As a pet owner, you clearly love your animal companion and probably take care good care of it. Unfortunately, being a good pet owner involves more than just simply housing and feeding your animal. Sometimes, your pet can be a liability if it causes property damage or bodily injury to others. According to the New York Times, dog bites make up one-third of all personal liability claims. This can put a serious damper on your home insurance policy. Here are some ideas you can use to keep your dog from giving you insurance woes.
First and foremost, take the necessary steps to train your dog. As with children, bad behavior may seem amusing or cute at times, but in the long run, it can be destructive and dangerous. By not training your dog, you are doing it a disservice and increasing your liability. A trained and well-socialized dog is much less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors that lead to biting. On Cesar’s Way, an article attributes the No. 1 reason for dog biting to possessiveness. Dogs that are not trained to let go will bite to protect their property and territory. By properly training your dog to shed this inherent dog behavioral trait, you can minimize the aggressiveness normally found in canines.
Most experts also recommend having your dog spayed or neutered to curb aggressive behavior. American Humane Association statistics show that un-neutered dogs are much more likely to bite. In addition, if you do not intend to breed your dog, it’s good practice to have your animal spayed or neutered as it will have the added benefit of controlling the animal population which is needed in most states including Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York, to name a few.
Responsible dog owners also monitor their dog’s behavior and interaction with others. Instead of allowing your dog to roam the neighborhood, do not let it off leash except on your property. Dogs have a tendency to behave differently with strangers and if they feel threatened, they may bite to protect themselves, their property, or their owners. Even when your dogs are at home, you need to be vigilant when you have guests visiting. An unfamiliar person in the dog’s space is a potential recipe for disaster. Keep an eye on your pup, but also set boundaries with your guests so that they know how to appropriately behave around your dog, such as never bothering or approaching the dog while it is eating.
Another way to reduce the chance of liability is to ensure your dog has sufficient exercise on a daily basis. Dogs with pent-up energy and no way to release it may become anxious and find an unhealthy outlet, such as biting. In addition to being good for your dog’s health (and yours too), plenty of physical activity can diffuse some potentially aggressive tendencies in dogs.
As a pet owner, you know your dog better than anyone else. It’s also likely that you can read the warning signs of a change in the dog’s behavior to know when a bite is imminent. In these cases, don’t just stand by and allow aggressive behavior to take place. Remember, a personal liability claim can be very costly for your home insurance company. After a claim, your insurance company may increase your rates, or worse, refuse to renew your policy. Therefore, take the necessary steps to prevent your dog from being a personal liability instead of your best friend.