Ok hear me out before skipping over this one! I know this sounds like a dry boring title and subject but in my opinion it's an important one!
Let's start with a "for instance"...you've had a loooong day and you're tired, you want some quiet time to unwind. In comes your partner, or friend, or roommate, they start chatting non-stop and teasing you a little bit. Now on most days this would lead you to engage in a lively conversation and make you laugh. On days described above it may bring you to the point where you ask them to stop and give you peace or it may bring you to snap and tell them off depending on your level or irritability. This is not only a human reaction, it's a mammal one. And that's right, you've guessed it, dogs are mammals!
By using this sound logic it's understandable that a psychologically balanced dog can be brought to snap. Since they cannot verbally say "STOP" they will resort to communicating in their language and this can be snapping the air near you as a warning, growling, running away, or in the worst case, biting. This is a normal response, we cannot expect our dogs to spend every minute or every day in a happy go lucky state where nothing can ever affect them. Some dogs are knowingly or unknowingly brought to that threshold by their owners or their environment.
There are numerous reasons why dogs come to be in a state where they feel they need to defend themselves; I will not be enumerating all of them because I would put you all to sleep. I'll look into social media challenges and children as potential causes of dog's feeling the need to defend themselves.
Social media challenges, I'm sure you've seen some since there are tons going around and new ones are constantly being invented. Most are harmless and adorable even if you and your dog don't know what you're doing. Some require a bit of training and coordination to be successful. But then there are some that are just awful. I was originally going to post a clip of a horrible social media challenge but decided against it after watching some of them. The worst ones that led to dogs biting their person were the ones that involved the person hovering over the dog's head and getting too close for their comfort. For dogs this is perceived as being aggressive since they're in a vulnerable position.
Another source of stress for dogs can be children. Too many parents think it's cute when their child pulls the dogs lips, or jumps on their back or chases them around, or other such assaults. Some dogs will tolerate it until the child outgrows that particular phase, other dogs are not as tolerant. Here are two examples of dogs that are showing clear signs or wanting the interaction to stop:
The clear solution is to teach the children how to interact with their pets, show them how to respect animals for their and the animal's safety.
Most dogs will give a lot of warning before biting someone, we need to listen to those signs and respect them for what they are. If your dog does not like being touched by strangers you need to be strong enough to answer no when someone asks to pet your dog. You need to learn your dog's limits and live within them. Some dogs are more challenging than others, but with the help and guidance of a reputable trainer you can change how your dog interacts with the world.
I do not want to send the message than you should not participate in any social media challenges or not have dogs around children. I want people to become aware of their dog's body language and treat them in a way where they do not feel the need to snap at you to feel safe. Like people, dogs have good and bad days, as an owner you need to operate within your dog's comfort zone. As mentioned at the beginning...there's nothing worse than having someone push your buttons to the point where you snap.
We all want the best for our dogs and life's about having fun! The more you interact with your dog through play and training the bigger their tolerance threshold can be since they will have exposure to more situations and movements. So go out there and enjoy your dog's company, they'll thank you for it!