When you first bring your puppy home, it is hard to imagine it could ever be the source of a lawsuit.  However, if you do not socialize your puppy from a young age with both new people and new dogs, your puppy could grow up to be dangerous to others.  Dogs are protective of their owners.  You should, from a very young age and with vet approval, take your puppy everywhere you possibly can to get him used to all kinds of scents and noises as well as strangers (both canine and human).

In my law practice, which focuses on injury cases, I see many dog bite and dog attack incidents.  Usually, the perpetrating dog is really the victim of its human owners and their failure to properly train and socialize their dog.  Some choose to use a puppy school to start this process which is a great idea.  If you have time to own a dog, you owe it to your pet as well as the public to make sure your dog is friendly and sociable.  Exposure from a young age to strangers of all ages and sizes plus other dogs is the best way to do this.

I am sad to report that there are many irresponsible dog owners who have isolated their dogs and this leads to problems later.  There is an instinct, as the dog gets older, to isolate it if it has a habit of barking, jumping up or growling.  This makes the problem worse rather than better.  The easiest time to socialize your dog is when he is a puppy and least capable of doing harm.  And the bigger the dog, the more harm it can cause generally, although small dogs are plenty capable of biting.  Large dogs can knock people down and bite.

Make no mistake-I am a lifelong dog (and animal) lover, but when I handle a case for a victim of a dog attack it is usually due to irresponsible human owners of the attacking dog.  In many of my cases I have felt terrible for the perpetrator animal which has been abused, neglected or isolated by its owners.  I view this as a human-caused issue  in most cases.

Socialize your puppy-prevent future lawsuits
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