According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Almost 20 percent of these bites need immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, the rate of dog bites is higher among children compared to adults.
Every dog has the potential to bite. In fact, most dog bites occur when playing with familiar dogs. Dog bites often result in serious physical injuries. Most victims, however, are emotionally scarred for life, especially children. Understanding what causes this aggressive behavior may help you prevent such incidents.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Biting is a common behavior among domesticated canines. Dogs usually bite as a result of aggression. A variety of factors, including fear, physical pain, protectiveness, frustration, and territorial behavior may trigger aggression.
Usually, it is the people not known to the dog who become victims of this type of aggression because dogs are scared of potentially unfamiliar people and situations. For example, a dog raised in an adult household may behave aggressively around children. However, dogs attack a person if they think it's the only recourse.
b. Pain-Induced Aggression
When in pain, even an otherwise friendly and docile dog can behave aggressively. This type of aggression almost always results in a serious dog bite. All dog breeds are equally prone to pain-induced aggression. So, be careful around injured or ill canines.
c. Territorial Aggression
Just like their stray counterparts, pet dogs are also highly territorial. They defend their area (pet owner's house) from intruders. Several guarding and herding breeds are well-known for their territorial aggression.These may include German Shepherds, Mastiffs, Pit bulls, and Rottweilers among others.
d. Protective Aggression
Most canines have a strong inclination to protect their own belongings. Pet dogs are no exception to this behavior. They often try to protect their valuables such as toys, food, offspring, or even a family member. In fact, dogs are known to even protect one family member from another. Sometimes, the protective instinct is so strong that it causes unwanted aggression toward strangers, often resulting in an unfriendly growl or even a bite.
Just like humans, dogs also lash out at others when they feel frustrated. Canines often feel frustrated if they are isolated or controlled beyond limits. For example, a frustrated dog may bite the hand holding its leash if it is not allowed to chase after fast-moving objects such as bikes or small animals.
2. How to Prevent Dog Bites?
Understanding the dog's body language is probably the best way to prevent dog bites. Adults, as well as children, should be educated about the proper way to behave around dogs.
Startled or frightened canines are more likely to bite a person. So, tell your children to stay away from any dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. Never approach an unfamiliar dog without asking for permission from the owner and avoid direct eye contact with the animal. Back down immediately if you think it appears restless, scared, or aggressive. Don't play contentious games such as wrestling or tug of war with your pooch, as it may encourage aggressive behavior.
Training your dog is a good way to prevent it from biting. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to teach your dog to respond to basic commands such as fetch, sit, stay, come, stop, and leave it. Start training your pooch as early as possible. Learn to control your dog around strangers. Socializing him/her can help him/her remain docile and calm in unfamiliar situations. Be sure to expose your pooch to different people and animals at an early age.
Pet owners also need to fulfill basic animal care responsibilities. So, make sure to vaccinate your dog regularly for rabies and other diseases. Spaying or neutering your dog can help to reduce its aggressive behavior. Consult with your veterinarian if your pooch shows any signs of extreme aggression.
3. Why Preventing Dog Bites Is Necessary?
When a pet dog bites someone, the dog owner may have to face serious legal consequences, including jail time or a fine. Whether or not your state follows the one bite rule, dog owners are liable for medical costs, lost wages, and punitive damages to the victims.
Most dog bite victims sustain serious physical injuries, not to mention psychological trauma. Fortunately, most state dog bite laws allow them to recover damages for their injuries, pain, and suffering. Dog bite law is a combination of state statutes, local laws, and the English common law. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the administrative, civil, and criminal laws in the particular jurisdiction to determine the legal rights of the victim. Thus, a dog attack victim in Gettysburg stands a better chance of getting maximum compensation if he/she hires qualified and experienced Pennsylvania dog bite lawyers.
Dog bites are a common occurrence in the United States. Even the most docile and friendly dogs can bite, inflicting severe physical injuries and emotional stress. Most dog attacks, however, are preventable. Educating yourself and your children about dog behavior is, perhaps, the best way to prevent dog bites. This post will help you accomplish this goal.