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Tips to reduce likelihood of animal bites

A certified trainer recently wrote a book about aggressive behavior in dogs. She offers insight on why some dogs bite and how this a form of communication for them. Many Wisconsin residents have been injured as a result of animal bites and the trainer's comments may help prevent further harm in the future.

The trainer cites a report from the American Veterinary Medical Association that claims 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Typically, young boys are the ones bitten most often. She conveys that bites toward children occur even when an adult was at the incident. The trainer has suggestions for both dog owners and parents of younger children to help prevent future bites. Young children should be taught positive ways to interact with dogs and never sit on or harass them.

She recommends that a dog never be left unattended with anyone who is not able to take action if needed. She also suggests that someone never approach an unknown dog. Other tips include use of positive reinforcement training and early socialization. It is also important understand how dogs communicate. Dogs frequently send warning signals, such as growling, lunging or staring, before they bite.

If a dog bites someone, the dog's owner can be held responsible for the dog's actions. Since Wisconsin is a strict liability state, it is not necessary to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner.  Serious injury, or even death, could occur as a result of animal bites. Families dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite may choose to contact a lawyer for assistance in filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.  An attorney experienced in personal injury law can often help individuals receive compensation through the presentation of a successful claim.

Source:, "How to Prevent Dog Bites", Annie Phenix, Feb. 16, 2017

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