Hair band Great White penned a song called “Once bitten, twice shy” to describe the feeling of caution after a romantic relationship has gone south. The band could have changed many of the verses and the entire chorus to capture the feeling of caution someone has after getting bit by a dog. Although a dog bite injury can be extremely painful, victims can also experience anxiety when they are around dogs for years to come.
Once bitten, twice shy.
Nearly four and a half Americans get bitten by a canine each year, with 20 percent of the dog bite victims requiring some type of medical care. Because of their small size and often impulsive behavior, young children are especially vulnerable to dog bites. With dog bites a common issue and with children taking the brunt of the bites, how can we determine when a dog might bite a person?
The answer lies in answering the question, “Why do dogs bite.”
Canines, particularly guard and herding breeds, are highly possessive when it comes to things and territory. Possessive dogs can turn aggressive when someone approaches their food bowl.
Territorial dogs do not want anyone or any animal violating their space. Highly possessive dogs are capable of striking back by biting a person or an animal. Teaching children to leave dogs alone while they eat is a good tip to prevent a dog from turning into the canine version of Jaws.
Unfortunately, some dogs suffer from both physical and emotional scars that are caused by a rough upbringing. When a dog sees, hears, or smells something that reminds it of the unhappy days of the past, the dog might become fearful enough to bite the person that is triggering the bad feelings. Canines approached by strangers can turn fearful and if the fear becomes acute, use their sharp incisors to make a point. Veterinarians and postal carriers that encounter some dog breeds for the first time are vulnerable to receiving a dog bite because of a canine’s acute fear.
Intense pain can cause the most lovable dog breeds to bite. Pain does not have to come quickly, such as when a dog gets hit by a car. The worst dog pain stems from slowly developing medical conditions like hip dysplasia and severe otitis. Most dogs show signs of suffering from intense pain by becoming lethargic. However, the pain can become intolerable to the point that a canine uses its teeth to alert someone about the excruciating pain.
Even a well-trained female canine with a gentle disposition can turn into a ferocious biter if she has puppies nearby. Like many species of wild animals, a domesticated animal such as a dog becomes quite protective of her offspring. This is another reason why young children should learn how to act around canines and in this case, mother dogs. After a litter, keep the mother and her puppies in a place in your home where y feel safe and secure.
Most dogs love playtime, so much in fact that they bring their balls, frisbees, and other types of toys straight to their human companions. Playtime is a great time to experience the joy of raising and taking care of a dog. However, playtime can lead to rough stuff that can cause a dog to nip another person. The nip is not intentional, but as we have discovered, living in a state such as California means it does not matter if a dog bite was intentional or unintentional.
The dog owner is still legally liable even for a nip on the arm or hand.
Know the Warning Signs
Anyone who has been around different dog breeds long enough can tell when a dog is ready to bite. Some of the common signs include the pinning back of one or both ears, as well as a dog showing its teeth and making a guttural growling sound. Additional signs that a canine is ready to strike are the fur standing up on the back of a dog and seeing the whites of a canine’s eyes grow larger. Standoffish behavior such as stopping in its tracks after being touched can also indicate a dog’s immense displeasure.
Knowing the reasons why dogs bite can prevent a canine from biting you or a young child in your family. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, get in touch with an experienced dog bite lawyer.