Dog Nips vs. Dog Bites - Shuman Legal

Dog Nips vs. Dog Bites

Last updated Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Dog Nips vs. Dog Bites

Understanding the Causes of Consequences of Dog Nips and Dog Bites

A dog is a man’s best friend, but an untrained one can be a liability. You can’t just take a dog off the street and into your home without taking responsibility for training it. They must know how to control and express themselves in a safe way around family members and strangers.

They look up to their owner as their leader to regulate their behavior. If you fail to do this, they might become a danger to others as they grow up. It doesn’t matter if a dog intended it or not, they can seriously hurt someone.

Even a playful nip from a large dog can be agonizing. So dog owners need to address the limits of their playful and protective behavior early.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of addressing nipping behavior and the legal consequences of dog bite injuries.

In this article, we’ll decode some important dog bite statistics, German Shepherd dog attacks, dog aggression and reasons for biting, child dog bite law in Illinois and dealing with liable parties.

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Why Do Dogs Nip?

Here are the main reasons why a dog may nip someone:

  • Playfulness – Puppies and young dogs love to nip things as they learn to explore the world during their teething phase. It’s a playful and curious expression of their youthful energy.
  • Attention-Seeking – Dogs are highly dependent on social interactions for their well-being. Sometimes they like to nip you to get attention.
  • Fear or Anxiety – Dogs may resort to nipping when feeling threatened or scared.
  • Aggression – Dogs may also use nipping as a warning or self-defense mechanism.

Correcting Nipping Behavior

Man walking his Pitbull in IllinoisHere are some essential steps to take to prevent your dog from nipping and hurting someone:

  • Identifying the Underlying Causes – It’s important to understand the root cause of nipping if you want to nip this habit in the bud. You need to observe them carefully during your interactions to see what triggers them to engage in it. They may show signs of discomfort and distress before nipping. Watch out for visual cues like lip-licking, yawning, growling, rigid stance, and tucked-away tails.
  • Redirecting Attention – You can shape your dog’s behavior by programming their attention correctly. Use reward systems to reinforce positive behavior.
  • Correcting Behavior – Establish verbal cues like “no” and “stop” to communicate with your dog. You’ll need to create reward systems initially to make them comply. Give them a treat, bone, or chew toy every time they fall in line. It’s important to maintain consistency in tone and messaging for effective communication.
  • Socializing Your Dog – Most animals are apprehensive about new environments. They fear the unfamiliar. You can counter this by regularly socializing them with new people and other dogs. Take them for walks to new areas to play around. This will help reduce their anxiety and feel safe even when they’re unsupervised.
  • Hiring Dog Trainers– Dog trainers are masters at reading and managing dog behavior. It’s great to hire them during the early years of raising your dog or after adoption.

The Legal Aspects of Dog Biting

A dog nip usually doesn’t cause much harm. It may not necessarily be an act of aggression. However, a nip from a big dog can penetrate your skin easily. It’s best to get the nip wound properly treated and cleaned to avoid infections.

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite or nip, you’re legally entitled to seek compensation from the dog owner for your damages Illinois has strict liability laws for dog owners. It means the dog owner is liable for any injuries caused to someone whether they knew about these behavioral tendencies or not.

Your settlement amount depends on the degree of negligence involved and the severity of your injuries.

Here are some important steps to take if you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog:

  • Ensure you retreat to a safe space away from the dog
  • Clean the wound properly with soap and water and try to control the bleeding
  • Gather visual evidence of your injury and the place where the attack took place
  • Collect contact, insurance, dog vaccination, and veterinarian details from the dog owner
  • Get your injury medically evaluated and treated
  • Document all your expenses tied to the dog bite injury
  • Hire a skilled dog bite injury lawyer

At Shuman Legal, our dog bite attorneys have won multiple settlements for injured victims. We’ll take charge of the whole legal process without charging anything upfront. You don’t have to pay us anything till your settlement is safely sitting in your bank account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can nipping be considered a form of aggression?

Yes. Nipping can be a more passive form of a dog bite as a warning to stay away.

How can I differentiate playful nipping from aggressive nipping?

Playful nipping is usually less painful than aggressive nipping. In the first case, the dog’s body language will continue to be friendly and playful after the nip. However, an aggressive nip will happen quickly followed by the dog walking away or continuing to display aggressive body language.

What are the potential consequences of not addressing nipping behavior?

A dog with poorly regulated habits may become a threat to your loved ones or strangers as they grow up. They may try to assert dominance or become prey to mood swings that trigger aggressive reactions. They can easily hurt someone if you don’t draw clear social boundaries for them.

How can I find a reputable dog behaviorist or veterinarian to help with nipping issues?

Check with dog owners in your neighborhood who have friendly and obedient dogs. They will be able to recommend a good dog behaviorist or veterinarian. You can also look up the highly rated professionals available in your area.

What should I do immediately after a dog bite incident?

Here’s what you need to do after a dog bite:

  • Get to a safe space away from the animal
  • Administer first aid to clean and treat the wound site
  • Take photos and videos of the injury and accident site
  • Exchange valuable details from the dog owner
  • Seek urgent medical evaluation and treatment
  • Document your expenses
  • Hire a reputed dog bite injury lawyer

What kind of compensation can victims of dog bites in Illinois seek?

Here are the types of compensation you can seek if you’ve been injured by a dog bite:

Medical expenses

Lost earnings

Scarring and disfigurement

Pain and suffering

Mental anguish


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