Dogs have been known as “man’s best friend” since their ancestors – the great wolves – first learned that they would be provided food, warmth and shelter if they stood guard by our campfires in days of yore. Today, dogs are loveable pets that symbolize courage, loyalty, friendship and protection.
Thus, when we dream of being attacked by a dog, we’re going to be understandably distressed and unsure of what to make of it. If we have more than one dream about a dog attacking us, it’s going to start raising some alarm bells. Thankfully, dogs are gentle creatures that we almost never need to be scared of, and dreams of them usually signify something internal, rather than about our favorite pups.
What does it mean if you dream about being attacked by a dog?
Dreams are projections of our subconscious mind as the sleeping brain works through various stresses, concerns, and emotional experiences from our waking life, searching for a solution. When we wake up at the end of a dream we have usually resolved some sort of problem, or overcome some challenges, and wake to feel refreshed and happy.
Sometimes, however, we wake in the middle of a dream, long before the brain has had a chance to fully process our pains. When this happens, we experience what we call ‘nightmares’ – types of dreams which often include frightening images, experiences, or sensations.
One particular type of nightmare is to dream of being attacked by a dog, or pack of dogs. To dream of a dog attacking you, barking at you, or threatening you in some other way is always going to be distressful, but it needn’t be cause for concern.
Interpretations of dreams of dog attacks usually lead us to more positive places in life, as we are able to assess the psychology of what’s worrying us, and thus approach it in a healthier way in our day-to-day.
Let’s take a look at the meaning of various types of dog dreams.
1. Fear of Dogs
One of the most common experiences in a dream is to relive some past trauma. The event may not always look identical to our memory of it, but generally it follows the same pattern.
As psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung – who studied dreams intensely – pointed out, the reason for this is simple: our brain is attempting to process a traumatic event in order to learn and heal from it.
In the event that you may have been put in a dangerous situation with a dog in your life before, or even been attacked by one – perhaps bitten by those sharp and painful teeth of theirs – then your dream of being attacked by a dog most likely just means that you are healing.
Next time, instead of going to bed frightened of having a dog bite dream, try to consider the event in your life to which these dreams are harking back. Now try to think about all of the other dog interactions you’ve had since, and consider how they did not end the same way.
In manifesting a more positive approach to this memory, your brain may be able to finally heal. Who knows? In time, you may even get your own pet dog, and enjoy the sort of happy dog companionships that others have been enjoying since the dawn of time.
2. Aggressive Tendencies
There’s no denying that a dream about a dog attacking you is a violent, troubling dream. It can mean a lot of different things, as we’ll come to see, but the meaning generally reflects the life experiences and headspace of the specific dreamer, rather than having one singular meaning which can be applied to all.
For some people, the aggression of the dog in their dog attack dreams can be a reflection of their own aggressive tendencies in disguise. We often turn our aggression inwards, long before we ever direct it externally, toward others in our lives.
As such, if you have been feeling short-tempered or short-fused lately – if you have been harboring anger – then this dream is your brain giving you a vivid insight into the depths of your rage.
Should this be an accurate interpretation of your dog’s dream, then you should try to discover the root cause of your anger, and speak to someone (preferably a professional) about it. Only by seeking help and being vulnerable can we settle inner conflict and approach life with a more peaceful mindset.
3. Distrust Someone Close to You
Dogs represent loyalty, friendship, and unconditional love, as well as honesty and devotion.
Thus, experiencing a dream in which one of these loveable creatures actually attacks you, is quite often a sign that you are perhaps processing feelings of betrayal – specifically betrayal of you by someone close to you.
This is especially likely if the dog in the dream is your or a friend’s dog, since being attacked by a dog you know and love would be a clear betrayal of your trust.
If you have a dream like this, it could mean that you’re feeling hurt and let down by family members, a lover, or even a new friendship. Equally, it could mean that you’ve been hurt before, but that it’s time now to learn to trust people again.
4. Anxiety Over Guilty Feelings
We may wake from a dog dream feeling unjustly put upon and upset, and quite rightly!
However, it’s important to remember that ultimately the images we’re presented with in our dream state are ones created by our own subconscious minds. The scenarios we find ourselves in are mere projections of our conscious stressors and worries. In short, a healthy brain has our best interests at heart!
If you dream about a dog attacking you, it could be quite a clear symbol of you attacking yourself over something. The dog is your guilt and the act of biting or mauling you your anxiety about this guilt.
Perhaps it’s time for a transformation. Perhaps it’s time to let go of your guilt and embrace the future.
5. Dream of Your Hand Being Bitten by a Dog
Our hands are windows into our inner lives. Heavily calloused hands show a life of hard physical labor, sport, or tribulations, whilst soft hands show delicacy. There is a reason, after all, that we’ve taken to studying palms with the same intense curiosity with which we look up at the stars in the night sky.
A dream about your hand being bitten is quite specific, and the hand in this case becomes its own symbol. Being bitten on your left hand (if your right is dominant) may symbolize a nagging stressor that you’ve yet to pinpoint. Whereas being bitten on your right hand (in this case), would symbolize anxiety or stress which is front and center in your life: something obvious and debilitating.
Of course, this interpretation flips around for different people, depending on which of their hands they use to write (or indeed, if they are ambidextrous).
6. Dream of a Black Dog Attacking You
“The Black Dog” is maybe one of the most recognizable symbols in the Western world. It is an omen, and not a good one. In short, “the Black Dog” is depression. To see a black dog in your dreams is troubling enough, but to be bitten or attacked by one is likely a clear sign that you are directly struggling with mental health at the present moment.
If you are, please reach out to someone. Ideally, book an appointment with your local doctor to discuss your symptoms. If you have access to it, engage in counseling with a professional therapist. At the very least, speak to a family member or close friend.
7. Dream of a Brown Dog Attacking You
The color of the dog, in a dream in which you experience a dog chase or dog attack, can be crucial to the interpretation of that dream.
If you dream of a brown dog instead of a black or white dog, for instance, then the attack may actually be your subconscious warning you that you are not feeling grounded at the moment, and need to take time to recenter yourself with your goals and aspirations.
Dogs are wonderful creatures, full of generosity and love for their owners (and anyone with a treat in their pocket or a hand free to pet them!). Still, that doesn’t mean that we need to feel safe around every type of dog, and for some people, there are certain breeds that can cause real anxiety. Dreaming of a dog attacking you may reflect this anxiety quite literally or, on the other hand, may symbolize any number of different internal concerns or external struggles.
Just remember, at the end of the day, a dream is just a dream. Dog attacks are very rare in real life, and so just because you dream of one hurting you doesn’t mean you have anything to fear. Thanks for reading!