Dog Bite Liability: Introducing a Second Dog into Your Home
If you are the owner of multiple dogs, you likely already know that this can come with challenges. Sometimes, “sibling” dogs simply just don’t get along. Not only do you run the risk of them potentially hurting each other in a scuffle, but there is also the risk of a member of your family or even a guest getting caught in the middle, thus creating a dog bite liability exposure.
If you only have one dog, but are considering a second dog, there are many factors to consider. For example, breed is a big indicator of how they will get along. Female Wheaten Terriers, for instance, are incredibly friendly with people (including kids) and most other dogs, but often show dog aggression towards each other. It’s a good idea to research the breed of dog you will be adding to the home before you buy or adopt them, to reduce your dog bite liability risks.
So how exactly does one go about introducing a second dog into their home? First off, before getting to this step it’s important to assess the body language of both dogs. If your dog has a relaxed overall appearance including open mouth, neutral tail position, natural ear position, and seems to want to sniff and interact without showing aggression, chances are bringing in a new dog won’t be a problem. But you’ll have to assess the new dog as well. If they carry their body stiffly when around other dogs, act submissive and fearful, or try to hide when around other animals, the introduction should be a slow one.
The key to successfully introducing a new dog to your home is not rushing it. While highly social dogs may instantly ready to become best friends, some need time to determine that the new dog is not a threat. When they first meet, make sure there are no “trigger” items around… in other words, nothing that either dog will become territorial over such as food, toys, bones, etc. It may even be a good idea to walk them together outside before bringing the new dog into the house.
Be sure to watch how your dogs are interacting, and step in only if it’s safe. If you have other family members or guests present, they should not step in if the dogs begin to fight. It’s often instinct to do so, however dog bite liability claims often happen due to this. One last think to keep in mind is that sometimes dogs will get along better if they know they have a solo retreat to go to, such as their own crate or dog house that is in another room or section of the yard.
Adding a second dog to your home can be an exciting venture, but it’s important to do this in the right way. F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. (FIDO), we now offer 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.