There are dogs (I know I'm going to get push back on this!) that historically are more likely to cause damage - serious damage - than others. I know I know.... it is how they are trained or raised. Well, not always. There are some breeds just more likely to bite, regardless of how gently you may have raised that pup!
I think the most common misconception is that the general public assumes we are only talking about the dog biting. While that may be mostly true, it is also true that many liability claims that are paid through Homeowner Insurance may be due to injury that occurs because of the dog, but does not necessarily mean biting!
When my son was small, we had a very sweet but large Chocolate Lab Maggie! While Maggie was destructive as in eating the wiring to the hot tub and the cross bar off the privacy gate , she would never hurt a person by biting them! She would, however, hurt my son because she was so happy to see him that she would run straight at him and knock him down! After a few times of getting knocked down on the cement, my son no longer wanted to go out in the backyard to play! Did that make Maggie a bad dog? No, but it did make me reconsider whether she was the right pet for us! My son never cracked his head open from it, but what if a little friend had been over playing and Maggie had done the same thing to them. Maggie could have very easily hurt someone without the intention of it! Medical bills could have been amassed and there was no biting involved! This is the kind of thing that your Liability and Medical pays for from your Homeowner policy.
According to P&C Newsweek, in 2015 Texas ranked 5th in the nation in terms of the number of claims. Although this only considers those claims that were reported, there were 688 claims with an average amount paid $30,241. This number is an 11% increase from the previous year. This trend, again, is not only dog bits, but also includes knocking down children, cyclists, the elderly, etc, all of which can result in fractures and other trauma injuries.
So, what can we as dog owners do? Help your dog develop social skills and learn to read your dog's body language. Children and dogs should never be left alone together. Other things we can do is to discourage children from disturbing a dog that is sleeping or eating. Teach children not to approach a strange dog and to avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening. Take time to research BEFORE getting a dog, which breed would be most likely to fit with your family and neighborhood.
Here are a couple of resources that are committed to education about preventing dog bites:
American Academy of Pediatrics www.aap.org
American Veterinary Medical Association www.avma.org
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