Every time we speak to the owner of a dog which has injured one of our clients we hear the same thing: "This was a complete surprise to us. We never knew [insert name of dog here] was dangerous." But more often then not the warning signs were there and if responsible owners took action earlier it could avoid many of the horrific injuries that we have to deal with every day. Michael Chill, owner of US based Animal Services Dog Training and Behaviour, offers four tips which he states all responsible dog owners should take heed of if they want to ensure both their dog and those it encounters are kept happy. 1. First and foremost, owners don't be in denial.
"If you adopt a dog with an aggressive history or the dog reveals aggressive tendencies, be practical, pragmatic and realistic. Are you responsible enough to keep that dog out of trouble and keep other pets and people safe?"
2. If the dog is a breed with aggressive or assertive tendencies be careful of the games you play with it. Don't play something like tug of war as this allows a dog to Don't let breeds with assertive or aggressive tendencies play games like tug of war as these allow the dog to challenge and win. Avoid, "fence fighting" where you dog sits one side of the fence and is constantly teased and taunted by other dogs walking by. 3. Understand that while you might actually be unable to change the dog's aggressive tendencies, they can be mitigated by making changes to their environment. If the dog instigates altercations, don't take it to a dog park, ever. If the dog doesn't like strangers then lock the dog away when strangers are near. Don't put the dog in circumstances where it can repeat the behavior. Doing so is just asking for trouble. 4. Take the dog to a vet. Aggression can be caused by certain physical problems. Sometimes curing these can cure the aggressive behaviour. Says Chill:
If a dog's aggressive behavior comes from a learned situation, you have a better chance of lessening or even possibly eradicating the tendencies. If it's innate to the breed, you'll have to handle it environmentally to keep both the public and other animals safe. And that means no off leash parks – no matter how sweet your dog seems to be.
Dog bite solicitor James McNally says:
It is very hard to disagree with anything MIchael has said. If responsible dog owners accepted that there may be a problem and didn't just view acts of aggression as "one off events" I am certain that by being proactive and taking the necessary steps it would avoid many of the horrific injuries that our clients suffer.
If you do want to discuss a dog bite injury claim please contact us now on our freephone number 0808 139 1601