Your young toddler loves dogs. Like many small children throughout Charlotte, she wants to reach out and stroke any dog she sees. It makes going for a walk through the park an unsettling experience for you as a parent.

As much as you may love dogs, you are right to be wary of them when out with your young children. Toddlers’ faces and dogs’ jaws are at about the same height. You have probably heard horror stories of people out for a walk when a dog bites them for no reason. Yet, dogs always have a reason to bite someone, even if it makes little sense to us as humans. Understanding why dogs bite can reduce the risk you expose yourself or your child to one.

These are some of the things that may cause a dog to snap his jaws at you or your child:

  • Play: If you watch how dogs play you will see they often bite each other. They may think this is how your child likes to play too.
  • Fear: Unless you know a dog’s history, it is impossible to know what scares it. Dogs adopted from rescue shelters may have suffered abuse from a previous owner. Merely lifting your hand to stroke its head could provoke a fearful reaction.
  • Protection: A dog may feel the need to protect its humans. Or it may be prepared to defend its squeaky rabbit toy to the death.
  • Pain avoidance: How is your child to know that the dog had a cancerous lump removed from its neck last week? The dog may bark or bite to prevent them from touching a sore spot.

The effects of a dog bite can be devastating. Consult an attorney to understand your legal options if a dog bites you or someone in your family. You cannot possibly understand the workings of every dog’s mind, but owners should understand their dogs and take steps to reduce the risk they may bite a stranger.

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