Being a dog owner requires a high level of responsibility. Not only do you need to ensure that your pet is adequately fed, watered, groomed, and is in good health, you must also train your dog to behave well in a variety of situations. Although you can never truly be certain that your dog will never attack or bite someone else, being proactive can reduce the chances that your dog will harm another person. Here’s how you can help keep your dog from biting you, a member of your family, a friend, or even a stranger.
Statistics show that unneutered male dogs are the most likely to attack a person. However, female dogs who are not spayed are also highly likely to bite. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog is spayed or neutered at the appropriate age.
When you take your puppy or adopted dog into the vet for their first examination, discuss spaying or neutering your pet with the veterinarian. Your veterinarian will make a recommendation on when to neuter or spay your dog and can help you set up an appointment for the procedure.
Socialization is critical for dogs, especially those who will be around small children. Start socializing your dog as soon as possible, since socialization is most effective when it occurs when the dog is young. Expose your dog at an early age to a variety of situations, including being walked at the park with other dogs and children, being over at a friend’s house, having people over to your home, and other normal social situations.
By ensuring that your dog is comfortable in many different social scenarios, you can reduce the chances that your dog will become frightened or aggressive when they are exposed to these situations later on in their life.
Consistent training is another must for responsible dog ownership. Whether you choose to train your dog yourself or have your dog enrolled in professional training, it is important that your pup understand basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “no,” “heel,” and more. When your dog learns to obey your commands without question and in any situation, you can reduce the risk that your dog will attack when he begins to show discomfort or aggression.
Massachusetts is a strict liability state, meaning that if your dog attacks, bites, or otherwise injures another person, you will be held liable for the resulting damages. If your dog has bitten or attacked another person, it is critical that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible.
For more information take a look at our Dog Bite Resources page