Why Dogs Attack

Last week, many were horrified by the news of the young Virginia woman who was attacked and killed by her pet pit bulls while taking a walk. Unfortunately, it is not the first time we have heard of dog attacks or the fact that seemingly nice dogs attack people in and outside of a family with little or no provocation.

This most recent incident has people around the world asking “Why do dogs attack their owners?” or, for that matter, “Why do run-of-the-mill family dogs, who are otherwise friendly, suddenly attack other people or animals?”  To answer these questions, those familiar with animal behavior offer several factors that can make dogs lash out:

  • Dogs can be aggressive when they feel threatened; the motivation to bite is often based on perceived fear.
  • Some dogs are territorial, where they are simply defending something they value like a resting place or dog bowl.
  • Stress may factor in, particularly around the holidays when visitors may be coming and going and excited children are around the dog all day.
  • Sometimes, if there is more than one dog in the house, there may be competition at play that can lead to aggression between the animals or directed at people in or outside of the home.
  • Unfortunately, a dog cannot communicate when it is in pain and sometimes can act erratically because of chronic discomfort or after sustaining a painful injury that their owner may not even be aware of.

People should never assume that dogs or puppies will always behave well. Thousands of people seek medical attention for dog bites every year, many of whom were bitten by their own pet or a dog they were familiar with. Children are the most commonly affected, many of whom are under the age of nine.

Victims of dog attacks often say “the dog bit with no warning”, but, in its own way, the dog may have been trying to say something all along. It is important to look for signs of anxiety in a dog such as adopting a low posture, nervously licking their lips, putting their ears back or tucking their tail under their legs. Children, of course, are not going to be as attuned to the body language of a dog and should always have adult supervision in the presence of dogs.

Many experts say that early training is the key to avoiding future aggression. Owners should help dogs become comfortable with their surroundings, socialize them to be around other people and animals, and remain ever vigilant for signs of stress or aggression.

Des Moines Dog Bite Lawyers

Holding Negligent Dog Owners Responsible

Sadly, victims of dog bites can sustain serious injuries which may result in permanent scars, disfigurement or even death. In some cases, it is just a matter of the dog owner not taking responsibility for their animal which puts others at risk. If you have been a victim of a dog attack, you will likely have medical expenses to cover and lasting emotional trauma to contend with. It is appropriate and advisable for you to seek the help of an experienced Iowa dog bite attorney to seek compensation for your injuries and, hopefully, to hold the responsible party accountable to prevent future incidences from occurring. Contact the Iowa dog bite lawyers of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for help today if you or a family member has been a victim of a dog attack.