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We own our home, and we have home owner's insurance. I never worried about being sued because of our dogs until Rodrigo began exhibiting reactive behavior. Rodrigo is a Border Collie / Blue Heeler mix who loves cyclists and other dogs. Unfortunately, his excitement when he sees cyclists and other dogs he comes across as a crazy, psycho dog and I can't get him to settle down, so I've made changes to our walking behavior.
1 – We walk early in the morning before the cyclists come out and I keep an eye out for other dog walkers so that I can cross the street. The distance seems to keep Rodrigo calm.
2 – I've trained him and the other dogs to stop racing towards the trail that borders our property when they see cyclists. It was easier than I realized.
3 – I speak up for my dogs and don't allow people to approach us. My dogs don't do well greeting other dogs on leash, especially at the beginning of our walks when they're all amped up. I don't mind offending a few people by saying “no, we can't greet right now.”
But is this enough?
When Your Dog Kills the Neighbor's Chickens
My neighbor has chickens, and my dogs are fascinated by them. I spent all last spring and summer hunting the dogs down and dragging them back across our property line. They loved watching the chickens walking around, and when the rooster came out and fluffed up, my dogs went bonkers.
We feed our dogs a raw diet, which makes them bloodthirsty dogs willing to kill any animal they come across – right? Wrong. It's not the diet that makes my dogs kill rabbits, moles, mice, snakes, and birds. It's their nature. They're dogs. And if a chicken comes rambling onto our property when our dogs are out – it's toast.
What's my exposure? Can I be sued? Absolutely!
Protecting Your Dogs and Your Home
We've been raising dogs for nearly seven years, and although we're not raising breeds that make many insurance companies nervous (see below list from Quote Wizard), we do have to always remember that we're liable for their behavior and actions.
- Alaskan Malamute
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull
- Siberian Husky
- Wolf Hybrid
What makes me nervous are the number of curious strangers who have taken a break from their walk, run, or biking to check out our property. It's creepy to look out the window and see a family walking up to our home – not to knock on the door, but because their kids wanted to see if our property was a park (despite the house that is clearly visible from the trail).
We have had many people come onto our property and then get mad at US because our dogs go running and barking towards them. Yes, I get that it's unnerving to have four dogs running towards you, but I know my dogs, and they just want to let you know that you're trespassing, and then they want to sniff you everywhere to see if you have a dog.
Despite the fact that these people are trespassing, in some states, if they sustain a bite on our property, we're liable. This is six levels of BS and a reminder that we need to be protected.
Protecting Your Dogs
To protect my dogs, I understand that I'm always training. Every day presents an opportunity to not only teach them better impulse control and safe behavior; but I'm also teaching myself patience, consistency, and observation. When I'm outside with my dogs, I have to pay attention to all of the entrances to our property to watch for strangers, I watch for dogs and horses on the trail (these are the biggest temptations for my dogs), and I watch my dogs body movements – if they freeze and remained focused on a stop in the distance, something is coming, and I want to be prepared.
With consistency, my dogs have been doing well. But training isn't enough.
I have had experiences where people felt threatened by my dogs, and I had to protect them from strangers – strangers who were trespassing on our property. This has happened twice, and I scared off trespassers who were about to kick one of my dogs – and my dogs weren't threatening in those moments. I won't allow someone to set up my dogs to bite them to cash in on a payday.
Protecting Our Home
To protect our home, it's important to know our local laws and what our insurance company will cover. I have car insurance through State Farm and home owner's insurance through Allstate. In doing my research for this article, I learned that Allstate practices breed discrimination which will result in a call to our agent's office this week. Although our dogs aren't on the Naught List (see above), we still need to better understand our coverage should one of our dogs kill one of the neighbor's chickens or bites a trespasser.
Why is this so important?
Take a moment and Google dog bite claims. I came across several attorney websites promising millions in settlements to dog bite victims. While I can't imagine my dogs biting anyone, I still want to be prepared.
The Ultimate Guide to Home Insurance for Dog Owners
QuoteWizard.com created a guide to help dog owners better understand home insurance. The guide goes over why we have a need for protection as dog owners, the breeds that make insurance companies nervous, and it gives us ideas on questions to ask when we're shopping for insurance.
Through this guide, I was able to learn what to look for when going over our coverage. Our insurance through Allstate covers our home, structures on our property, our personal belongs, and liability. The liability coverage is what we'll access if someone sues us over after a dog bite. The coverage medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. However, there are limits which we need to be smart about setting when choosing our coverage.
To learn more about your coverage, CLICK HERE to check out the guide today.
This is a sponsored post. I was paid to share my thoughts as a dog owner on liability and home owners insurance. My thoughts are honest and my own. Please note that I only accept guest posts from fellow pet bloggers who feed a raw food diet. Thank you. If you are interested in a sponsored post, please visit my Blog Sponsorship page and contact me for more details.