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Subtle behaviors can signal potential dog attacks

One of the reasons Texans find dogs so endearing is because dogs are very social animals. And while we humans may want to project our feelings and motivations on to dogs, it is important to understand that dogs do not experience the world in the same way as humans. When encountering an unfamiliar dog, it is helpful to understand what its behavior is really telling us. Understanding canine cues can help humans be aware if a dog attack is imminent.

According to the animal behavioral services director at a Pennsylvania university, people often misinterpret many common dog behaviors. For example, you might think that when a dog rolls over on its back that it is presenting its stomach for petting. Not necessarily, says the director. If a dog rolls on its back, it is actually exhibiting signs of anxiety. Unless the dog appears comfortable with the situation, you should read the rolling as meaning it would prefer to not be petted.

Perhaps the most important dog behavior misconception is that they sometimes attack spontaneously and with no forewarning. Again, the director begs to differ. Dogs will always let you know what’s up prior to an attack. They may have their ears drawn back or lick in the air or perhaps just display tenseness in the face, but they will give out a warning.

Some dog signals are no doubt very subtle. While most dogs don’t want to hurt anyone, some dogs have behavioral issues. They may be abused, neglected or very territorial. The problem arises when such animals are allowed to move about a neighborhood with impunity.

If you cross paths with a dog that is vicious and determined to attack, you are very much on the defensive and could wind up being severely injured. But it is the dog’s owner who is culpable for allowing such a terrifying event to occur.

If you or a member of your family are harmed by a dog belonging to a negligent owner, you should be compensated for the inflicted pain, suffering and adherent medical expenses. A Texas lawyer who understands such situations may be able to help you secure restitution.

Source: lancasteronline.com, “Animal behavior expert debunks dog myths,” Lynn Schmidt, May 5, 2014

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