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Dog bite liability: The importance of socializing your dog

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2023 | Dog Bite

A dog may bite during play but often will bite when it perceives a threat. Without proper socialization and training, your dog is more prone to aggression toward other people and dogs. If your dog bites another person or pet, the victim may suffer severe emotional damage and bodily injuries, for which the court may hold you legally responsible.

Untrained dogs can lead to hefty bills

According to state law, pet owners of a dog who causes injury to another person or their dog are liable for compensating that person. The law applies whether the dog has a history of biting or not and regardless of whether the incident takes place on public or private property. In a dog bite claim, victims often claim over $15,000.

Only when the victim was illegally trespassing on the pet owner’s property or did something to provoke the dog would the owner be free from liability.

Because Washington law often sides with the victim of a dog bite, there is more incentive to train your dog properly. It does not matter if your dog has a history of biting or not. Socialization helps any dog react calmly and appropriately to new situations and triggers.

Socializing your dog

Puppyhood is the best time for socialization because how your dog reacts to their surroundings and new environments can impact its future personality. If you missed this window, you could still teach your dog or give special training classes a try. Just remember that an older dog without socialization training may be more shy or fearful of people and animals.

The most important thing is to be very patient with your dog. Start by gently exposing them to the different things they might see outside, such as kids, your mailman or your neighbor’s dogs. Allow them to observe and interact when they are comfortable enough and reward them for good behavior.

If you know your dog is aggressive, you could use some safety measures. Muzzles are great for preventing bites and the proper harness will keep your dog close by at all times.

A pet is more than simply a cute addition to the family; they have their own unique personalities as well. It is your duty as a dog owner to know your dog, provide for them and train them on socially acceptable behavior.