Dog bites are among the most common, non-fatal types of injuries. Owning a dog, even a cute puppy, is an important responsibility, and sometimes can lead to liability. No matter how well you think you know your dog, or how well it’s trained, animal behavior is often unpredictable. A dog owner should keep these tips in mind to protect your dog and others:

  • Research the breed that you’re considering bringing home. Pay attention to how much exercise that breed needs, and whether the breed coexists well with other people and dogs. Failing to give a dog the needed level of attention and exercise can lead to boredom, anxiety, and sometimes aggression.
  • Spay or neuter your dog as soon as it’s recommended. Dogs who are not fixed are several times more likely to bite.
  • Teach those near or around the dog proper etiquette. No matter how docile your dog is, children should be taught never to disturb a dog when it’s sleeping or eating. Dogs often bite when startled, scared, or when territorial over food.
  • Keep play appropriate with your dog. “Wrestling” with a dog or playing tug of war can be fun, but this can encourage inappropriate behavior with other people and other animals.
  • Provide your dog opportunities to socialize with other people and animals. Getting your dog accustomed to being around people outside of your household can make it less fearful, and less likely to perceive others as a threat. At the same time, try not to bring your dog into an unfamiliar situation when you don’t know how it will react.
  • If your dog shows any hint of aggressive behavior, talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s important to anticipate negative behaviors for the safety of your dog and others.
  • Check with your homeowner’s insurance company whether insurance coverage is available to cover potential incidents involving dogs. Some insurance companies will exclude coverage for certain types of breeds known to be aggressive, dangerous, or unpredictable.

Arizona is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. This means that the dog owner is liable for any human injury their dog causes. Even if your dog has no aggressive history, and you were not aware of any aggressive tendencies, you will still be responsible for injuries and medical bills. Being a proactive, responsible dog owner can minimize the risk of incidents. Izzy Yetnikoff is an attorney with extensive experience in dog bite claims and other animal injury claims. If you’ve been bitten or injured by a dog or other animal, call Izzy Yetnikoff at Yetnikoff Law Offices, PLLC for help. Call us at 800-279-6331 or visit us online for more information.