Your dog is a part of your family; they’re not just a pet. This can sometimes blind us from the potential liability dog ownership can bring. Unfortunately, even the most well-behaved pups can cause an accident. Something as simple as a playful nip or digging holes outside of your property line can cause time-consuming and costly litigations – not to mention irreparable damage. Here are our top tips for preventing your dog from hurting someone or causing damage to property.
Socialize your dog early and often
Socializing your dog is a great way to prevent aggressive traits early on. It will help build confidence in fido, which will allow them to experience new environments with ease. Be sure always to use a leash when taking your pet out in public so you can have full control over any situation.
Emulate the behaviors of responsible dog owners
Being a responsible pet owner takes education, time, and patience, but it’s the key component to reducing the risk of accidents occurring. Taking the time to research which breed of dogs are best for your family, conducting proper training, regular exercise, and fixing your pet early are great measures to practice.
Educate your family or visitors on how to approach and handle your pets
Now that you have done your research, you’ll now want to share these best practices with your friends and family members who will be around your new pet. This step is especially crucial for children.
Avoid risky situations with your dog
It’s essential to know how to avoid escalating risky situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, you should avoid petting or approaching a dog in these scenarios:
- If the dog is not with its owner
- When a dog is with its owner, but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog
- If the dog is on the other side of a fence—don’t reach through or over a fence to pet a dog
- Sleeping or eating dogs
- Sick or injured dogs
- If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence
- When a dog is playing with their toys
- If a dog is growling or barking
- If they appear to be hiding or seeking time alone
Pay attention to your dog’s behavior
A dog wagging its tail is not always a sign they’re happy! Just like people, dogs give off signals to let you know they are uncomfortable in a situation. Growling and whining are the most vocal signs, but there are many others that can warn you. Look for changes in their eyes, ears, tails, or posture. Urination and panting can also be a good indication it’s time to separate them from the situation they’re in. Learn about and listen to cues they give to prevent escalation.
Never leave your children alone with your dog
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. About 885,000 require medical attention for these injuries; around half of these are children. This is why you should never leave your child unattended – no matter how loyal your furry friend is.
Consider professional training if a problem persists
There’s no need to walk your journey through pet ownership alone. Consult with your vet to see if there are any local trainers they recommend. Getting some outside assistance can be an effective way to learn methods to manage your pup’s behaviors before it becomes a more costly problem for you. Before your training is complete, don’t be afraid to utilize muzzles while in public, especially for anxious dogs.
Insure yourself with Canine Liability Coverage
Unfortunately, K-9 Liability Incidents aren’t usually covered under your regular homeowner’s policy. But do not worry, coverage can be added for a nominal amount of money. Because even the most well-behaved dogs can act irrationally when presented with new environments or triggers, we recommend all pet owners carry this crucial coverage. Speak with one of our agents today to see how you can benefit from obtaining K-9 Liability Insurance.
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