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Did an aggressive dog cause you injury?

You might be one of many dog lovers in Texas. Nowadays, it's not uncommon for people to treat their beloved dog pets like members of their families. Some people even dress their dogs in human-style clothing or place a dog's paw print as a signature in a greeting card. Whether you're an over-the-top dog enthusiast or don't have anything against dogs but merely tolerate them, it is important to know whether a particular dog might be posing a risk to your safety.

You can never predict animal behavior any more than you can do so in humans. However, dogs do have certain ways of showing that they are bothered, feel threatened or are afraid. Learning to recognize signs of aggression in dogs may help keep you safe, especially if you encounter a dog you are not familiar with in your travels.

Pay attention to a dog's posture

If a dog approaches you and lies down at your feet with its belly exposed, it is showing a sign of submission and recognizing you as its superior. However, if you are near a dog that turns rigid in its stance or lunges in your direction, it is a sign that the dog is stressed and may become aggressive at any time.

What sounds is a dog making?

Have you ever trained a dog to bark once when it needs to go outside to relieve its bladder? Dogs have different ways of barking. Barking can be playful but can also be a sign of alert or warning as well as a sign of aggression. Snarling or growling are also signals that you may be at risk for an attack. 

Look at a dog's face

If you're visiting a friend or taking a stroll through a park and encounter a dog, it is wise to pay close attention to its face. If the dog is showing teeth, it is not happy at the moment.

Types of dog aggression

Just because you have petted a particular dog in the past, it does not necessarily mean that dog would never bite you. A dog can go from being docile to aggressive in minutes. Dogs turn aggressive for numerous reasons.

Many dogs are territorial, so if another animal or person is treading near the area the dog has claimed as its own, it might get aggressive. A dog can show possessive aggression, such as growling or nipping at you if you approach it while it has a bone or is eating its food. Dogs also show protective aggression, especially female dogs that have pups nearby.

If another person's dog bites you

If you were to taunt a dog or show aggression toward it, you shouldn't be surprised if it, too, becomes aggressive in response to the threat it feels from your behavior. However, if you suffer injury because of a dog bite, it might have more to do with the fact that a dog owner was negligent than with the animal itself. 

For instance, if a dog owner knows his or her pet is aggressive or has bitten a person in the past, he or she should not allow people to approach the dog or vice versa. A dog owner whose negligence is responsible for an injury to another person may be held accountable for his or her failure to keep the injured person safe in the presence of the dog.

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