Advice for Curbing Aggressive Dogs : Why Dogs Bite

barking dog

No dog is perfectly behaved 100% of the time, but constant aggression can be problematic and even dangerous. Watch this video from UC Davis to learn how veterinarians counsel pet owners on handling aggressive dogs.

Medical problems in pet dogs can often lead to behavioral issues, such as aggression. If a dog appears physically healthy, the owner is taught behavioral modification techniques, including giving commands and rewarding desirable actions with treats—this plan of action is often very effective in calming aggression.

Why Dogs Bite

Although dogs can be loving companions to humans, they are still animals that tend to act upon instinct when upset. Biting is a natural way for dogs to defend themselves against each other, but can seriously injure a human. By better understanding the reasons why dogs bite, you can protect yourself and your family against personal injury.

  • Dominance

Because dogs are pack animals with a social hierarchy, if an owner does not enforce his or her position as master through proper training, a dog may feel that it is in charge and act aggressively in everyday situations. This trait is more common among unneutered males.

  • Fear

Animals that have been abused or improperly socialized may bite out of fear when they feel they are being threatened. A fearful dog can interpret sudden gestures as intending harm and, if unable or disinclined to run away, may lash out by biting.

  • Territorialism

Dogs can be very protective of their property, which may include their homes, the outdoor areas where they are accustomed to walking, their toys, and even certain family members. Without the proper training, a dog may feel that it is acceptable to bite a person in order to defend its territory.

  • Taunting

Even a normally mild-mannered dog may be pushed past its limits when teased or bothered. For this reason, it is important to teach children how to approach and pet dogs, and to avoid coming close to injured animals.

  • Redirected Aggression

When a dog cannot retaliate against a person, animal, or situation that is upsetting it, it may lash out at those nearby. Bites may also occur when a human attempts to break up a dog fight by grabbing at the agitated animals.

The Dangers of Unleashed Dogs

Texas has strict laws mandating the use of leashes for dogs on city streets. Though some dog owners feel these laws are overly restrictive or unfair, they are grounded in very real concerns for avoiding danger and injury to both humans and other animals. Read on to learn about some of the possible dangers of unleashed dogs.

  • Injuries to humans: Above all, the foremost danger of an unleashed dog is the possibility that it can attack people. With no restraint of any kind, dogs are free to interact with humans as they choose, and dogs may view people approaching them as a challenge for dominance, leading to a violent altercation and serious injury. Additionally, off-leash dogs are even more dangerous because they can chase anyone who tries to escape them. Unleashed dogs have been known to follow victims and continue to attack them as they try to leave.
  • Dangers to other animals. Off-leash dogs can approach dogs, cats, or other animals that they find, and they may fight with them or injure them. Owners whose dogs attack other pets may find themselves responsible for the vet bills that result. Dogs that are unleashed may also experience injury themselves—many owners keep their dogs leashed because they are aggressive and will attack others, but cannot stop unleashed dogs from approaching.
  • Car accidents. On busy city streets, dogs that run in front of cars may be killed. Unleashed dogs may also be the cause of car accidents as conscientious drivers try to avoid them and collide with other vehicles, leading to injury. Both of these outcomes can be avoided simply by keeping the dog on a leash.

Getting Compensation for Suffering a Dog Bite

Unleashed dogs of any breed can cause injury, property damage, and tragic events. Texas’ liability statutes hold dog owners to a standard of strict liability, meaning that they are always responsible for any injuries their dog inflicts, even if they did not in any way cause the injury. However, if the bite victim was provoking the dog or trespassing on private property, the owner may not be responsible for injuries. Barring these factors, dog owners in Illinois are responsible for bites inflicted by their pets.

Obtaining Compensation

In light of Texas statutes, it is vital that victims of dog bites show that they did not provoke the dog or trespass. Victims may wish to take pictures of the scene and their injuries to illustrate what took place, as these could prove to an insurance company that they are innocent and deserve compensation. Types of compensation that may be available include:

  • Medical bills. Any medical bills related to the dog bite, including future medical treatment that may be required, may be eligible for compensation from the responsible party.
  • Lost wages. If the victim had to miss work to receive medical treatment, these losses can be compensated.
  • Pain and suffering. Dog bites are very painful injuries, and they can have serious emotional consequences on the victim. In some cases, these costs may also be eligible for compensation.
  • Disfigurement. Sadly, many dog bites can lead to severe scarring, especially on the face. Scarring or disfigurement can seriously affect a victim’s quality of life, and compensation may be available.