Dog Behavior Specialist Warns of Increase in Dog Bites

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Karen Arnoff, Cleveland, Ohio’s premier dog behavior specialist and expert witness and investigator with dog related legal issues warns that now is the time to watch out for unforeseen dog aggression.

There is never a bite before the first bite - but there are warning signs.

Karen Arnoff, Cleveland, Ohio’s premier dog behavior specialist and expert witness and investigator with dog related legal issues warns that now is the time to watch out for unforeseen dog aggression. “I see more dog bite and other dog aggression cases in the spring and summer than at any other time of year,” says Ms. Arnoff. “And, it makes sense, she says, “if you look at it from the dog’s point of view.” Some of the contributing factors she identifies are:

1. Puppies adopted during the cold winter season may not get socialized to all the stimuli found outside during the summer. They are likely to view playful children, joggers, speeding bikers and moving trucks as prey. In addition, dogs that have not been properly socialized may exhibit not only predatory aggression but defensive aggression as well.

2. In the spring and summer, fall/winter puppies start to reach puberty. With puberty comes territorial marking by them and other dogs. That invisible communication (that is like a neon light to dogs) can be the start of dog fights in the neighborhood.

3. Also, with puberty comes more protective and pack aggression in general.

4. In hotter weather, dogs may become irritable and react aggressively, even to stimuli they previously tolerated. (Children running, noise, etc.).

Dog owners need to know that their dogs’ behaviors are dynamic. And, as their dogs change physically and socially and react to their ever-changing environment, their behavior can also change. Dogs need to be socialized appropriately and receive pro-active anti-aggressiveness training. Ms. Arnoff says, “I often hear bewildered clients say about their dog, “But he never bit anyone before.” But Ms. Arnoff warns, “There is never a bite before the first bite - but there are warning signs. Knowing those warning signs and being proactive can prevent spring/summer dog aggression and many unexpected bites.”

Some of the warning signs are growling and backing away. For more information and other warning signs contact The DOG-OWNER CONNECTION at 440-349-5022.

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Karen Arnoff
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