Most dogs like to tussle and wrestle, and some humans even like to join in. Unfortunately, however, these activities can go too far and nice dogs who play rough can become dangerous dogs. To protect yourself from a dog attack, understand this transition and some of the signs that indicate when a dog might attack.
When you’re a dog owner, it’s also important to know when rough play can turn dangerous so that you can protect yourself from a legal perspective. If your dog ends up hurting someone, you may become liable. Check out these tips to better understand your pet and protect those around it.
Use Toys When Playing with Dogs
Many humans like to join their dogs while roughhousing, and that’s perfectly fine. But you need to make sure that you’re not creating bad habits. If you do a lot of wrestling with your body, that can make a dog think it’s okay to bite or nip body parts. When dogs play with each other, they often give gentle bites; while that may be safe for a dog, human skin might not be able to handle those bites. Instead, use toys; tug-of-war ropes in particular can be fun.
Like humans, dogs can get overstimulated. When emotions run high, dogs become more likely to attack. When playing with your dog, take a break once in a while. Send your dog to their kennel for some quiet time or tell them to lie down on their dog bed. That can help them to decompress and avoid undesirable behavior.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Spaying or neutering your dog is critical to help nip behavioral problems in the bud. Unneutered male dogs are most likely to attack, especially older male dogs who have not yet been snipped. Additionally, spaying and neutering helps control the pet population and reduce the number of potentially dangerous dogs on the street. A female dog can have two or more litters per year with approximately six to ten pups per litter — that’s anywhere from 12 to 20 puppies over a one-year time period.
Know the Signs of Aggressive Dogs
When dealing with your own dog, you can easily implement all the above tips through understanding your pet and properly training it. But with other people’s dogs, you can’t control how they’re trained. If you know that your friend, relative, or neighbor has a poorly trained dog or a dog that likes to play rough, you should be aware that things can go sour. To protect yourself, watch for the following signs of an aggressive dog:
- Exposing their teeth
- Using low-pitched growls
- Yelping while playing with other dogs
Similarly, if you own a dog, you should understand these signals so you can stop your dog from getting out of control. Keep in mind that a lot of playing can look rough. Naturally, dogs chase and tackle each other. They may slam other dogs to the ground and even hold down other dogs by the neck. A lot of this behavior overlaps with rough behavior, and it can be hard to know when to be concerned.
If you watch carefully, though, there are signs that indicate it’s all just in fun. Dogs rotate submissive behavior with aggressive behavior when they’re playing. They may do all the things listed above, but then, they may also roll onto their backs to give the other dog a competitive advantage. According to a study from the University of Colorado, dogs do a slight “bow” to their playmate before engaging in a very aggressive behavior, but when it’s not play, the dogs are more likely to just lunge into the action.
Get Help Before It’s Too Late
If you believe that a dog you deal with is too aggressive, set firm boundaries. Don’t spend time with that dog or insist that it be kenneled when you are around. For instance, if you clean a house where there’s an aggressive dog, you have a right not to be exposed to that dog. On the other hand, if you think that your dog is too aggressive, you should seek help. Enroll them into obedience training or contact a dog behavioral specialist.
Unfortunately, in some situations, nice dogs turn rough before you have a chance to stop it. If you have been attacked by a dog, you need a dog bite attorney who can fight for your rights. Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today for a free case evaluation.