Why Do Dog Bites Happen?
Dog bites are unfortunately quite common, and can cause incredibly stressful, painful, and expensive consequences. Because of this, there is a need to educate people and their children on how to avoid dog bites, particularly if they are dog owners or are looking to own a dog in the future.
It is important to understand that any dog has the capacity to bite. There are many common misconceptions about “dangerous dog” and breeds that are inherently more dangerous than other ones, but any dog can be driven to bite as a result of their training, environment, and mood. By understanding the common reasons why dogs bite, you have a much greater chance of preventing them in the future.
Protection of property is a common issue. Property can be anything from toy, food, territory or even a human being. Guard dogs and herding breeds tend to be the worst offenders but this behavior can arise in any dog. Start training early to minimize this kind of possessive behavior. Teaching the “Leave it” command works well in preventing toy aggression.
Fear is usually directed towards strangers or in unfamiliar situations. People should never approach an unfamiliar dog without discussing it with the dog’s owner first. Fear bites can occur when a dog is startled at home, so don’t sneak up on a dog or bother a sleeping dog.
Early socialization is needed for a young dog to be exposed to many different people, animals and situations minimizing the risk of a phobia developing. Make your first visit to the vet a simple social visit to get a feel for the clinic and meet the veterinary staff. Leave treats and a note in the mailbox asking your postal worker to give a treat to your puppy.
Pain can cause the friendliest dog to bite. If your dog has hip dysplasia, severe otitis or any chronic injury, be sure to stay away from the sore areas and be gentle handling the dog. If your dog becomes snippy for no reason consider pain as a possible cause and schedule an appointment with your vet for a physical.
Dog bites are always preceded by behavior that an astute observer can use as a warning and then take steps to reduce the dog’s stress or fear. Ears are typically pinned back, the fur along their back may stand up and you may be able to see the whites of their eyes.
Yawning is not an attempt by the dog to appear casual but to show off their teeth and should be considered a warning sign as well. Non-social behavior, such as freezing in response to a touch or look followed by direct intense eye contact back from the dog is another clear sign that he may bite.
Dog bite prevention begins at home, with you paying attention to your dog and being a responsible pet owner. Good training can go a long way in reducing the risk of your dog lashing out with a bite. As an extra measure, having a dog bite policy in place will ensure that even if circumstances cause your dog to bite, you will be properly covered. Our Canine Liability Insurance policy offers broad coverage for dog bite claims, and will keep you and your four-legged friend safe.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.