Getting a new dog is like adding a new member to the family. It is meant to be exciting but for some, it can be a moment of horror. It is not just animals from the pound or rescue centers that are at high-risk for attacks – in fact, numerous attacks have happened from dogs that were bred by reputable breeders. While you can never guarantee your dog will never viciously attack or bite someone, there are things you can do to limit your risk before and after you get your new pet.
Things to do Before You Get a Dog
- Do not purchase a dog from a pet store. These animals are usually bred in “puppy mills” and large-scale breeding facilities. The dogs are often malnourished, mistreated and can even be anti-social. Because of these conditions, a dog may be more likely to bite or attack simply because of how they were treated.
- Hire a certified dog trainer to help you perform any socialization, behavior modification and basic training sessions. The trainers should be CPDT certified or qualify as a CAAB (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist).
- Adopt dogs from well-known and reputable animal shelters where staff and their volunteers treat animals properly.
- Purchase from a small-scale reputable breeder that specializes in only one breed – which ensures they are not engaging in puppy mill activity.
- Avoid puppies offered through classified advertisements or the Internet. Often these dogs come from puppy mills or backyard breeders that have little knowledge about the types of breeds they are dealing with.
- Consider waiting until your children are 10 years or older. That is because younger children are at higher risk for a dog bite than older children.
- Educate yourself on what it takes to properly take in and raise a dog, including nutrition, training, humane activities, etc. There are plenty of books and DVDs out there that can help prepare you for dog ownership.
Things to do After You Get a Dog
- Spay or neuter the dog as soon as you can. This decreases aggression and the likelihood they will bite.
- Socialize your dog to help them become more familiar around people, places and unfamiliar things. You may need to use a professional socialization training program – especially if you are adopting an older pet.
- Take your dog to humane, reward-based training programs as soon as you can. It is best to start your puppy as early as eight weeks or right after they receive vaccinations.
- Make your dog feel as though they are part of the family and never tie or chain them outdoors. Treat them with respect and love. Never leave your dog unsupervised for several hours at a time.
- Do not wait for a bite to occur. If your dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior, identify the cause and work to fix it. Consider a behavior-modification training program.
- Always be cautious around the dog and teach your children to be careful. Make sure children know not to bother the dog while it is eating, sleeping or if the dog seems agitated. Know your dog’s triggers and work to avoid them.
Injured by a Vicious Dog Attack? Speak to a PA Dog Bite Lawyer
Mistreated and untrained dogs are at higher risk for attack. If you or your child has been attacked by a dog, the owner can be held liable for that attack. Contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today to discuss your dog bite case. We offer free consultations, so contact us online or call office at 215-987-3550 or cell: 215-771-0430.