This post was reviewed by Nicholas A. Battaglia, Esq., an attorney licensed in New York and New Jersey. He is owner and legal content writer for a law practice marketing firm and a realty group focusing on new construction builds in upstate New York, where he lives with his lovely wife and his counselor-at-bark Flora, a mixed breed rescue.
Do guard dogs automatically have vicious propensities? Yes, they automatically have it because they are trained to have that kind of behavior. Although usually guard dogs are kept leashed or are inside their cages within the fences of the owners.
Their main objective is to drive away strangers or intruders when they attempt to go within the property, so they are expected to have vicious tendencies.
Having a guard dog at home could give you your sense of security and safety. While dogs have diverse attitudes based on their breeds, even the cutest one could be vicious if trained.
Well, I would want a guard dog myself, but I’m not too fond of loud noises, so I chose not to have one, but my uncle does. Their dog would bark at us every time we visit him.
You probably wonder what a guard dog is, and what do you mean by saying “vicious propensities?”
Well, look no further than this article as we will tackle all about guard dog behavior, breed, tendencies, and legal liability when it comes to dog bites.
What Is A Guard Dog
What is a guard dog? You probably are thinking that it is a dog that guards. Well, that is one way to say it, but there is more to that.
A guard dog is a dog that barks very loud to drive away or restrain people and animals. They may bark loud at first, but if barking doesn’t work, they will attack.
Choosing A Guard Dog
Whether you are interested in purchasing or having a guard dog, you should know these several factors from which type of guard dog you want.
You may start with the kind of breed, its characteristics, and of course, you should also know how to train them yourself.
Good guard dog breeds
There are several breeds of dogs that may fit the role of a guard dog. Although having a versatile breed of dogs could also be an option.
The following are some versatile breeds:
- German shepherd
- Swiss mountain dog
- Tibetan mastiff
And more from where you can choose from; many of these dogs are bred to serve many purposes. These species are flexible, so you could either make them your family’s house pet or an outstanding guard dog.
You may also choose the following dog breeds:
- Anatolian shepherd
- Mid-Asian shepherd
- Canary dog
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dog Argentino
We’ve laid out the best breed of dogs that would make an excellent guard dog for you. All you have to know is their behavior. Of course, you have to know this to train them.
5 Most Dangerous Breeds In Ohio
Here is the list of the most dangerous dogs you can find in Ohio:
Pit bulls are considered as one of the dangerous breeds of dogs. Because of their black and big appearance, their physic makes you scared to look at them. Some argued that pit bulls are not all the same.
These dogs were initially bred for baiting bears and bulls which explains their behavior.
#2. Tosa Inu
Tosa Inu is also referred to as Japanese Mastiff. This breed is one of the most giant breeds from the Tosa region in Japan’s Kochi prefecture. In Japan, the breed is used for dog war, making it harbor malicious actions and aggressiveness.
Rottweiler is also considered to be one of the most dangerous breeds of dogs in Ohio. This breed is originally bred to herd animals. It is also known for its brute strength and aura when provoked.
If you see this type of dog, trust me, you would want to avoid teasing it. The dog’s attack may result in fatal injuries.
#4. Cane Corso
Cane Corso is a family of the Mastiffs. It is an Italian breed of mastiff known for its packed bite that could result in severe damage.
They mostly used it in weaponized animal warfare during the Roman period. It has a history of being a guard dog and livestock in the early times.
#5. Dogo Argentino
While Corso is an excellent threat to invaders, Dogo Argentino is an even major threat. Its large size and intimidating physic have been used as a wonderful guard dog breed. Although because of this history, some cities ban this breed of dog.
Characteristics Of A Guard Dog
Physical appearance plays a significant role when it comes to guarding dogs. Although their attitudes make the difference, the first impression is made up of looks. Just imagine if you see a huge dog near the gate. The first thing that comes into your mind is to stay away from that dog.
Guard dogs may have different guarding styles based on their breeds. Some may bark at first then attack if deemed necessary. But others would wait until their owner tells them to attack.
A dogs’ breed could be a huge deciding factor for finding the right characteristics that will suit your preferences. Do guard dogs automatically have vicious propensities? When we say vicious propensities, it refers to the dog’s behavior like constant barking and a series of attack histories.
Attack history may include dog bites, attempted to bite, or actions that show that they may attack or injure a person anytime if left unsupervised.
One way to make a specific breed act as a guard dog is to train them. When it comes to guard dogs, you should first teach them about obedience. Show them who the master is.
Your dogs must be able to recognize basic obedience commands and will follow you every command. From sit, lie down, bark, and leave.
A Case With A Guard Dog Bite
When it comes to dog bites, an owner is deemed liable for the damage incurred by the dog no matter what the circumstances are. But guard dogs have a different case, and you can be free of liability if your guard dog bit someone trespassing your property.
Let’s see what happened in this case:
In Andrea COLLIER v. Charles ZAMBITO et al., Court of Appeals of New York, February 17, 2004, the plaintiff, together with his son, visited the defendant’s house. They have visited the said house several times before the accident.
The defendant always put his dog with a guard dog breed inside the kitchen because it tends to bark whenever someone is visiting their house. When the plaintiff came out from the bathroom, the defendant invited him to approach the dog for him to be smelled.
The defendant knew that his dog has vicious propensities that could be triggered anytime. He still let the plaintiff approached the dog. While the plaintiff was coming towards the dog, the dog plunged at him, resulting for him to fall.
The defendants claimed that their dog has never bitten anyone, so they plead innocence over the incident. With that thought, the case was dismissed because the plaintiff failed to state a cause of action.
The owners were not liable because their dog’s behavior did not show any of the alleged vicious propensities, as the plaintiff stated based on both testimonies. Following this case, the defendant was saved from liability since there is a lack of evidence to cause action.
But what should be an owner’s responsibility? In what instances is a dog could be considered to have vicious propensities? And in what situations could the owner be liable? We’ll answer these questions one by one.
Responsibilities Of A Dog Owner
To be a responsible pet owner is more than just sustaining the dog’s essential needs. A pet owner could also be referred to as a pet parent since they are the ones who provide the needs of the pet.
Pet owners have two primary responsibilities; provide adequate and proper necessities and liability for the pet’s damages and harm.
Here are other
#1. Providing necessities
When it comes to sustaining or raising someone, it is a given fact that you have responsibilities over it. It is true, especially with pet owners. To be considered a responsible pet owner, giving them their needs and providing them the following will give you the title you want.
We people want to have exercise to have a healthy body. It is also a must to give your proper pets training every day. That is to ensure that they will have a fit and healthy lifestyle. Playing is a good way to exercise. It will not only train your dog but your body as well.
Every living being tends to get diseases and die off or suffer if not treated immediately. So it is also a must to ensure regular checkups with your attending veterinarians. A physically fit and healthy pet could give you peace of mind.
One way to establish bond and control over dogs is to train them. It is a good way to use this time as exercise or make your dog obey your commands. That way, you will have no worries when certain situations arise that you have to stop your dog, especially in bite instances.
Of course in raising, comes feeding. It would help if you provided your pet proper and healthy meals in an adequate amount.
To ensure a healthy meal, having a balance of nutrients is a must. Visiting your veterinarian could be a great way to ask what types and kinds of food to give your dog.
When it comes to sanitation, it is also a must to clean after your pet. Having your dogs drop litter everywhere will not only inconvenience you but the neighborhood too. No matter what the case is, always bring garbage bags whenever you go out on a walk.
Like a parent, you must ensure the safety of your child. It is your responsibility to keep your pets safe by providing shelter and proper care and love. Another is to keep your community safe from your pet. Ensure that your pet won’t attack anyone. An attack could make you liable, especially if it results from biting.
Legal Responsibilities As Dog Owners
Legal responsibilities are established to maintain peace in the community and comfort for everyone. Abiding with the laws that govern your area when it comes to owning a pet will give you both security and safety against lawsuits and potential costs.
It is your responsibility to get your dog vaccinated on time. Since you cannot foresee situations that your dog may bite someone, it is a must to get it vaccinated. Don’t let your dog be the reason to inflict rabies to anyone. Again, be a responsible owner!
#2. Public places
There are some areas in the community wherein dogs can freely play around. Others don’t—knowing which place where you can unleash your dog can help you avoid lawsuits and liabilities.
#3. Establishing identity
Some areas require pet owners to submit a registration form for their pets. It is to establish their pet’s identities for easier identification when circumstances like lost pets arise.
It will not only help you find your pet when they’re lost, but it is also easier for victims of biting incidents to find the ones liable for their injuries.
#4. Assisting the dog bite victim
The owners are responsible for the damage and harm caused by their pet, whatever the case is. It is a must to help the victim of the dog bite and be responsible enough to compensate for the damages and medical bills if the injury needs medical attention.
#5. Abide the laws
Before you abide by the laws concerning your pet, it is a must to know it in the first place. These laws are executed to protect the pet and the owner. Abiding by these laws is easy as long as you follow them diligently. Well, following the rules will also save you from possible lawsuits that may arise.
A victim of a dog attack should be compensated if the owner had known or noticed his or her dog had vicious propensities. You couldn’t sue an owner with a simple display of negligence. But what are these vicious propensities?
Vicious propensities are a display of malicious behavior. Constant barking is considered malicious behavior, for instance. But how are we going to determine if the dog has vicious propensities? And how are we going to prove that the said dog has vicious propensities?
Vicious propensity in most cases is the dog’s constant display of aggressiveness. It is established by showing previous records of bite incident or an attack. Even an attempted attack could be considered vicious if the dog did it aggressively. It can be demonstrated through the dog’s direct display of action.
A testimony of neighbors, vet records, or other pieces of evidence of detectives after investigation could be considered as pieces of valid evidence to prove that the dog has vicious propensities.
So if you have a case with dogs that have alleged vicious propensities, gathering witnesses and testimonies that could prove the same could help you win the case. In some instances, dogs’ breed is a deciding factor to determine that the said animal has vicious propensities.
It causes further investigation if the said animal has records of being vicious for the case to have a cause of action. Anyway, it is what’s lacking in the case we discussed above. Although the said dog has a breed that could have these behaviors, it is still questioned to have malicious actions.
It is because training the dog could remove those conducts. Even if that dog has the most vicious tendencies, one could still be as docile as the others.
Liability And Safety Tips For Dog Owners
As mentioned above, dog owners are responsible for the damages and injuries that their pets have caused, especially if the owner knows that their pet has vicious and aggressive tendencies resulting in these damages and injuries.
So how will you be able to understand your liabilities?
Dog bite statute
Given in all circumstances, no matter what happens, the dog owners will be held liable for any injury or property damage that their pet dogs caused. Whether or not the dog was provoked, it is the dog owner’s responsibility to compensate for the inconveniences it has caused.
One bite rule
Once an animal displays a vicious propensity, the owner of the dog is held liable. Some states have not implemented this one-bite rule, but the owners are responsible for injury, especially when the dog has previously bitten someone.
Trespassers are exceptions
The liability of the owner does not extend to trespassers of the property. However, the owners are still legally responsible for the victim’s injury. Reimbursement of the medical bills and lost wages is proper for the dog owners. Not only that, but owners may also be responsible for the damaged properties.
Insurance can work in many ways. It can lessen your bills when your dog has bitten or injured someone. There have been many cases of dog bites that are covered by insurance. So it is also a good idea to get insurance for your dog’s future victims, not that we want some.
Tips For Dog Owners
To avoid instances of your dog biting someone, here are a few simple tips for you.
- Don’t let your dogs run loose
- Train your dog
- Never leave them unsupervised
- Socialize dogs with various people
If A Dog Is About To Bite You
Dogs are generally known to be a man’s best friend, but we can’t be sure if that saying applies to everyone. You may train some dogs to be friendly, and some are kept for the owner’s safety. So it is a must to know how you can handle situations wherein a dog may attack you anytime.
Respect a dog space
Never place your hand inside the dog’s fence or cage. Dogs are very protective, especially to their owners and their territory scope, so it is best to avoid trespassing their space.
Don’t ever think of touching a dog while eating, sleeping, or taking care of its puppies. They tend to be overprotective during these times.
Off leashed dogs
A dog that has no leash roaming and running around could be a frightening sight for some people. So if you happen to have experienced a dog approaching you, never attempt to run away nor yell. The dog may be startled and cause you to jump or bite you.
In these cases, you need to stand still and keep your hand close to your body. Avoid any eye contact with the dog and look down or do not look at the dog. Wait till the dog loses interest in you and walks away. Acting upon the appearance of the dog may cause you unwanted damages.
Getting sick makes you uncomfortable around others. It is the same when it comes to dog behaviors. Sick dogs and the old ones tend to get more irritated than usual, especially when there are people around them. It is best to avoid these types of dog for both yours and the dog’s safety.
How would you know if the dog is about to bite you? Here are some signs to look out for:
- His tail is moving back and forth stiffly, and his body is tense
- The dog is looking at you from the corner of its eye
- Its nose id curled and wrinkled with lips revealed its teeth
- Growling or snarling dog
Do guard dogs automatically have vicious propensities? Yes, they have. However, there are some circumstances when a breed is one of a guard dog’s deciding factors. Anyway, others consider this breed to be docile, especially if it is trained to be one.
Whatever the case is, it is always important to observe appropriate preventive measures whether you are the owner or the victim of the dog bite incident. Prevention is never a bad idea, so you must make a move to lessen the future effects of these cases.