Dog owners are subject to lawsuits whenever their pet bites a person, but you should check that your homeowners insurance policies will cover your liability if someone is bitten and injured by your dog. Dog owners must review their homeowners policies to make sure that they have protection against canine-inflicted injuries – and should not purchase insurance polices that exclude it. Also, depending on the type of dog you have, a homeowners policy may exclude coverage.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates dogs bite 4.5 million people each year, the majority of whom are children. To help prevent children from being bitten by dogs, teach the following basic safety tips and review them regularly:
Do not run from a dog or scream.
Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still.
Do not pet, or play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
Avoid direct eye contact with an unfamiliar dog.
Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.
Ways to prevent a dog from biting
Spaying or neutering a dog is an important and routine procedure that will reduce the dog’s desire to roam and fight with other dogs. Spayed or neutered dogs are also much less likely to bite. Introducing a pet to many different types of people, and situations, reduces nervous or frightened behavior under normal social circumstances.
Teach the dog appropriate behavior. Don’t teach the dog to chase after or attack others, even in fun. A dog can’t always understand the difference between play and real-life situations. Set appropriate limits for the dog’s behavior. The first time he exhibits dangerous behavior toward any person, seek professional help from a veterinarian, an animal behaviorist, or a qualified dog trainer.
Seek help from a professional trainer
Taking a dog to training classes is an excellent way to socialize him and to learn proper training techniques. Note that training classes are a great investment even for experienced dog caregivers.
Agencies such as a community animal care and control agency, or humane society, may also offer helpful services. Dangerous behavior toward other animals may eventually lead to dangerous behavior toward people, and is also a reason to seek professional help.
Provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations for everyone’s safety. Don’t allow the dog to roam alone, treat him or her like a member of the family. Dogs that spend a great deal of time alone in the backyard or tied on a chain often become dangerous.
Dogs that are well socialized and supervised are much less likely to bite. And in the event that a family dog does intentionally or unintentionally bite someone, remember to have adequate homeowners insurance that includes protection in this event.