Insurance and Finance

Be a Responsible Dog Owner 

By Kristy Alpert 12.21.14

Owning a dog is a privilege, and, like most privileges, it’s one that comes with responsibility … and sometimes liability. Did you know you could be held liable if your dog bites another person or animal? According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2009 alone, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims.

No matter if your dog is the best-trained hound in the neighborhood, every dog has its day, and everything from overstimulation or even the urge to protect his or her loved ones can cause even the most mild-mannered dog to make a mistake. No matter how well you know your animal, you should always:

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times when outside. Even in rural parts of the state, there are leash laws and prohibitions of allowing animals from roaming freely.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Dogs are three times more likely to bite if not “fixed.”
  • Put the dog in a room or kennel when opening the door to visitors (FedEx, neighbors, Girl Scouts, etc.).
  • Seek immediate assistance from a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or other professional if your dog starts to display any unusual or aggressive behaviors.
  • Pursue the higher degree in dog training, whether it’s through upper-level obedience classes or just socialization clubs.
  • Be a student of your dog. Begin to notice your dog’s signs of anxiety or apprehension and work toward either avoiding those situations or easing your dog into them slowly.
  • Avoid leaving your dog alone with an infant or young child.
  • Discourage children from disturbing your dog while eating or sleeping.