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A Forewarning About the Safety and Liability Threats Associated with Dogs

Don’t get caught unaware of the potential risks associated with dog ownership.  Sure, the dog you just brought home from the local shelter is the sweetest pup you have ever seen—this is known as the “honeymoon” stage.  Without the proper preparation and training, that pup could cost you a lot of money and suffering. 

Recently, I was watching one of the leading morning programs that highlighted a segment talking about the adoption of shelter dogs. They had three of the local shelter's dogs on set and they were so cuddly. My friend's response "I love dogs!" articulates how most of us feel about our dogs. Dogs certainly have a knack for bringing a smile to your face.

Dogs have customarily been a significant part of man's life. In our society today the dog's primary role has metamorphosed from a work or service animal to that of friend and family member. In fact, our dogs have evolved into an essential member of the family. Accompanying this role change, society has developed some unrealistic assumptions about their pets. From time to time we fail to understand that a dog has natural tendencies and we cannot predict how they will behave in certain situations. At times we may attempt to explain or anticipate their behaviors based on human nature. This custom is inappropriate and leaves us perplexed and upset when our dog behaves adversely or consistent to his natural genetic characteristics.

Each year the television media tells the public about some of the more troublesome events connected to dogs. For example in August 2012, a young Georgia college student who was devoted to rescuing dogs was killed by dogs that she had adopted. In May, a North Carolina resident was charged with involuntary manslaughter after his pit bull fatally wounded his neighbor. Stories like these cause us to pause and ask oneself if owning a dog is worth the risks. We must understand at this point that dogs will react like dogs but responsible owners can take steps to prevent events like these from occurring in the first place.

As you meditate on dog ownership, recognize the risks related with owning a dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and that one in five of those bites will require medical care. Researching the behavior of the dog breed that you want to adopt is a conscientious first step. Although we cannot condemn a singular dog by its breed, guidance is available to assist the potential owner in making an educated determination. Bankrate.com has issued a list of "high risk" dogs based on insurance claims. This list which consists of some basic data on each breed identifies the "high risk" breeds as Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Wolf Hybrid (sometimes called Wolfdog). The American Kennel Club's website offers some beneficial data in helping determine if a specific dog breed is an advantageous match for your family or circumstances. The AKC firmly defends the dog's breed and stresses the individual dog's actions when making decisions regarding a specific case.

All the information that you need to be a conscientious dog owner is available at your fingertips if you have internet service. Tips on socializing and caring for your dog, education on how to keep your children safe around dogs, dog bite laws and information about typical dog behaviors are just a few of the subjects you should study. Some helpful websites include www.aap.org (American Academy of Pediatrics), www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and www.dogbitelaw.com . You can also phone local veterinarians or animal experts who can help you find local support.

As you review the wealth of info accessible, you will face the reality that some insurance businesses may decline or cancel your homeowners or renters insurance once you bring that cuddly puppy home. So as a trustworthy dog owner, call your insurance agent right away and inquire about your coverage. Typically, your homeowner's or renter's liability coverage will include dog-related crisis. Homeowners' limits usually range from $100,000 up to $300.000. If you have opted to adopt a large dog, you should investigate increasing your coverage to the higher limits and possibly look into acquiring supplementary coverage by purchasing an umbrella liability  policy which can provide an additional $1 million to $10 million in protection. Keep in mind, owning a dog is an underwriting factor for your insurance company and failing to tell them about your dog, expressly if he is considered a "high risk" breed or has a bite history, can result in claims being rejected. If that happens, you personally can be held financially accountable for any damages or injuries that your dog causes.

In conclusion, as you and your puppy get to know one another remember to introduce him to a variety of people and other animals, invest in obedience training in order to build a trusting connection and take him for regular veterinary checkups. Your veterinarian can help guide you on behavioral subjects as they emerge and help you recognize your dog's genetic predisposition. As you mutually grow to love one anotherFree Reprint Articles, your pet will without doubt become a source of enjoyment for you and your family. Have a good time with your puppy!

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