Dog bites are a traumatic experience for everyone involved. If your dog bites someone, they’re injured and you’re liable for damages. If your pet bites another animal, you could be sued for damages, and the owner could be traumatized, too. Keep your family safe with these dog bite prevention tips.
Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Always have your dog on a leash, if you’re outside of your home or a fenced yard. Fail to do this, and you are responsible if your “always sweet” dog runs over and bites a leashed barking dog or runs into traffic. Don’t excuse a dog that’s aggressively growling or barking. Either calm down the animal and socialize it to the situation or remove the animal. For example, you could be liable if you refuse to teach your dog to be patient around young children and let it come into contact with them.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog or you’re being sued for your dog’s behavior, hire an experienced dog bite attorney.
Don’t Abuse the Dog
Abused animals are more likely to bite. If you’re beating the dog, it is more likely to bite someone than a non-traumatized animal. If the animal is chronically hungry, it is more likely to bite someone, too. Never train the dog to fight other dogs, because you’re ensuring that it will bite other animals. This is separate from training a dog to defend your home. The dog shouldn’t attack anyone unless you call for it or the person is forcibly entering your home. A well-trained dog will know the difference between a friendly visitor and a criminal breaking in at 2 AM.
We’ve mentioned socialization, but we’re going to go into greater depth here. Your dog should be exposed to a wide range of stimuli so that they can deal with it without over-reacting. For example, your dog should be exposed to the sound of vacuum cleaners, calmed down and reassured so that they don’t run and hide or try to attack it. You need to do the same with a wide variety of people. Expose your pets to young children even if you don’t have kids yourself. Then they won’t instinctively bite a toddler reaching out for them. Take your dog to visit older adults, so that they know how to deal with motorized wheelchairs and walkers.
Socialization goes both ways. Teach young children that not all dogs are friendly, even if their tail is wagging or crouching. Teach neighborhood children not to tease dogs. Inform others when the dog is a trained guard animal instead of a friendly family pet. If you have a new baby, give the dog supervised time to get accustomed to the crying, pooping bundle of joy.
Pay Attention to Body Language
An aggressive dog will try to look bigger. Their hair may go up on their back, and the tail generally goes up. The aggressive or angry dog will growl and bare its teeth, though it may bark. If you see this body language in your dog, leash them if not already leashed, and then remove them from the situation.
A scared dog may bite, too. They may shrink back from the person or item they’re scared of. In this case, you have two options. You can try to remove your dog from the situation. Or you can try to console them. If the dog calms down after you reassure it, you can try to socialize them to the stranger or the strange item.