident"
 

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I think every dog should be assumed to have a bite threshold, and that the vast majority of them do (I would say all, but I do hesitate to speak in absolutes).

I also think it's important to recognize that the threshold can be highly dependent on circumstances and the person posing the threat (or perceived threat). I mean, I can do all kinds of things to my reactive dog without him biting me (like trimming his nails), but if someone he doesn't know does it, he'll bite. Same with my GSD...I could probably beat him to death (*shudder*) without him biting me, but he's reacted aggressively to people posing a threat to us before and I wouldn't be surprised if he bit a menacing stranger in the right circumstances. And really, I don't know...I'm basing that on his initial reaction whenever he thinks I'm angry or when he's been accidentally hurt (like when I once accidentally shut his paw in the car door), which is to cower far more than I've ever seen a dog do. But if pushed enough, he might well attack me. I wouldn't even assume that Freestep's Cocker wouldn't bite in the right circumstances...hanging oneself on the grooming table is different than being cornered and scared, for example.

Basically, I just assume that all dogs have a bite threshold, and a fairly low one at that. It's not something I really want to test, you know? ;)
 

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There is absolutely no way you could ever get our newf to bite you. He'll shoulder bump or swipe with his paws like a bear in extreme situations but there is no way no how you could ever get him to bite. As for the rest of us, you wouldn't be nearly so safe!
 

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I think they all do. Self preservation is an instinct that may never be awakened in a dog, but I think it's present in all of them.
 
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