This case involves a dog that attacked a woman pushing a stroller with 2 children. The owner of a German Pinscher was feeding his dog on his front lawn without a fence. The dog was on a chain and the owner was withholding the food from the dog in an attempt to train its obedience. A woman was walking on the sidewalk in front of the house pushing a stroller with 2 small children when the dog suddenly broke off its chain. The dog bit the leg of one of the children and then bit the arm of the mother as she tried to smack the dog away. The child suffered a serious infection from his injuries. The dog did not have a history of biting and was typically kept in a pen. An expert in dog behavior was sought to comment on preventative measures.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in training and taking care of dogs.
- 2. What situations might prompt a dog that is otherwise non-aggressive to bite a human?
- 3. When feeding a dog, what steps should be taken to ensure the safety of those near the dog?
Expert Witness Response E-223588
I have owned dogs all of my life and have trained dogs professionally for almost 10 years. I specialize in behavioral issues, specifically aggression and reactivity, and have consulted with many individuals, rescues, shelters, and breeders regarding issues with dogs in their care. I own my own boarding and training facility where I frequently see dogs for training after they have gone through quarantine following a bite incident. There are many situations that may cause a dog to bite no matter their previous behavioral history. Resource guarding (guarding food/toys/people/property) is extremely common with dogs, and dog bites are much more common when food is involved. Dogs should be desensitized early on to interaction while feeding to properly ensure safety later in life. However, in general, dogs should be left alone while eating and interaction with someone other than their caretaker while the dog is being fed should not be allowed. I have worked on many bite cases in the past.