Reasons why dog bites occur
The injuries resulting from a dog bite cannot be underestimated, since, in most cases, these incidents bring great suffering to the person who experienced them.
The severity of injuries caused by a dog bite can be so high that many victims may be more overwhelmed by psychological and emotional damage than by physical damage.
Seen in this light, it is perfectly understandable why dog bites have become a legal matter, that they can go to court and that they can be the subject of monetary rewards for the person who was bitten.
Along with the conversion of dog bites into a public and legal matter, there are questions about the reasons why dog bites occur.
While the simplest answer would be, “They’re just animals and they bite,” the truth is that there are multiple reasons for dog bite incidents. One such motive, for example, could be fear, an instinctive reaction; another motive would also be the canine protection of a territory; even, and even if it seems somewhat incredible, a canine canine can bite a person to show superiority, a demonstration that its power is greater than that of the injured person.
However, most of the time, the cause of a dog biting another person is placed on its owner; that is, the responsibility for the incident usually rests with the owner of the animal. That is precisely one of the reasons why canine bites have come to the forefront of the law.
But how is the landlord responsible for the incident? There have been cases where, for example, the owner of the canine has taught him that biting is a form of “play”. Thus, the behaviour of the animal is caused by inadequate training by the owner. Therefore, to complete the syllogism that applies, the prevention of dog bites depends to a large extent on the owner of the animal, its training and the care that is carried out.
To be more specific, canine care consists of 5 main aspects: (i) socialization; (ii) human training; (iii) sterilization; (iv) supervision; and (v) healthy isolation.
Everyone who owns a dog who takes good care of these 5 aspects will be contributing greatly to reducing the number of dog bite incidents. And it should be noted that this number is not very small, so it is necessary to call attention to the owners of these animals.
Causes of dog bites
Previously, we have said that canine bites can be caused by a multitude of reasons. While we mentioned some of them in the previous paragraphs, we want to detail them for a complete assimilation of the causes of dog bites. Some of the more common ones are the following:
- It is very likely that, at the scene of the incident, there was food or a toy/doll near the canine that was “his” property. Therefore, the bite was a reaction to protect “his” property from the “intruder”.
- On the other hand, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the animal’s behaviour could also have been caused by the person who was bitten. When we talk about “provoking”, we are referring to actions such as hugging the dog, walking very close to it, bending over, trying to grab something, among others. In short, actions that may constitute an intrusion into the canine’s personal space.
- There is also the possibility that the animal may attack, indistinctly from the person, as a reaction to certain circumstances or “emotions”, such as being hungry. Canines also bite when they are sick or when they are suffering from an injury. And in the emotional field, the presence of fear in the animal is another trigger for a bite.
- If the animal is not trained in bite control, it is likely to bite another person if, for example, they offer food or bring a toy to the animal. Here, of course, the role of the owner in preventing these misfortunes can be clearly seen.
- If the person affected by the bite was a child, then one of the causes can be found in acts such as shouting or running near the animal. As we know, children are prone to this type of action. When these acts are performed near a dog, the dog sees the person as a prey and acts accordingly.
Signs preceding the bite
Knowing the causes of dog bites – which we outlined a moment ago – is helpful in preventing these incidents. Right now, you’re thinking, “How can knowing the causes prevent a canine attack if it’s done instantly, that is, there’s no time to prevent it?” Very easy: there are signs that precede the bite. The animal makes a series of gestures before placing its teeth on another person, so if we know the triggers (i.e. the causes), and if we also know the dog’s gestures that precede the bite, then we will be able to avoid the incident.
Now, what are these canine gestures? What are these signs that allow you to know the dog’s aggressive reaction beforehand? Generally, when the animal prepares to bite another person, its ears are fixed back and remain motionless; the hair on the canine’s back is bristled; and you can also visualize the white area of its eyes.
Also, the dog will show its teeth, although this is not visible to the untrained eye, since when the animal does that, it will appear to be yawning; but it is not really yawning, so you should be very careful about that.
As if this were not enough, the dog will be cold, reserved, distant and asocial; this is palpable, for example, if someone pets him or tries to hug him and the dog does not react, but remains undaunted. In addition to this behaviour, the animal will also observe its’victim’ directly and for a long time. In other words, you will make direct eye contact.
How to reduce the number of dog bite cases
We already know the causes of dog bites; and we also know the signs that appear previously. However, with this information, we can avoid a misfortune at the moment. However, how can dog bites be prevented in the long term and in a substantive way?
Before we explain it, we must say the following: The owners of a dog are not only under an ethical obligation to do everything possible to prevent dog bites, but they are also under a legal obligation. That is why this information is extremely important and should be disseminated as widely as possible.
On the other hand, we would like to draw the additional attention of canine owners: if they are not interested in properly training their pets, then it is advisable to have them spayed or neutered. It is a measure that will be effective in reducing the number of canine attacks in the long term.
And with respect to responsible owners who have an interest in properly raising their pets, they should know two things: The first is that it is essential that you play and exercise with the dog regularly; these activities are cathartic, that is to say, they serve to release, to release; in this way, the dog gets rid of excess energy, which can be channeled into aggressive acts such as biting; The second thing they should know is that they should make sure that these games are not aggressive or very competitive, as this can encourage dog dominance behaviors.
That said, what can be done to reduce the number of dog bite cases?
- First of all, it is recommended that you take your pet to a place specialized in dog training. Your dog should learn to follow simple commands, such as sitting, standing still, letting go or going somewhere.
- Be very careful to allow your dog to walk unrestricted in public areas, as the animal can pose a serious danger. Whenever you walk your dog in crowded places or where there are always people, you should put a leash on him.
- It is very important that the animal interacts with other people and gets involved in various situations. This is nothing more than a process of animal socialization.
- On the other hand, make sure that the animal has all the required vaccinations. If you don’t have one, don’t be indifferent by saying “it’s just one, nothing happens”. Put it on immediately, without delay.
- If the animal is behaving strangely, acting aggressively and violently, it is ideal to take it to a veterinarian to be examined and to find out what is going on and what needs to be done about it.
- Finally, if you have children, make space in your agenda and theirs to devote it exclusively to teaching pets: how to behave with the dog, what to do and what not to do, how to deal with a scenario in which the animal attacks, among others.