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Is it the breed or the breeding that leads to dog bites?

Many New Jersey residents might know already that of the 4 million dog bites each year, about half involve children, and some of these lead to serious injury or disfigurement. In light of this, New Jersey pet owners and other residents may be interested to hear what one pet expert has to say about what leads up to a dog bite on a child.

The woman indicates that, statistically, there are definitely breeds that tend to bite more often. Surprisingly, smaller animals like Dachshunds and Chihuahuas are more prone to bite than are the famous "bad dogs" like Rottweilers. Of course, the larger dogs can do more damage when they do bite because of their size, but people should not underestimate the hazards that even a small breed of dog can present.

The dog expert points out, however, that breed is not the only factor that determines whether a dog is likely to bite. Another important element in the equation is whether the dog has been exposed to children in such a manner that the dog knows how to behave appropriately around them. Without proper socialization, a dog may find a small child's movement threatening and respond with a bite.

In New Jersey, it is a pet owner's responsibility to ensure that his or her dog does not bite another person, especially a child. Pet owners may want to think twice before taking on a breed of dog that is prone to biting, particularly if the dog will be around children. Furthermore, it may be helpful to put the animal through proper training while the animal is still young enough to learn how to relate well to children.

If a pet owner does not take reasonable precautions and his or her dog bites a child or anyone else, the owner may be liable to pay the bite victim or the victim's family compensation for the injuries that result.

Source: The Patriot-News, "Early socialization to children can prevent dog bites, but breed matters too," Karen Steinrock, Sept. 6, 2013.

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