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Owners must teach their dogs not to bite

Imagine walking through the streets of Albany with a friend and his or her dog. Though you may have met this dog several times and he or she has always been pleasant, something seems off today. When you go to pet him or her, the dog snaps, causing a dog bite injury.

When dog bites happen, it is important to look at what would cause a dog to attack. Since national Dog Bite Prevention Week just finished, it is a good time to look into some of the reasons why dogs bite.

One of the most likely reasons why dogs bite is because their owners failed to properly socialize them, learn their temperament when they feel scared or frightened, or because they haven't taught their dogs how to replace negative behavior, like biting, with more positive behavior. In the end, it is the owner who must ensure that his or her dog is not violent and will not bite people.

When owners fail to do this, they can be held liable. It would be ludicrous to expect that someone who has gone through the traumatic and frightening experience of being bitten by a dog to also shoulder the financial burden that comes with the attack. There can be surgeries and other medical bills, pain and suffering, and potential disfigurement.

Many dogs that bite do so in response to being afraid or uncomfortable with a situation. Dogs may initially try to run and hide from those things that scare them, but they soon learn that by being aggressive, including biting someone, that the people that frighten them will go away.

Source: AnnArbor.com, "Dog bites are preventable if you understand the causes of them, and how to stay safe," Lorrie Shaw, May 25, 2012

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