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Why Dogs Bite - Understand the Warning Signs

Recovering from a dog bite is a long and painful road. Many times the emotional pain can outweigh the physical injuries. Call our experienced dog bite attorneys for a free consultation. You may be entitled to monetary rewards including pain and suffering. Call 1-800-561-4887.

There are a number of reasons why dogs bite. They may bite due to fear, to protect their territory, or to establish power or dominance over the person being bitten. Certain dog owners mistakenly teach their dogs that biting is an acceptable form of play behavior. Responsible dog ownership is critical when it comes to preventing dog bites. Many aspects of responsible dog ownership such as proper socialization, supervision, humane training, sterilization, and safe confinement-are necessary to prevent dogs from biting.

Here are some of the most common reasons why a dog may bite:

  • The dog is protecting a possession such as food or puppies.
  • The individual has done something to provoke or frighten the dog such as hugging, moving into the dog's personal space, leaning or stepping over the dog or attempting to take something from the dog.
  • The dog is scared, hungry, injured or sick.
  • The dog has not learned bite inhibition and bites hard by accident when it is offered a food or toy.
  • The dog views an individual or a child as "prey" because he or she is running or screaming near the dog.

Understanding the Warning Signs

It is important to know and understand the common triggers that cause dog bites so you can help avoid these types of dangerous situations. Dog bites are always followed by behavior on the part of a dog that an astute observer can use as warning signs and then take steps to reduce the dog's stress or fear and therefore, the likehood of an attack.

When a dog is about to attack, its ears are typically pinned back. The fur along the animal's back may stand up and you may even be able to see the whites of their eyes. When a dog appears to be yawning, it is actually showing off its teeth. This should certainly be viewed as a warning sign. Non-social and stand-offish behavior such as freezing in response to a touch or look followed by direct, intense eye contact back from the dog, is yet another clear sign that he may bite.

How to Prevent Dog Bites

Dog owners have a responsibility and a legal obligation to prevent their dogs from biting. If you are a dog owner and don't intend to breed your dog, then, having it spayed or neutered will help decrease the risk of bite-related behaviors. Owners should also play and exercise with their dogs on a regular basis to help them expend excess energy that might otherwise be redirected toward nervousness or aggression. Do not indulge in rough play with your dog. Don't wrestle with your dog or play tug-of-war, which can lead to issues with dominance.

  • Do take your dog to training school. Dogs should know basic commands such as sit, stay, come and leave it.
  • Don't allow your dog to roam free in areas where they can be a danger to other people. Use a leash in public places.
  • Do try to socialize your dog and expose it to many different people and situations.
  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date.
  • If your dog shows signs of aggression, seek professional help from your veterinarian.
  • If you have children, take the time to educate them about how to behave around dogs, what to watch for and how to react if a dog attacks.

Which Dogs Bite

In the United States, the list of top breeds involved in both bite injuries and fatalities changes from year to year and from one area of the country to another, depending on the popularity of the breed. However, several studies and surveys have shown consistently that pit bulls and rottweilers are involved in a disproportionately high number of dog attacks that result in serious injuries and deaths.

Although genetics do play some part in determining whether a dog will bite, factors such as whether the dog is spayed or neutered, properly socialized, supervised, humanely trained, and safely confined play significantly greater roles. Responsible dog ownership of all breeds is the key to dog bite prevention.

Seeking Legal Help After a Dog Bite

Being attacked or bitten by a dog can be very traumatic, especially for children. Many dog bite victims have spent years trying to overcome the fear of being attacked again. Most dog bite lawyers understand that there is an emotional layer to dog bite cases and clients have a long road to recovery, both physically and emotionally. If you've been attacked by a dog and sustained injuries you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately to secure your rights. If you'd like more information please contact our office for a free consultation. Call 1-800-561-4887.

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