Everyone’s excitement about having pets back in the White House has dimmed considerably following reports that President Biden’s rescue dog, Major, allegedly bit someone. The immediate reaction to the incident was to relocate both presidential dogs.
Dog bites are the biggest fear many dog owners have. Any dog is capable of biting a person. One bite is all it takes to create all sorts of problems.
Dog bites are common in California. According to data collected by State Farm Insurance, the state had approximately 3,600 dog bites just in 2017. The state is a strict liability state which means that if your dog bites someone, you are responsible for paying for the medical bills. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time your dog has bitten someone or if the bite happened on your private property. If you own the dog, you’re responsible.
If your dog has a history of biting, the DA becomes involved. After the second biting incident, the DA looks into the dog’s history, the reason the bites happened, and how you handled the issue. If they believe the dog is dangerous or if they believe you failed to take appropriate steps to make sure the dog didn’t have a second chance to bite someone, they can take your dog away.
One of the best lessons that can be learned from the incident with the presidential dogs is that you have to give dogs time and space to get used to new surroundings and situations. They don’t understand why they’re suddenly surrounded by new people or why you’ve moved them into a new house. They find these kinds of things even more stressful than you do.
Rather than simply assuming your dog will be okay, give them the time, space, and love that they require. Make sure you’re spending plenty of time with them so that they don’t have to worry that they’re about to be abandoned. If they show signs that they don’t want to hang out with your friends and family, provide your dog with a people-free space.
The single best way to decrease the odds of your getting into the middle of a dog bite scandal is taking the time to make sure your dog is both trained and properly socialized. This is something that has to continue throughout their life. Take them to classes with a positive reinforcement instructor who will not only help you train your dog but will also show you how to identify the early signs that your dog is stressed and uncomfortable.
As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to do everything possible to make sure no one ever gets bit by your dog. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and most importantly, your dog to be pro-active about preventing bites.