Dogs can bring immense joy to life. But, if harboring an aggressive temperament, a dog can also bring stress, legal troubles, high costs and other undesirable outcomes. As the owner, it’s your responsibility to protect others from injury by your dog. Here are some tips for keeping everyone safe and for avoiding the legal ramifications of your dog injuring someone.
Know Your Dog
Keeping your dog safe from injuring others starts with knowing the pup’s personality. Some dogs are anxious while others are territorial or aggressive. You can pinpoint the pup’s temperament by researching the breed, by understanding the dog’s background and simply by paying attention to its daily actions. By knowing the dog’s personality, you can then safeguard the pup from situations that could cause it to lash out.
If you don’t yet have a dog, but plan to buy one soon, thoroughly research the background of each breed you’re considering. Some breeds are bred to be more aggressive and territorial than others. These breeds can still be great pets, but you should recognize from the start that more work may be needed to safeguard it from injuring others.
Post a Notice
Worried about visitors being injured by your dog while on your property? Keep everyone safe and be up front about your concerns by posting notices. Effective locations for these notices include on your fence gate, the front door and around your back patio. Tailor the notice to the specific threats that your dog may pose and include a notation on how visitors should approach (or avoid) the dog.
You will still be liable if the dog injures someone after notices are posted, but the warning can help educate visitors and help them avoid an undesirable situation. In addition to posting property notices, vocalize your concerns while out and about with the pup. For example, if you take your dog for walks around the neighborhood, warn children who approach you about the dog’s temperament and ask them to stay a safe distance away from the dog.
Use a Muzzle
According to “How to Avoid Dog Bite Liability“, an effective way to safeguard your dog in public is with a muzzle. While you may hate the idea of putting a muzzle on your dog, it’s the best way to keep it from lashing out at others due to anxiety or aggression. Be sure that the muzzle you purchase is the proper size for your dog. A properly sized muzzle will stay in place and will fully cover the dog’s mouth. Use the muzzle when introducing the dog to situations you know may cause it to lash out.
Socialize Your Pup
Is your dog still a puppy? Socialize it as soon as possible. Properly socialized pups typically grow into less anxious adults and are accustomed to being in a variety of situations and environments. Socializing your pup can include structured training at a kennel, playing with several breeds of dogs, being introduced to lots of people and more.
Dog bites and other canine injuries stem from many situations. Whether your dog is highly territorial, harbors an aggressive temperament or is anxious, it’s your responsibility to prevent it from injuring others. Avoid the legal ramifications that result from your dog injuring someone by understanding the pup’s personality, by posting notices around your property and by taking other necessary actions.