I'm trying to understand what does twisting means when the subject is a raging dog.

I can't make sense of simple definitions of twist (to bent, to rotate) in the context of the following examples:

My adrenalin must have been really pumping for I managed to lift this snarling, twisting dog up into the air and held him straight up over my head. (source)

The insanely twisting dog was now held by his collar and a back leg. (source)

He shoved the fiercely twisting dog backward, jammed a pistol against Wolf's head, and pulled the trigger! (source)

I know that the verb lunge is commonly used when describing a raging dog, but wonder whether twist has a particular meaning?

P.S. If it does, it would be great if you could share an image or a video that demonstrates it, but it's a bonus :)

  • A search on 'Pompeii dog' will find photos of the cast of the unfortunate guard dog that died in the volcanic eruption. Lunge means something different. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


It is literal. When a dog bites, it grips with its teeth and twists its head from side to side. (Wolves do the same to rip meat of an animal that they have killed, or kill small animals like rabbits by shaking them violently)

Its hard to find videos of dogs biting and twisting, but they do the same to toys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LewKgm79-8

  • 1
    In the context of lifting an angry dog into the air, you'll often see them twisting their body around as they try to find leverage to escape and/or a position where they can bit the person holding them. You can see a lot of videos of dogs doing this on animal rescue channels on Youtube like Hope For Paws.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 5:12

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