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Circumstances That May Cause the Family Dog to Bite

Humans are complicated. Even a good friend under some circumstances, can become remote, moody, and possibly annoyed at one’s approach. Mob behavior is another example of behavioral contrast where law-abiding people can get swept up by the passions of the moment. Dogs are no less complicated. Unlike people, however, they lack our cognitive abilities that control the baser instincts. This is why one’s loyal and loving pet dog can bite other people in a variety of circumstances. These include:

Circumstances That Elicit Prey Behavior

Dogs become excited when a person behaves like a prey animal. Running away from a dominant or aggressive dog encourages it to give chase and bite. This instinct is triggered even more strongly when the person is a small child who runs away out of fear.

Circumstances That Elicit Pack Behavior

The dog’s ancestor hunted in packs. This strong instinct, called pack behavior, remains to this day in all dogs. Unrestrained dogs away from their owners’ influence behave more aggressively in packs than singly. The larger the size of the pack, the more aggressive their behavior. An extremely dangerous combination occurs when a small person exhibits prey behavior among a pack of dogs.

Circumstances That Elicit Protectiveness

Dogs will protect their possessions. This is especially true of their food when eating. They are often territorial and will protect their owners’ property. They may also protect their owners against a perceived threat such as when a person gets into an argument with its owner, or when a neighbor’s child engages in rough play with a child that belongs to the same household as the dog.


Dogs behave aggressively when they’re feeling pain. This is a survival instinct that prevents other predators from exploiting the dog’s injury and resulting weakness. While most adults are aware of this instinct, small children are not.

Unfamiliarity with a Stranger

Dogs feel discomfort around unfamiliar people, which may cause them to act aggressively. This is why many attacks occur to people new to the household where a dog resides. The reverse is also true. When a dog’s owner leaves him under the care of another person in an unfamiliar house, the stressed dog may act aggressively if provoked.

The above discussion describes perfectly normal canine behavior. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure you have adequate animal liability coverage. Does your insurance company cover your pet’s breed? Are the limits of the policy sufficient? If you require animal liability insurance or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Rick LindseyAuthored by Rick J. Lindsey, President, Chairman, and CEO of XINSURANCE

Rick J. Lindsey hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working in the mailroom of his father’s Salt Lake City insurance firm, getting his introduction to the business that became his lifelong career. Rick J. Lindsey quickly rose through the ranks while working in nearly every imaginable insurance industry job. As an entrepreneur, specialty lines underwriter, claims specialist, risk manager, and a licensed surplus lines broker, Rick J. Lindsey is highly skilled in all levels of leadership and execution. As he progressed on his career path, Rick J. Lindsey discovered an urgent need for insurers willing to write policies for high-risk individuals and businesses. He was frequently frustrated that he could not provide the liability protection these entities desperately needed to safeguard their assets. He also formed the belief that insurance companies acted too quickly to settle frivolous claims. Rick J. Lindsey decided to try a different approach. He started an insurance company and became the newly formed entity’s CEO. This opportunity has enabled Rick J. Lindsey to fill a void in the market and provide a valuable service to businesses, individuals, and insurance agents who write high-risk business. XINSURANCE also specializes in helping individuals and businesses who live a lifestyle or participate in activities that make them difficult for traditional carriers to insure. If you’ve been denied, non-renewed, or canceled coverage, don’t give up quite yet. Chances are XINSURANCE can help.