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Why Do Dogs Bite?

Posted on: January 28th, 2022

It’s a myth to believe that some dogs bite and others don’t. Under the right circumstances, all dogs can bite. Dog psychologists will tell you that all dogs bite for a reason.

This is not the same as saying that all dog bites are provoked. Dogs may bite in situations where they don’t understand what is happening. They interpret normal, nonthreatening situations as dangerous, or they might feel that biting is a good response in a nonthreatening situation.

It is the responsibility of a dog owner to teach their dogs how to behave in different situations, monitor their dog’s behavior, and keep their dogs out of situations where they might bite. That’s why Colorado has a strict liability law for dog bite injuries. If a dog bites someone, the dog owner is responsible for the injuries that result.

Dogs Bite When They’re Afraid

scared dog that may be likely to biteMost of the time, dog bites occur because the dog is afraid. Dogs bite when they are afraid of something that gets close to them. They get overwhelmed and can lash out, intending to either warn the person or animal to keep their distance or hurt the one approaching them, forcing them to back off. Dogs can bite to create space for themselves and open an escape route.

Dogs Bite When Startled

Because dogs have good hearing and good vision, they are used to knowing what’s going on around them. If they find they are not aware of something that is happening, such as a person approaching them, they can respond by biting. This happens most when dogs are sleeping (which is why you should let sleeping dogs lie), or when older dogs start to lose their senses.

Dogs Bite When Guarding

Dogs may also bite when they perceive a threat to something they value. This can be something as trivial as a toy, or it might be food, space, or even a person they value. Dogs can respond to people playing or talking with their master by biting if they think their master is in danger.

Dogs Bite When in Pain

A dog that is sick or injured can be more likely to bite. The situation is scary for the dog, who might not understand what is happening to them. This makes them more likely to lash out in situations that they would normally tolerate just fine.

Dogs Bite When They Play

It’s common for dogs to bite when they play. Roughhousing is one of the ways that some dogs like to play, and they might not realize how much injury they cause. This is especially true of big dogs who might also enjoy the dominant feeling they get from bullying smaller dogs and people.

Owners Need to Keep Dogs Out of Situations Where They Will Bite

vicious dog on a leash to protect against a dog bite attackAs a dog owner, it’s important for you to keep your dog out of situations where they are likely to bite. Be aware of what things frighten your dog, and either keep the dog away or warn people if they’re scaring the dog. Know the things your dog feels guarding behavior towards, and caution people about behaviors that might provoke this response. If your dog is sick or hurt, consider avoiding socialization until they feel more themselves.

Don’t roughhouse with your dog in ways that encourage biting. Teach your dog how to play appropriately, especially with smaller people and animals.

Most importantly, always keep your dog under control, whether that means verbal commands, leash, or confinement away from people they might bite.

If You’ve Been Bitten, You Likely Deserve Compensation

Saying that dogs always bite for a reason is not the same as saying dogs only bite when provoked or teased. It means that even previously non-aggressive dogs can bite in certain situations.

Because dogs always bite for a reason, these situations are predictable, and a dog owner can and should take steps to avoid biting situations. That’s why dog owners have strict liability when their dog bites someone.

If you have been bitten by a dog, don’t let the owner tell you, “My dog isn’t a biter, it’s your fault you were bitten.” The truth is that in most cases, the dog owner is liable for injuries caused by their dog, and they should compensate you for related medical expenses, including reconstructive surgery for disfiguring injuries and counseling for trauma.

At Puschchak Law, we are determined to ensure our clients receive the full compensation they deserve for their injuries. Mr. Pushchak can help you understand what compensation you are due for current and future medical bills. Then he can help you decide how to proceed. You can even reach us personally if you have additional questions. This is what we call our Informed Decisions™ approach, and it sets us apart from other Denver dog bite lawyers.

To learn how our approach can help you, please call 303-372-6145 or use our online form today to schedule a free consultation about your dog bite injuries.

Brian Pushchak | Personal Injury Law Firm Denver, CO
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