As much as we like to think of our dogs as loyal and affectionate bundles of love, they do sometimes bite. We’re not saying that they do this all the time. Statistically speaking, it’s an unlikely occurrence.
There are currently about 90 million dogs in the United States. Every year, approximately 4.5 million dog bites get reported. This shows that most dogs don’t bite. Unfortunately, about half of the reported dog bites involve small children between 5 and 9.
Somewhere at the back of your mind, you’ll worry about your dog biting someone. You’ve seen them get aggressive during playtime or when they hear noises they’re not familiar with. You start thinking about the legal ramifications and if your beloved pet might be taken away from you as a consequence.
According to Mike Morse Personal Injury Lawyers in Michigan, dog owners are responsible for damages caused by their dogs and can be sued for compensation and even serve up to 4 years in prison as a result of serious injury caused by biting. Liability for dog bite injuries differs from one state to another, so it’s important to learn more about the specifics for your state.
Still, dog bites can be prevented as long as you understand why they happen and how to keep yourself and others safe around your dog.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
No matter how nice and loveable they are, dogs are animals with animal instincts. If they growl or bite, it usually happens because they feel threatened by something.
They could become aggressive and bite as a way of defending themselves, their territory or their puppies.
They can also bite because they’re startled by something. For example, if they’re focused on something and then someone approaches them from behind which they didn’t expect, they might run, but they might also turn around and bite. Kids get bitten more often in part because they make sudden movements or otherwise behave in ways that the dog did not anticipate.
Lastly, when dogs are in pain because they’re sick or injured, they can also become more aggressive and bite anyone that approaches them, even members of their household.
How to Prevent Dog Bites
To prevent dog bites, you need to, first of all, but your dog through basic training. It’s also very important that you socialize your dog starting from when they are a puppy to get them used to loud noises, cars, bicycles, other animals and people – pretty much anything that might cause them to get scared and become aggressive.
If you got your dog as an adult and they don’t seem to be well socialized, it’s best to take them to a professional trainer who can also help you learn how to socialize them slowly and safely.
Another important aspect is to learn your dog’s body language, so you know what to watch out for when you’re around other people and remove them from a situation if they’re showing sign of aggression building up.
When they’re in the back or front yard, make sure the area is well fenced so they can’t get out. Dogs are very territorial and can become aggressive and bite someone if they manage to get out. While walking them, keep them on a short leash and only let them off the leash in permitted areas and only if it looks safe.