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Four Tips on Canine Training to Reduce the Chances of Dog-Bite Lawsuits
Posted on : 09/26/2016 09:15:11 AM

You don’t need to be a canine behavior expert to know that when a dog feels threatened, the odds are high that it’s going to bite someone. Dogs have their own distinct needs and natural instincts. They react to situations differently than humans do, and hence, it may be hard to predetermine their reactions.

In the United States, strict laws have been put in place to protect both victims of dog bites and people who have incurred damages because of a dog attack. When someone is bitten or harmed by a dog, the owner of the dog is likely to be held responsible.

Dog bite victims can sue the pet owner, who will have to pay for the victim’s medical care, lost wages, and even psychological care. If the defendant’s (dog owner) attorney is successful in proving that the dog was provoked, or that the injured person was trespassing, the owner may not be held responsible for the damage caused.

If you own a dog, then you should regularly train your dog and stay abreast of the laws that apply to dog owners. Prior training can help avoid unforeseeable situations where your dog ends up attacking a stranger.

Become an attentive and responsible dog-owner with the help of the following tips:

1. Educate Yourself before Training Your Dog


When you bring a dog or puppy into your home, it has to adapt itself to the new environment. As a dog owner, you need to teach your dog how to fit in, and also teach yourself about its needs. It is important that you follow this, as you can learn to accommodate them in new surroundings and make the best possible situation for both yourself and the dog.

Before you start training your dog, you need to educate yourself on the principles and methodology of training a dog. The best ways to learn about this is by reading dog-parenting books, consulting a veterinarian, watching video clips, and attending classes. Make a note of the training methods that you think will be most suitable for your dog, and get them verified by the vet before implementation.

Positive and fun training sessions will help you form a strong bond with your dog and ensure that the process is enjoyable while yielding results. One of the most commonly used tricks to teach a dog something new is by offering a reward when it completes a task successfully or demonstrates the desired behavior.

2. Enroll in an Obedience Class


If you’re a new dog parent and are inexperienced in dog training, you may consider enrolling your dog in a formal obedience class. These classes are conducted by professional trainers who can teach you some essential commands to keep your dog away from trouble.

Among the key rules to follow is to adequately train your dog to become sociable around other people and animals. Enrollment in a basic obedience class can help by training your pooch to feel more comfortable around other dogs and humans.

Obedience classes are a great place to start your dog’s training. Some of them conduct local matches and competitions for canines. After completion of the training, you can participate with your pet and showcase its skills. Because training classes are fun for both the owner and the dog, many dog-parents continue engaging with the training centers.

3. Begin Training at the Right Age


The best time to begin training your dog is when they are a young puppy (i.e., between 9 and 16 weeks of age).

But, it’s never too late to start training; you can start teaching your dog certain commands at any age. Training at an earlier age only makes it easier as it can prevent your dog from imbibing bad habits. Teaching a dog what not to do is more difficult than helping it learn new habits. Additionally, playing non-aggressive games with your dog can help curb rage in your dog.

4. Research on Dog Bite Laws


Most accidents, including dog bites and attacks, are preventable. Preparing for such situations can help you manage them better. Whether you are a new dog owner or an experienced one, you should be thoroughly up-to-date with the federal and state laws related to the animal attack and dog-bites.

The majority of states in the United States follow strict liability statutes and impose liability on the dog owner to prove that the dog was provoked. In such states, the injured person does not have to prove that the dog owner did anything wrong.

Some states have dog laws that make owners liable only if it is proven that the dog is dangerous and can cause injury to people. This rule was earlier called “one bite rule,” wherein the dog owner was exempted if the particular accident was the first one.

Some states follow both norms. For instance, dog bite laws in New York follow a “blend” of laws, meaning that the state has a dog bite statute that considers the one-bite rule along with a limited degree of strict liability.

Just like most animals, some dogs tend to be fearful in the presence of individuals and other animals. This causes them to attack the person/animal. As a dog parent, it is your duty to train your dog in the best behavior possible so that it no longer feels threatened in new environments. Also, socializing dogs at an early age makes them less aggressive and more adaptive.

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