Dogs are not called man’s best friend for no reason. They are wonderful creatures that many of us just can’t resist. They entertain us with their antics and comfort us like the best of companions.
Dogs are often great sources of positive energy, so much so that they contribute to our overall well-being. They even protect us, our families, and our homes. No wonder dogs are often considered as family.
Still, no matter how lovable our fur friends are, they can be unpredictable. Hence, if you have a dog, a Beware of Dog sign is a necessary measure.
According to research, an estimated 4.5 million dog bite incidents happen every year in the US. That staggering number should reinforce what we all know: no matter how well we know our pets, some things are just beyond our control.
We’ve heard of dogs attacking innocent people like neighbors, passersby, kids, and even their owners. It’s not a pretty picture to think about and it makes many people anxious around dogs.
However, dogs are not generally harmful, but acknowledging that anything could happen with a dog is of utmost importance in pet ownership. It means you have to be a responsible pet owner and take the necessary steps to prevent untoward incidents from happening.
A little dog psychology goes a long way. Dogs are territorial animals who can turn aggressive once threatened or provoked or when their space is encroached upon. Even if they’ve never displayed vicious tendencies in the past, that can change in a snap when they are triggered.
A dog protecting your home from potential intruders is one thing, but attacking an unsuspecting visitor is entirely different. Both scenarios can be quite stressful on the pet owner, so what can you do to avoid them?
Should a pet owner display a Beware of Dog sign?
As a responsible dog owner, you have to inform other people that there is a dog in your property. It will immediately put visitors on guard against a possible dog attack. It will warn innocent kids and passersby to keep a safe distance. It will also hopefully deter intruders.
In essence, a Beware of Dog sign serves as a warning that could possibly help you mitigate liabilities and prevent dog attacks from happening.
Does a Beware of Dog sign protect you from dog-attack liabilities?
There is no comprehensive, all-inclusive answer. It varies from one state to another. Every dog owner must know their state’s dog-liability law.
It is highly recommended to seek legal advice if clarification of legalities is necessary or as an added precautionary measure. In some states, liabilities may be mitigated by signages but not in strict liability states.
In some states, for instance, a person who was attacked by a dog does not have to prove that there was negligence on the dog owner’s part and that the dog has a record of aggressive behavior.
Still in other states, dog provocation and unlawful entry of an intruder into a private property may drastically affect the outcome of dog bite claims.
Many pet owners hesitate to use Beware of Dog signs because it might constitute as proof of known pet aggressive tendencies whether or not there is a history of such.
On the other hand, it can be argued thatnotposting such signs and not warning the public that there is a dog in the property, whether or not that dog has displayed canine aggressiveness in the past, is negligence on the owner’s part. It can certainly be argued either way.
Legalities aside, what visitor will barge into a home with his/her guard down when forewarned of a possible dog attack? What parent will allow his/her child to play in an area that may be unsafe? Our sense of self-preservation won’t allow vulnerability.
Accidents do happen, and when they do, there are state laws that determine the extent of our liabilities, if any. But as much as possible, use preventative steps to protect yourself, innocent people, and your dog.
Caring for a dog goes beyond providing food, water, and shelter. Understanding dog psychology helps foster a better relationship between you and your dog. Just like us humans, a good relationship needs a solid foundation. We need trust and security more than comfort. It’s the same with dogs.
Dogs have pack mentality and are extremely territorial. Hence, as the fur parent, you need to establish yourself as the leader of your pack, as the alpha, so the dog will listen and obey your commands.
As alpha, see to it that your dog knows you have nothing but good intentions. Work on that trust between you and your dog and remember that a dog that feels threatened will most likely react aggressively.
Let your dog socialize with other dogs and with other people, but always with your supervision. Your pet will feel less threatened once he understands that not everyone is out to harm him.
As much as we want our dogs to protect us against intruders, we also want him to be sociable with our family and friends.
Other precautionary measures you can do include installing cameras around your area, securing your dog in one place when there are house guests, getting a dog bite liability insurance, putting a No Trespassing sign, and of course, keeping your dogs vaccinated.
In conclusion, dogs are important parts of our communities and many of us love them as family members. They can be trained to behave properly, but let us not forget that once provoked, a dog can react aggressively and harm people, even their owners.
Financial liabilities in a dog bite or attack lawsuit are dependent on several factors, like the liability laws of a state, negligence of owner, illegal entry in a property, and unwanted provocation of the canine by the one attacked. But if you can prevent an attack in the first place, do it.
Warn the public of possible dog attack. Put up a Beware of Dog sign and you might just help save innocent lives.