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Signs That a Dog Is Potentially Aggressive

tan dog barks aggressively and bears its teeth

Most of us have come across a dog that we have immediately assumed is aggressive at least a few times in our lives. It might have been something about their look, stance, growl, bark, or how they tried to break free from their leash that led us to think the canine we encountered was one to steer clear of. The dog’s breed, posted signs to beware of the dog, or word-of-mouth reports in the neighborhood may have motivated you to want to avoid this four-legged friend as well.

Although it would be challenging to convince someone scared of dogs that not all of them are to be feared, the truth is that not all canines are aggressive. Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll address signs that a dog may be dangerous, why dogs act out in aggression, and what some of the most dangerous breeds are. We’ll also discuss the prospect of holding a negligent owner liable for their dog’s actions.

Why Dogs Become Aggressive

Breeders have long focused their attention on making most canines friendly to humans. Like any living being, dogs have good days and bad days or experience situations in which they don’t feel their best. There are various reasons why dogs may act out in aggression, including if they:

  • Feel that their territory is being encroached upon or otherwise threatened
  • Haven’t been socialized
  • Are being antagonized or ill-treated
  • Don’t feel well
  • Are anxious, scared, or being subjected to stress
  • Fear for their safety
  • Are trying to protect their litter or pack

Certain situations may also bring out a dog’s playful side. It may be challenging for them to tell when playtime is over. Aggression may occur as a result.

How Can You Tell if a Dog Is Potentially Dangerous?

While you may rightfully assume that a dog that jumps on the fence while barking loudly or starts charging at you unprovoked is aggressive, it’s ideal if you can learn about a potentially dangerous canine before a face-to-face confrontation occurs. You can do this by assessing the dog’s body language. That can tell you a lot about its demeanor.

Don’t Place Too Much of an Emphasis on Sounds Dogs Make

It’s best if you don’t readily assume that a dog’s sounds are a sign of aggression. Dogs have limited vocalization capacity. There are three primary sounds dogs can make, including:

  • Growls
  • Barks
  • Whimpers

The sounds one canine makes in an attempt to come off as aggressive may be a way another dog greets someone or lets you know that they’re looking for attention.

Canine Body Language to Focus On for Signs of Aggression

Signs a dog may feel threatened or angry, making them more prone to become dangerous, include:

  • Its fur starts to stand up
  • It starts snapping at others
  • Its body becomes stiff
  • It avoids eye contact
  • The whites of its eyes become more visible
  • It shows its teeth
  • It snarls or growls

While large dogs often intimidate individuals, small ones can be just as dangerous. All sizes and breeds of dogs are capable of causing serious injuries like dog bites.

Are Some Dogs More Apt To Be Aggressive Than Others?

Dogs that you need to worry most about appear small and playful but instead pack a serious bite. A study conducted by the American Temperament Test Society aimed to pinpoint dog breeds most apt to act out aggressively despite being unprovoked. The top three dog breeds that made the list included:

  • Chow-chows: Can be overly assertive to the point of being domineering. This may have something to do with the fact that they have limited peripheral vision. They behave best when they’ve been socialized early on.
  • Chihuahuas: Are loyal to their owners, meaning they often fear or act possessively around strangers.
  • Dachshunds: Often put on a big attitude to compensate for them not having a larger stature. They can have difficulties getting along with children unless introduced to them early on in the canine’s life.

ATTS determined that the three types of dogs above are most likely to either avoid anyone they deem to be threatening, panic, or react aggressively when encountering individuals, especially in the scenarios described above.

How To Minimize Chances of a Dog Attacking You

One good rule of thumb that you should always employ to avoid a confrontation with a potentially aggressive dog is to keep a safe distance from one pacing back and forth or jumping up on the fence while barking. If an encounter is inevitable (such as if the dog is charging you), then you’ll want to:

  • Avoid making any loud noises that may further agitate the canine
  • Not make any sudden movements (like running) that may startle the dog
  • Avoid making eye-to-eye contact with the dog
  • Turn to your side so that the profile of your body is facing the dog

Many individuals who are confronted with a charging dog extend out their limbs to try to thwart an attack. This often makes the dog respond with even more aggression, which results in deeper bites akin to a mauling.

How Can You Minimize the Chances of an Aggressive Dog Hurting Your Child?

It’s always best for both you and your child to avoid petting any dog that you’re not familiar with. Even if it seems friendly, you may want to ask its owner about its health and typical behaviors to ensure that you’re not purposefully exposing yourself or your child to unnecessary dangers before interacting with it.

You should always closely supervise your child any time they interact with an unfamiliar dog. It’s also best if you encourage them to do the following:

  • Not to disturb it as it’s eating, taking care of its litter, or sleeping
  • Approach it calmly
  • Allow the dog to pick up on their scent by extending their closed hand
  • Not to pull on its tail
  • Only to pet its chest or shoulders (not its head)

A dog that isn’t aggressive will generally respond well to the above-referenced cues.

What To Do if You Suffer a Dog Bite

Countless individuals get bitten while they’re at the park, out for a walk in their neighborhood, visiting others’ homes, or otherwise going about their everyday tasks each day here in Albuquerque. New Mexico law affords you the right to hold negligent dog owners liable for the injuries their aggressive dog inflicts upon you.

Our attorneys here at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm have extensive experience handling a wide range of personal injury cases, such claims involving dog bites. If a canine has attacked you, you may have disfiguring and life-threatening injuries. Seeking compensation ensures that you can pay your medical expenses to include mental health costs and reduce the chances of a negligent dog owner allowing their pet to hurt someone else again.

Here at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, our dog bite attorneys offer a free case review to go over your rights and let you know if we can help. Schedule your complimentary consultation here today

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