What Types of Harm Can a Dog Bite Cause?

With a small number of exceptions, dog attacks do not occur randomly or suddenly. From minor bites that don’t break the skin to serious attacks that can have a lifelong impact, most incidents occur when a dog feels that biting is their best reaction. The aggressive dog often displays warning signs prior to attacking, which may include growling, loud barking, or snapping at the air. However, these signs may be missed, particularly if the victim is a young child or unfamiliar with dogs and their warning behaviors.

In this article, we discuss some of the reasons that a dog may attack and the types of injuries that a canine bite can cause. Our goal is to help people understand how to interact with dogs in a safe manner to reduce the risk of bite injuries.

Why Do Dogs Attack?

To some degree, most dog attacks occur when the canine is afraid. The dog may be worried about someone or something encroaching on their space, which can cause them to lash out. When a dog attacks out of fear, it is generally trying to build space between itself and whatever has scared it. Similarly, a dog that is startled may be disoriented or confused enough to attack someone nearby, even an owner or other trusted human. Sleeping canines and dogs that are older with weaker hearing and sight are particularly prone to attacking when alarmed.

A dog that is frustrated or in pain may also be at an increased risk of aggressive behavior. When a dog feels trapped or is overwhelmed by an injury, they may lash out at those around them. If you notice a behavioral shift in your pet, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment with your vet and a local trainer to see whether they are dealing with an undiscovered injury or other problem.

What Factors Determine the Severity of a Dog Bite?

Multiple factors influence how severe a dog bite is, both in the moments following an attack and during the years to come. Some of the factors that can influence the severity of an attack are the bite level, victim’s age, level of medical expenses required, permanency of injuries sustained, and emotional trauma.

Bite Level

Dog bites are classified by veterinarians as animal behaviors, meaning a dog that reaches specific levels of aggression is at risk for committing harmful attacks in the future. The different levels of bites are:

  • Pre-Bite: The dog is aggressive and may bite at the air but does not contact human skin.
  • Near Bite: A dog contacts human skin with their teeth but does not puncture the victim’s flesh.
  • Shallow Puncture: A bite punctures the skin, but only the shallow layers of tissue. A shallow puncture may nonetheless be painful, and the victim is still at risk of rabies or other infectious diseases.
  • Multiple Shallow Punctures: A victim is bitten more than once, but the wounds are not deep.
  • Deep Puncture: The dog bite inflicts serious harm upon the victim, who will likely require at least one surgery to recover fully from the attack.
  • Death: When a dog consumes a victim’s flesh or inflicts a fatal bite, they have reached the highest attack level.

The Victim’s Age

A victim’s age plays an important role in calculating the severity of a dog bite. A bite that would not inflict lasting harm upon an adult may be fatal to a small child. A study done by the National Library of Medicine found that, among bite victims younger than eighteen years old who were bitten in the face, the majority were five years of age or younger. Children struggle to accurately gauge a dog’s mood and demeanor and are oftentimes attacked when they are unable to heed common warning behaviors. Additionally, a young victim may suffer emotional trauma or disfigurement in a dog attack.

Medical Expenses Required

A minor dog bite that doesn’t break the skin will most likely require very little medical attention, if any. However, a severe bite can require multiple surgeries for the victim to fully recover and resume their lifestyle. A dog attack that results in numerous bites may require multiple operations to keep the patient healthy and prevent the risk of infection. Depending on the state in which the attack occurred, the dog’s owner may be held liable for the incident under “strict liability” or “negligence” personal injury laws. Existing and future medical bills may be included in a settlement or verdict in favor of the victim.

Permanency of a Bite Injury

A minor dog bite may cause very little lasting harm, though any attack can be incredibly traumatizing for the victim and their loved ones. However, a more serious attack can cause involuntary amputations (particularly upon fingers and toes), permanent disfigurement, or force the victim to undergo multiple plastic surgeries to restore their appearance following a bite.

Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma is an often-overlooked component of a dog attack. While it’s not a guarantee that everyone who is bitten will be fearful of dogs moving forwards or suffering from psychological effects, many victims will. Some of the emotional impacts of a dog attack can include a fear of animals, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), difficulty working, or a reduced quality of life. Depending on these factors, a dog attack may be more severe than the victim’s physical injuries otherwise indicate.

Protect Yourself by Exercising Caution Around Dogs

Under the exact right circumstances, any dog can be provoked to bite – even the beloved family pet. By staying aware of behavioral warning signs and teaching young children to respect the space of dogs and other animals, you can reduce the risk of being bitten.

Wisconsin’s Unique Dog Bite Law

We like to think that our furry friends would never hurt a fly, but unfortunately dog bites do happen. More specifically, millions of dog bites occur every year in the United States. Each state differs slightly in how they legally address dog bites, and Wisconsin in particular has a fairly unique provision. Let’s first review some of these laws.

Strict Liability

Many states follow the rule of strict liability. This means that dog owners are always liable if their dog bites someone, as long as the victim was not breaking the law, trespassing, or provoking the dog. The strict liability rule applies even if there was nothing that the owner could have done to stop the dog.

This law still varies slightly from state to state. Some states only apply strict liability to incidents on public property, while others only apply it to injured federal workers. Wisconsin follows the normal strict liability law with no exceptions.

One Bite Rule

The “one bite rule” essentially means that each dog gets one free bite before the owner gets in trouble. The thought behind this law is that most owners have no way of knowing that their dog might be dangerous, so they should not be held liable unless they become aware of this knowledge and continue to let it happen.

This law is not currently followed as strictly as it’s described above. These days, if a dog owner has a dangerous breed or otherwise knows their dog could potentially be prone to biting at the moment, they may still be held liable under the one bite rule. It’s very similar to negligence laws in personal injury cases – you have a duty to reasonably protect those around you if you can. In the case of dog bites, that means warning those around you if your dog is aggressive.

So What’s Different in Wisconsin? 

Wisconsin follows the strict liability law, with some specific stipulations for damages. The dog owner is liable for the first bite if they were not aware of the dog’s potential danger, and must pay a fine between $50-2,500 if necessary to cover injuries or property damage. If the owner did know of potential danger and didn’t provide adequate warning, the fine range increases to $200-5,000. This doesn’t just apply to injured humans and damaged property, but also domestic animal injuries, deer injuries, or injuries to game birds and their eggs.

Where Wisconsin law differs significantly from other states is in how much compensation can be recovered. According to injury attorneys Mingo & Yankala, Wisconsin dog owners are actually required to pay twice the amount of compensation that is owed in the dog bite case. This means that the amount of damages determined to be paid to the injured party will get doubled. This only applies if the dog bite was forceful enough to break skin and cause permanent damage AND the owner was aware that the dog had previously bit someone.

These dog bite laws, in both Wisconsin and the rest of the country, are meant to encourage dog owners to be responsible. If you keep others safe from your dog, you don’t need to worry about the consequences of a bite.

How To Get Your Dog Ready For Riding in the Car

Car rides can be an anxious experience for your pup, or they can be enjoyable! At some point your dog will have to take a trip in the car so it’s important to properly prepare them for this and to do it in a way that will decrease their anxiety and increase positive associations with road trips. 

Starting Out Young

Like training and socialization, it’s important to familiarize your dog with riding in the car at a young age. To begin, let your pup explore your vehicle and get accustomed to it while it is off and parked. Let your pup sniff around, sit in the seats, and get used to any harness devices you may use in the car. You can even bring your dog’s favorite toy or treats in the car to ensure it’s a positive experience. 

Next, repeat this but with the car turned on. Allow your dog to get used to the noise of the engine and even the radio.

Short and Frequent Road Trips

Once your pup is accustomed to your car when it’s in park, start by taking short and frequent trips. This could be just driving down the block and back. It’s also important to drive at a slow speed. Not only is this safe but hopefully this helps avoid any car sickness your dog may have. Taking weekly trips is also a great idea.

Another important tip is to take your dog to enjoyable places, not just to the vet. Visit friends, go to the park, or even the pet store to get a treat or new toy. This will ensure your pup creates a positive association with riding in the car, not just unpleasant memories of going to the vet. 

Safety Tips

An essential and vital part of getting your dog ready for riding in the car is making sure they are secure and safe in your vehicle. Just like we can suffer injuries in a car crash, so can our pets. You can purchase specially designed car harnesses and doggy seatbelts for your furry friend. It’s also advised that your dog rides in the backseat to minimize distractions. According to the accident attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, checking on pets in the car is considered a form of distracted driving, and could prove fatal if a collision occurs. Some other safety precautions you should take include ensuring your dog isn’t riding in direct sunlight and bringing food, water, and a leash on your trip.

Another important thing to mention is never leave your dog alone in the car. In the summer, temperatures can quickly reach fatal levels and in the winter your dog could suffer hypothermia if left alone in your vehicle.

Properly preparing your dog for riding in the car is important to do in order to decrease anxiety and fear and create positive memories and associations with car rides. Make sure to start familiarizing your dog with car trips early on and be consistent with taking them on short and frequent rides. Further, make sure that you take the necessary safety precautions so that your dog is properly secured in your car and so that you are prepared for any type of emergency.

The Top 10 Most Pet-Friendly States

If you have a furry friend, you know just how important it is to live in a pet-friendly community. Whether it’s safe sidewalks for walking, dog-friendly parks and beaches, or even pet-friendly restaurants, bars, and stores, residing in a pet-friendly area makes you and your pet’s life easier.

A study published by SafeWise found the most and least pet-friendly states in the U.S. Here we’ll go over the top 10 most pet-friendly states and the metrics used to rank them.

The Most Pet-Friendly States

This study found that the most pet-friendly states were the following:

  1. Indiana
  2. Tennessee
  3. North Carolina
  4. Nevada
  5. Vermont
  6. Oregon
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Missouri
  9. Colorado
  10. Washington

These states were picked as the top 10 most pet-friendly based on a number of factors including, pet population, pet-friendly rentals, and animal laws.  

Pet Population

The overall percentage of pets in a state is an important factor when considering pet-friendliness. The more pets, the more likely local businesses and public areas are pet-friendly. The top 10 states each have a pet population of 59% or more. Out of the top 10 states, Oregon has the highest pet population overall at 70%.

Pet-Friendly Rentals

Every dog and cat owner knows the struggle of trying to find pet-friendly rental housing. Many apartment complexes do not allow pets at all or have breed restrictions. Out of the top 10 states, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana have 44% or more pet-friendly rental options.

Animal Laws

In determining the most pet-friendly states, animal safety laws were analyzed. The types of animal safety laws that helped to rank each state included: laws relating to leaving animals in the car, vet reporting laws, tether laws, anti-cruelty laws, and animal fighting paraphernalia laws.

  • Leaving Animals in the Car

As many of us know, leaving a dog in a hot car without air circulation, water, or food can be extremely dangerous. That’s why 31 states have put laws in place to protect animals from being left in the car.

  • Vet Reporting Requirements

Veterinary reporting requirement laws require vets to report signs of animal cruelty or abuse. Half of the states in the U.S. have these reporting laws in place.

  • Tether Laws

22 states currently have laws regarding abusive and negligent tethering practices. These could include dogs left out in harsh weather conditions, tied up for long periods of time, or the use of constricting collars.

  • Anti-Cruelty Laws

Animal abuse is an unfortunate reality. Anti-cruelty laws are put in place to protect animals and ban convicted abusers from owning animals in the future. 

  • Animal Fighting Paraphernalia Laws

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, half of all U.S. states have laws in place that criminalize the possession of animal fighting paraphernalia. This paraphernalia could include items used to train fighting animals, breaking sticks (used to pry open a dog’s jaw), and gaffs (blades that attach to a rooster’s legs).

Other Interesting Considerations

Other interesting things to consider that were not analyzed in this study include how a state ranks in relation to its animal shelters, as well as, dog attack statistics

Although North Carolina was ranked as the 3rd most pet-friendly state in the country by SafeWise, the state is ranked as the 3rd worst state for shelter animals and as the state with the 4th highest amount of dog bite fatalities

Although not all encompassing, this study did uncover vital information for pet owners when it comes to picking a pet-friendly state to reside in. All things considered, these are extremely important factors for your dog’s health and safety and can help you and your pet live a fulfilling life.

Kennel Cough Outbreak in Florida: What Dog Owners Need to Know

In March, health officials in Miami-Dade County noticed an influx of dogs infected with Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC), commonly known as “kennel cough”. Due to growing concern, county animal services decided to suspend dog adoptions and wellness clinic services on March 23rd. Currently, this outbreak of CIRDC is limited to South Florida, but kennel cough is a common and very contagious respiratory disease. What does all of this mean for you and your furry friend? Read on to learn more.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Flu-like symptoms often accompany kennel cough. This can include a runny nose, lethargy, sneezing, loss of appetite, and the most tell-tale symptom, a “honking” cough. Symptoms usually appear five days after exposure. In mild cases of kennel cough, these symptoms could last up to ten days. Some dogs may not even exhibit symptoms, but can still spread CIRDC.

Kennel cough often has identical symptoms to canine influenza and canine distemper virus, so it’s important to visit your vet if you notice your dog exhibiting any unusual symptoms or behaviors. Your vet can administer a test to see if your dog has kennel cough.

How Does Kennel Cough Spread?

Kennel cough is easily transmittable. It can be spread through airborne droplets, contaminated surfaces, or direct contact. Often outbreaks of kennel cough are seen in places where dogs congregate such as dog parks, boarding and training facilities, and animal shelters. This most recent outbreak in South Florida is thought to have originated from a dog in a shelter with CIRDC.

Kennel cough is very treatable and most dogs recover. Dogs younger than six months of age and those with compromised immune systems may experience more severe cases of the disease. 

Keeping Your Dog Safe

Since kennel cough is so contagious and can be spread by dogs who don’t exhibit any symptoms, it’s hard to know when your dog could be exposed. However, there are some things you can do to decrease the chances that your dog will be infected.

Most cases of kennel cough are caused by the Bordetella bacterium, and there is a vaccine available for this. Dogs who often visit doggy daycare and boarding facilities, as well as agility courses, benefit the most from this vaccine. In fact, most of these types of facilities require proof of vaccination to keep your dog and other canines safe.

Another tip is to consult with your veterinarian if you intend to bring your dog to public places with large groups of animals often, such as dog parks. Your vet can offer safety and training tips to guarantee your dog stays safe. Since kennel cough can be spread by direct contact, good training can ensure your dog listens and stays by your side when in public places

A well-trained dog can also protect you from being held liable in the case that your dog injures another person. You could be found negligent if you lack control of your dog. According to the Florida injury attorneys at LaBovick Law Group, “a party is negligent if that party is careless, and this causes injury or death to others”. Overall, it is in your and your dog’s best interest to start training early on and develop good techniques.

South Florida’s kennel cough outbreak is important to be aware of but doesn’t directly threaten your dog’s health if you take the proper precautions. Keeping your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations, training your dog, and being extra cautious in areas where dogs congregate can help you keep your furry friend safe and healthy.

How to Sort Out Custody of a Pet

A divorce can be extremely traumatic for everyone involved – the adults, the children and even the pets. In many cases, the adults involved will have to figure out a new living and support situation for the dependents involved. 

According to statistics, roughly 1 in 2 children will see their parents’ marriage end. Unfortunately, the number of dogs losing a family unit may be higher. Because of how high these numbers are, it’s important to have a plan in place for how custody and support should be handled going forward. This can include not only the children, but the family’s dog as well. If there are no legal stipulations set, it will be up to the adults to figure out a custodial plan for the pet. Learn more here about how to split custody for your pet.

Pets are Typically Seen as Property

Historically, the law views pets as being considered property, like how a piece of furniture is viewed. According to an Orange County divorce attorney from Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP, “… divorce is more complicated than simply signing papers and entering the next phase of your life. It involves the division of property and assets – which is often confusing and quarrelsome.” During the divorce process, the court would look into who had the most financial input into the care and maintenance of the pet. This would include things such as vet bills, grooming bills, and registration fees. The person that had the most financial investment in the pet would be the most likely to get custody, regardless of emotional attachment. During this process, attorneys may work to prove the following examples: 

  • Present one person as being devoted to the dog, with examples of love and care.
  • Show proof of which client paid most of the veterinary bills
  • Offer proof that the other party neglected or abused the animal
  • Prove that the dispute may be motivated by revenge instead of affection of the dog

What is a Pet Custody & Sharing Agreement?

A pet custody and sharing agreement can be a formal or informal agreement between two parties that outlines the care and housing of a pet. According to tips provided by a family law specialist, these helpful tips can help get to a “new normal” that much quicker.

  1. Have a detailed or evenly overly specific agreement.
  2. Outline the weekly schedule of custody and include who is in charge of the bigger decisions such as emergency medical decisions. 
  3. Make a set agreement on whether an animal can be taken out of state.
  4. If you have a disagreement or are unsatisfied with the custody terms, specify a mediator who can help resolve the situation.

Divorce is hard enough without facing the loss of your furry best friend. Fortunately, many courts today understand the significance of a relationship with a pet and do not take making this decision lightly. With the help of a family law attorney, you can figure out a solution that leaves everyone satisfied.

Connecticut Leash and Dog Bite Laws

Being a dog owner can be an amazing and rewarding experience. Having your furry friend by your side wherever you go not only aids your mental health, but your physical health as well. Research continues to show that owning a dog is beneficial, as they lower your stress levels, decrease the risk of asthma, and have been linked to lower blood pressure. With all of the positive qualities dogs bring into our lives, it’s important to note that owning a dog is a big responsibility and comes with its own challenges. Being aware of the rules and regulations when it comes to dog ownership is vital to maintaining a happy and healthy relationship with your dog and aiding in your dog’s sociability. Here we go over leash and dog bite laws in Connecticut that every dog owner in the state should know.

Leash Laws

In Connecticut, your dog is not allowed to roam on another person’s property, the sidewalk, public highways, or state parks. This indicates that your dog must be in your control and leashed in these places. Violators may be punished with a fine. 

It’s also important to note that any roaming dog, dog without a tag, or unleashed dog can be taken into custody by animal control. In this case, the dog will be taken to the city pound.

Dog Bite Laws

Many states follow a one-bite rule. This means that the dog must have a history of aggressiveness for the bite victim to have grounds for a claim. The dog must have bitten someone in the past or the owner must have known their dog had a propensity for aggressive behavior but failed to prevent the attack. However, Connecticut does not follow this one-bite rule.

According to the legal team at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, Connecticut is a strict liability state, meaning that the victim doesn’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or the dog had a history of aggression. If the bite victim was lawfully on public or private property and did not provoke the dog, the dog owner is completely responsible for the injury.

In Connecticut, after a dog bites an individual, the dog must be quarantined for 14 days. Animal control officers may order the dog to be restrained or euthanized. Further, dog bite victims are immune from criminal and civil liability for causing fatal injuries to the dog if the attack happens off of the dog owner’s premises.  

Keep Your Dog Safe and Happy

When it comes to leash and dog bite laws, it’s simple to help your dog remain safe and to avoid liability. Keep your dog properly leashed when in a public place, and make sure your dog is well socialized to avoid any type of aggressive behavior. Proper socialization and training is best done when your dog is a puppy, and if you follow the right steps and dedicate the time and effort, you will have a healthy and happy dog that will be a priceless addition to your life.

Exploring the Statistics on Fatal Dog Attacks in the United States

When properly trained, taken care of, and supervised, dogs can be wonderful pets and companions for people of all ages. From working breeds to the loveable household pooch, dogs have earned a place in homes and workplaces across the greater United States. However, it’s important to remember that all dogs can cause considerable harm when startled, attacked, or provoked.

A study by DogsBite.org revealed that an average of 14,025 U.S. citizens are hospitalized annually due to dog bite injuries. By understanding the basics of dog behaviors and warning signs, you may be able to avoid a potential bite or protect a loved one from harm. We took a closer look at recent data on dog attacks in the U.S. to better understand why dog attacks arise and how the risk of serious injury can be reduced.

What Factors Make a Dog More Likely to Attack?

Although there are always exceptions, canines frequently attack when they feel cornered, frightened, or threatened. Nearly three out of five dog bite victims are children younger than fifteen years old. Of this particularly vulnerable demographic, roughly two-thirds of the bite victims are young boys. It is theorized that one of the reasons that children are attacked so much more frequently than adults is because of their inability to understand a dog’s body language.

A stressed, aggressive, or fearful canine often displays warning behavior before biting. The dog may:

  • Bite at the air
  • Show bared fangs
  • Face the potential victim with a tall, widened stance
  • Stand with a slowly moving tail and stiff ears
  • Snarl or bark aggressively and repeatedly

In many situations, these warning signs are enough to alert an adult to the potential danger, and they can get away from the dog before being attacked. However, during a study published in the Journal of Nursing, Social Studies and Public Health, only one in three children recognized the behavioral signs of a fearful dog. Overall, the study’s participants only identified a dog’s emotion correctly 17% of the time. Without the ability to accurately recognize potentially dangerous situations, children frequently bear the brunt of an aggressive dog’s attack.

What Age Range Suffered the Most Fatal Dog Attacks in 2020?

Breaking down DogsBite.org’s data from 2020, the most recent year for which fatal U.S. dog bite statistics are available, we see that nearly one of three victims of fatal dog attacks throughout the year were aged 0-9. Young adults suffered multiple lethal attacks, with six victims falling into the 10-18 or 19-29 age rank. Three of these victims were fatally attacked by pit bulls.

Fatal U.S. Dog Attacks by Victim Age Range in 2020

Which Dog Breeds Caused the Most Fatalities From 2005 to 2020?

When the term “dog bite” comes to mind, you probably don’t think of your neighbor’s cuddly Pomeranian. Most life-threatening dog bites come from large, strong dog breeds. However, a dog’s size and bite force does not necessarily make it any more likely to be aggressive. An individual canine’s training (or lack thereof), environment, and temperament offer strong insights into their potential to attack. We were able to gather data on fatal dog attacks from 2005 through 2020 to see which breeds were responsible for the majority of lethal bite incidents.

As displayed in the graph below, pit bulls caused the most deaths over the sixteen-year timeframe by far, with 380 fatal attacks. With 51 lethal bite incidents over the same period, Rottweilers caused the second-most deaths. Nearly 62% of the victims were under the age of nine, with just over 36% of the bite victims falling into the age range of 0-2.

Fatal U.S. Dog Attacks By Breed from 2005 to 2020

Can Dog Attacks Be Avoided or Redirected?

It’s important to remember that not all dog attacks are preventable. While dogs do frequently alert their potential victim via their behavior, posturing, or by snarling aggressively, some canines may bite unexpectedly or with very little warning. If you become aware of a dog displaying threatening behavior, try your best to remain calm and encourage anyone near you to do the same. Dogs may instinctively attack if you respond fearfully. Never turn your back or run from the aggressive canine. Some dog trainers recommend making yourself appear bigger and avoiding eye contact.

If you can safely and calmly put distance between yourself and the canine, do so. If the dog attacks, yell for help right away. If additional passerby come to your aid, the dog may be scared off. An attacking canine will often clamp onto the first thing they bite. If you’re carrying something or wearing a loose article of clothing, try and redirect the dog’s attack with it. Should the dog bite you and latch on, don’t try and force it off you. It may not be dislodged, and your wounds may be worsened. Attempt to subdue the dog, thus encouraging it to release you.

When a dog bites, the victim should always visit a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible. If the dog has a virulent infection, such as rabies, even a minor bite wound may cause serious injury or death.

New Utah Bill Will Protect Pets in Domestic Violence Situations

While domestic violence is not a new issue, different organizations and members of society have brought to light the impact it can have on both the people and pets nearby. With the isolation brought on by COVID-19 lockdowns, the problems of domestic violence and animal cruelty were brought to the forefront.

 

 In many domestic violence situations, people often deal with partners who not only abuse them, but who also enjoy hurting the things that are meaningful to them, such as their pets. A new bill in Utah may add an extra layer to the beloved pets of survivors of domestic violence. According to a Boulder domestic violence defense attorney, “Every year in the United States, more than 10 million men and women become victims of domestic violence.” Because of how common pet ownership is, this bill is important for many leaving an abusive situation. 

 

The Protection of Animal Amendments bill for the 2022 Legislative Session allows people to add their pets to their protective orders upon leaving an abusive relationship. The House approved the bill by a 69-2 vote. According to Utah Rep., Angela Romero, “I know so many people who their pets are their world, you know. And so I want to make sure that I’m providing that security for a lot of these individuals trying to leave that situation.” 

Hopefully, the rest of the states will follow Utah’s lead and introduce a similar bill as this is extremely beneficial for survivors of domestic violence and their pets everywhere. Learn more about how tense households and divorce can affect pets, specifically dogs, here.

How to Train Your Dog to Ride in a Motorcycle Sidecar

When driving down a busy road, it’s hard not to notice a dog riding shotgun as a passenger. If the dog happens to be riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle, that usually requires a double take. If you prefer to ride a motorcycle than drive your car, there are ways to include your four-legged friend on your future road trips. One of these ways is to add a sidecar to your two wheeled vehicle. If you’re interested in learning how to train your dog to safely ride along in a sidecar, keep reading!

 

Before You Start Training

It’s important not to make this process stressful for the dog in the beginning. Do not immediately strap the dog in and think you’re “good to go”. Being immediately restrained in a new environment can be terrifying for an animal and immediately create a sense of resentment. The end goal of this training is to teach the dog that the sidecar is a safe place to be and riding along is a fun activity.

 

Training can happen at any age, but it’s best to start early as puppies are open to new learning experiences. Before you get started, make sure you have these supplies on hand:

  • Treats
  • Canine Safety Harness 
  • Dog Safety Goggles

How to Train Your Dog to Ride in a Sidecar

Step 1: Introduce your dog to the sidecar

With the motorcycle turned off and in a safe, non-busy parking lot, lead your dog to the sidecar with treats. By doing this, the dog will associate the sidecar with tasty treats and will be happy to get in.

Step 2: Switch on the motorcycle

After the dog is comfortable and seated, simply turn on the motorcycle without moving so he/she can get used to the noise and feel the vibrations. According to the team of Lexington motorcycle accident attorneys at Gary C. Johnson, Attorneys at Law, P.S.C., “… A major downside to riding motorcycles is that the injuries from a potential accident can be devastating.” It’s important to take every precaution before getting on the open road to ensure there is minimal chance for a traffic accident.

Step 3: Build the dog’s confidence

While seated in the side car, continue to give the dog praise and treats. At this point, practice driving at low speeds in an abandoned parking lot to get the dog used to the motions. During this time gauge the dog’s reaction. If they seem fearful, take notice of how long they can be in the sidecar and in motion before they seem uncomfortable. 

Step 4: Focus on short rides initially

Build up the length of rides over time instead of immediately planning a long road trip. Quick cruises around the neighborhood or in empty parking lots gives the dog time to get used to riding in the sidecar. During this time, the dog should be strapped in and wearing their goggles to associate these items with riding in the sidecar.

 

For this type of training, it’s important to be patient and understand that it will take time for your dog to be comfortable with this new form of transportation. If you force your dog into this new situation with little to no preparation, this could result in a serious motorcycle or car accident in the future. If you find yourself involved in an accident while driving, reach out to Gary C. Johnson, a Lexington personal injury lawyer or an experienced attorney in your area.