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What Are the Signs of Dog Aggression?

Many dog bite cases in Texas revolve around whether or not a dog owner had knowledge of a dog's aggression. Since Texas is a "negligence" or "one bite rule" state, individuals injured by dog bites must be able to show ...

Many dog bite cases in Texas revolve around whether or not a dog owner had knowledge of a dog's aggression. Since Texas is a "negligence" or "one bite rule" state, individuals injured by dog bites must be able to show that a dog had bitten someone before or had acted aggressively in the past in order to recover damages. But what exactly constitutes as aggression? Since true aggressive behavior can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from playfulness, it is important that dog owners keep a watchful eye and take extra precautions to protect themselves from potential liability.

Dog Aggression Defined

The term "aggression" refers to a wide range of behaviors which can occur under various circumstances for a number of reasons. As such, saying a dog is aggressive can be vague. Nearly all animals are aggressive when protecting their territories, guarding their offspring, and defending themselves, though hostile behaviors in dogs can also be triggered in reaction to fear, pain, sexual impulse, predatory instinct, or frustration. Aggressive behaviors typically begin with some sort of warning sign which may eventually lead to an attack.

Signs of aggression may include the following:

  • Standing still and rigid
  • Threatening barking
  • Lunging forward without contact
  • Growling and showing teeth
  • Quick nips without breaking skin
  • Bites which puncture or tear the skin

Most dogs do not attack without some sort of initial warning, though the exact sequence and duration of these behaviors will vary - sometimes lasting only a few milliseconds from warning to bite. As such, many pet owners do not recognize these warning signs and believe their dog has suddenly gone mad. Furthermore, some dogs only behave aggressively towards other dogs or certain categories of people, such as groomers, veterinarians, or postal carriers. Generally speaking, however, aggression toward people, other dogs, and other animals are independent from one another, meaning that aggression towards one will not necessarily lead to aggression towards another.

Can Aggression Be "Cured?"

While the incidence and frequency of certain types of aggression can be reduced through proper training, there is no guarantee that a dog who elicits aggressive behavior will ever be "cured." In most cases, the only way to treat the problem is to limit a dog's exposure to certain triggers. Even if a previously aggressive dog has behaved well for several years, there is always a chance that certain factors can come together to prompt a hostile response. For this reason, pet owners must always exercise prudent care to protect themselves and others from possible attacks.

If you have been attacked by another person's dog, contact the New Braunfels dog bite attorneys at Kyle Law Firm today. Having been fighting for the rights of the injured for 60+ years, we have what it takes to help you pursue every penny's worth of your deserved compensation. Get in touch with our firm online today or call (830) 476-7780 to discuss your injuries in full detail.

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