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4 Reasons A Dog May Bite

Dogs are still one of the most popular pets in the world. For people living during the pandemic era, their four-legged friends can be irreplaceable family members, providing loyalty and companionship without asking for anything in return.

Unfortunately, for all the love and devotion that dogs have for their owners, they are still animals. That means occasionally, even if they are domesticated, they can act outside the boundaries we’ve set for them. In some instances, it also means they can cause harm to others in the form of dog bites.

For dog owners, such incidents can have serious legal ramifications. Because a dog is an animal, it is not considered responsible for its actions, so dog owners must answer for any wrongdoing their canine has done. If a dog has bitten or attacked someone, resulting in injury or even death, the dog owner is often held legally responsible. But why do dog bites occur? Are the causes unpredictable, and can no one control them? Here are four of the most common causes of dog bites.

Prey Drive

This is one of the most common reasons that dog bites, and it is a frequent cause here in Florida. Dogs are predators, meaning that in a natural setting, they get most of their food by killing and eating other animals. As a result, their instincts are finely tuned to exploit the advantages they have when hunting, and speed often spells the difference between failure and success.

Prey drive is what puts a dog in hunting mode, where it is focused on making a kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. Seeing something flee, such as a child or a jogger, can often be enough to trigger a dog’s prey drive.

Maternal Instinct

A good mother loves and protects her children; the same is true when it comes to dogs. Even the friendliest dog in the world may, under certain circumstances, become fierce and even aggressive if she thinks her children are under threat.

With a litter of puppies, some dogs may become extra protective. People the dog doesn’t know or regular family members who act too rashly may be on the receiving end of a bite or an attack if they do not approach the puppies properly or if the mother decides that someone is getting too close to the litter. Very young children with no understanding of how to interact with puppies can inadvertently become bite victims in that scenario.


Dogs, like people themselves, have possessions and territories. These may include a house, a small object such as their favorite toy, or even a person. When dogs feel like their territory is not being respected or is being invaded, they may respond quickly to demonstrate that no one should mess with their territory, and this often takes the form of a bite or an attack.

Depending on the situation, invasion of territory can be interpreted from any action such as wandering into the backyard, picking up a toy, or interacting with someone else in the household. The provocation a dog decides to take for an invasion of territory depends entirely on what the dog deems their territory and how someone’s interaction with it takes place.

Pain Reaction

Like most living things, dogs react badly to getting hurt, and they will retaliate if someone causes them pain first. In some instances, this may be intentional, such as dog owners who believe in disciplining an animal by hitting it.

In other less clear-cut cases, the action may not be intentional at all. A child who doesn’t know how to handle pets, for example, may accidentally strike a dog, resulting in a retaliatory bite. A dog with a physical condition, such as hip dysplasia, may also feel pain when someone unknowingly pets the affected area too hard, leading to the same violent outcome.

Protect Yourself

Owners are legally responsible for the attacks done by their dogs. They can be taken to court for negligence regarding dog bites. If you feel that a dog owner did not take proper precautions with their pet and it resulted in a dog bite, talk to a dog bite lawyer about your case.