Any dog has the potential to bite someone. Their teeth and jaws are their primary defense mechanism. Dog owners have a social responsibility to prevent their pets from injuring other people. Some dog attacks create legal liability for the victims in damages. In 2019, 17,802 insurance claims involved dog bites nationwide. Every year, Nevada personal injury attorneys help victims pursue compensation for dog bites. For this reason, you have a compelling interest in training your dog not to bite.

Why Dogs Bite

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Dogs will have a reason behind their aggressive actions.

They bite because of:

  • Fear or anxiety
  • Desire to protect
  • Anger at having territory violated
  • Sickness or pain

Poor socialization leaves puppies and dogs vulnerable to feeling afraid when they enter new situations, or new people enter their homes or territories. They have not learned how to accept stimuli outside of their normal daily routines.

Protective reactions can occur due to poor socialization or if a dog interprets something as a threat. A dog might bite someone entering a property, like a delivery person, because of an innate drive to defend territory. Dogs that bite visitors can feel like they are protecting the family from intruders.

Angry reactions can arise if someone approaches a dog’s bowl or touches favorite toys. Small children may provoke a dog by hitting, kicking, or pulling fur.

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A dog that is sick or in pain is under stress. Illness and pain make a dog feel vulnerable and therefore inclined to lash out in fear.

Understanding the situations that stress dogs out will help you train the dog not to bite. Being proactive could prevent your dog from biting someone who might then hire a personal injury lawyer.

Learn Dog Body Language

Dogs usually exhibit warning signs before they attack. When you know how to spot trouble, you can intervene before someone gets hurt. Never assume that your dog will be good, especially if the animal:

  • Lays back ears flat
  • Bares teeth
  • Lowers head
  • Lifts fur along the back
  • Growls
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All of these behaviors signal fear or anger in a dog. Do not punish these behaviors when they occur. For example, if you punish a dog for growling, it may learn not to growl, and then an attack might occur without any warning.

Instead, you should heed the message that the dog is sending. Calmly separate the animal by putting it in the yard, a crate, garage, or other room. Do not let a dog showing signs of aggression play with children.

Your next priority will be to address these behaviors through training. Otherwise, a dog that continually displays aggressive behavior might be viewed as vicious. Las Vegas injury attorneys look for a history of aggression when representing dog bite victims.

Puppy Training

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time. You should begin socialization immediately by:

  • Taking the puppy for walks in the neighborhood
  • Taking the puppy to parks
  • Taking the puppy for car rides
  • Introducing the puppy to visitors to your home

This allows the dog to view new places and people as normal. Good socialization prepares the dog to greet the world with a calm and open attitude instead of seeing everything as threatening.

During these early weeks, you also need to teach bite inhibition. Puppies naturally bite and chew everything. It is how they play and explore. However, they must learn not to bite people.

When your puppy bites you or grabs you with teeth without applying force, halt the interaction immediately. Place the puppy in a crate or time-out area. The goal is to teach that biting means playtime ends immediately. Never hit or yell at the puppy. A puppy could interpret this as rough play and like it or get scared and react with more aggression.

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When a puppy plays nice, reward the dog with praise or favorite treats. This teaches which behaviors are acceptable. Positive reinforcement with treats, love, and toys is always the best policy.

Also, keep in mind that proper exercise is essential for raising a happy puppy. Puppies have loads of energy and need to be active. Otherwise, their pent-up energy could translate into bad behavior. This same advice applies to adult dogs.

Adult Dog Training

An adult dog with poor social skills is not necessarily a lost cause. Despite the old saying, you probably can teach an old dog new tricks. The effort will be worthwhile. You could spare your dog and yourself from becoming involved in a legal case led by a personal injury lawyer.

To resolve aggression in an adult dog:

  • Visit a vet to learn if any health problems are upsetting the dog
  • Consider spaying or neutering if it has not been done already
  • Provide regular exercise
  • Correct negative behavior by stopping interaction and putting the dog in time out
  • Use treats and praise to positively reinforce good behavior

As you can see, training an adult dog is very similar to training a puppy. However, you may need to have a dog wear a muzzle out in public or when you have visitors. The extra protection will prevent bad things from happening while you work to improve the dog’s behavior.

You should keep an adult dog that you cannot trust separate from visitors. This could mean putting the dog in a fenced yard or kennel when you have guests. Placing the dog in a crate or behind a baby gate in another room may suffice. It is far better to accept that a dog has social challenges than to ignore them and let someone get bit.

Professional Training

People often succeed in reforming a dog and avoiding interactions with Las Vegas injury attorneys. If you’re not making good progress, you should seek out a professional dog trainer. Professionals can work wonders with dogs, even ones with a bad history. Their advice will help you move forward with an understanding of what is triggering aggression so that you can avoid it in the future.

Legal Help For Victims of Dog Bites

When the worst happens and a dog attacks, the victim may suffer bad injuries, like torn flesh, deep puncture wounds, or crushed finger bones. Dog bites are very painful and traumatic, especially for small children. When Nevada personal injury attorneys represent victims, they check if the dog owner’s homeowners insurance will cover the medical expenses. The personal assets of a dog owner may also be directed toward victims when a legal case succeeds. Talk to us at Moss Berg Injury Lawyers if you have financial losses after suffering a dog bite. We offer free consultations.

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