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3 myths about dogs, debunked

You have young kids, and you want to keep them safe. All parents in their early 30s feel the same way. You've heard the horror stories about dog bites and attacks, and you know that kids are more vulnerable than adults. Well, it's important to make sure you're only buying into the truth, not the common myths that fly around about dog bites and behavior. Below are a few common myths to keep in mind:

A dog who is waging his tail is friendly

This certainly can be true, but it's not always. Don't assume you and your kids should approach a dog just because he's wagging his tail. It can also be an aggressive or defensive signal, telling you not to come closer. It depends on which way he's wagging it. As you face the dog, if the tail swings to the left - which is really the dog's right - then it's a demonstration that he's friendly. If it's going the other way, it means you should keep your distance.

What you must remember is that dogs know this and read it instinctively with each other. The dog doesn't know that most humans don't read it immediately. If you keep approaching, he'll think you're ignoring the warning and take that as an aggressive move on your part.

Only some breeds are aggressive

Larger dogs are often considered more aggressive and more dangerous. The reality is that dogs often become aggressive because of how they're treated. This is true for dogs of all sizes and for all breeds. You don't need to be especially wary of certain breeds and overconfident about others. Just look for the signs and read into how any dog acts.

There is potentially more danger with a large dog, but it's just due to size and power. If that dog is aggressive, your kids could be more seriously hurt. However, it's not the size itself that makes the dog aggressive.

Growling is the only antisocial behavior

As with the first myth, this can be true, but it isn't in every case. Dogs that are antisocial may also show it by cowering in the corner, hiding under the furniture, nipping at guests, or avoiding anyone who comes over. Dogs that look nervous are nervous, and many attacks happen simply because they get scared and feel trapped or cornered. Learn these signs and know what to watch out for when your kids are around a dog, even if it never growls or barks.

Getting compensation

Did a dog attack one of your children? You could be facing high medical bills, and your child could be traumatized and living with permanent scarring. You must know what rights you have to financial compensation.

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