By Carlos Santiago

Nearly 80 million dogs are owned by U.S. residents. Of these, a majority are well-trained, submissive dogs that are playful, loving, and generally friendly, though there are certain dogs that are more aggressive and tend to be involved in more dog attacks annually. However, depending on the dog and situation, any dog could become aggressive and attack. And, while it is generally a dog owner’s responsibility to restrain their dog and make sure they cannot cause other people harm, knowing why dogs tend to bite and how to avoid these attacks can be extremely helpful should a person find themselves in a situation where they may be attacked by a dog.

Certain dog breeds seem to have more aggressive tendencies, while others may become aggressive under duress. Across the board, some of the most common reasons dogs attack others include the following:

  • Fear – if a dog is worried that it is going to be hurt or that it is in harm’s way, it may become aggressive and more likely to bite. What is important to remember about this type of aggression is that it is based on the dog’s perception of a situation, rather than what may actually be happening. An example of this is when a person tries to pet a dog, but the dog believes the person is going to hit them, thus causing the dog to bite the person.
  • Protection – if a dog believes that it is in harm’s way, or that its owner is, the dog may respond with aggression. This also extends to property that the dog views as belonging to it, such as its yard, bed, or crate. In this situation, the dog may be exercising its dominance and ownership of something or some place.
  • Redirected aggression – when a dog is unable to or believes that it is unable to attack another party, it may direct that aggression towards another party that it believes it can dominate or attack.

All of these factors will depend on the individual dog, however. If a dog tends to be more aggressive in general, these situations will likely provoke a dog more easily into biting a person. While it’s not always possible to avoid being in situations where a dog might become aggressive, there are certain things a person can do to try and avoid being the victim of a dog bite or attack, including:

  • Stay away from unknown dogs
  • Avoid making direct eye contact with a dog
  • Try to stay as still as possible
  • Do not immediately pet a dog without letting it approach you and smell you first

Unfortunately, millions of people are bitten by dogs every year, often causing victims to suffer serious injuries. In such a situation, a person may choose to take legal action with the help of a dog bite lawyer in order to get their medical bills and other losses covered.