Dog Bite Liability: Do You Follow Proper Dog Park Etiquette?
As a dog owner, you’ve likely visited an off-leash dog park at one time or another. These parks are a great way for your pooch to release their energy, get exercise, and get the proper socialization they need. Plus, it’s a great way for you to meet other dog lovers like yourself! But what about the liabilities? While all dog parks have standard rules and regulations posted outside the gates before you enter, there is often nobody there to actually moderate the rules. Unfortunately, mistakes happen and accidents do occur, which can lead to a dog bite liability claim.
So what are some etiquette tips you could follow when entering a dog park, to potentially help alleviate problems? It starts with introducing your dog to dog parks at a young age. If you start taking a dog when they are still a puppy, they will be able to get used to being around other dogs and people, and will quickly develop the confidence that he or she needs. The following are some more tips, offered by dog owners and dog park visitors from various locations.
Don’t keep your dog on a leash once inside the park. This can make your dog feel vulnerable, and they are more likely to lash out at another animal or even a human that approaches them. The latter could lead to a costly dog bite liability claim for you.
Watch your dog’s body language. Is their tail raised, ears forward when they are playing, or are they putting their tail between their legs and holding their ears back while raising the hair on their backs? The second scenario shows signs of fear, which can lead to aggression. Many training experts will say that dog of this nature should simply not be in a dog park until after receiving behavioral modification training.
Be aware of where your dog is at all times. It’s only natural to want to socialize with other dog owners, however while doing so, you should make sure you are still aware of where your dog is, and what they are doing. This is especially true if there are children in the park that might not know your dog doesn’t like to be played with in a certain way. One of the biggest dog park dangers, and causes of dog bite liability claims, is actually kids getting injured by a dog.
At F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. ( F.I.D.O.), we understand how important your dog is to you, and how you would want to include your pet in as many activities as possible. F.I.D.O. now offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance programs that will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. It does not exclude any breed of dog and starts as low as $75 per dog, per year.