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What if a dog bites you?

asked 2014-12-27 09:08:00 -0500

Does Rover insurance cover you if you get bit by a dog your watching? I have a dog here now who is showing signs of very bad food aggression that the owners did not mention. She snarls and shows teeth as you put the food down and lunges if your near her while she's eating. I've taken to feeding her in a whole separate room by herself to minimize her contact while food is out. But if I were to get bit would it be covered?

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answered 2014-12-27 13:08:59 -0500

Rover insurance does not cover injuries to you caused by a dog in your home. The insurance covers your dogs and the visiting dogs. I might suggest preparing the food in the room that you're going to feed her without allowing her access until you are done, either by keeping the door closed, keeping a gate up, or securing the dog with a leash in another room, and then give her privacy. Guarding is triggered by fear and anxiety of losing something. The safer she feels in the environment, the less likely she will be to guard, so the more you can provide her a secure environment for eating, the less likely she will be to lash out. Guarding behavior, like any anxiety-based behavior, is difficult to treat, so I wouldn't recommend attempting to address her problem directly unless you're a qualified behaviorist; rather, try to minimize the likelihood that she will be able to practice the behavior around you.

Does the dog react similarly to treats? If not, try keeping a treat pouch with kibble attached to you at all times, and throughout the day, ask the dog to perform a behavior (sit, shake, down, whatever) and reward her with a couple pieces of her food so that she eats her normal meal amount in small increments and has to work for you in order to get them. If you can avoid situations where she's inclined to guard entirely, there's far less risk, and the dog doesn't go through that anxiety of losing something important that causes her guarding behavior in the first place. If she doesn't respond to commands, you can reward when she chooses to offer a behavior on her own, so when she lies down or sits on her own, toss her a kibble. Any nice, calm, relaxed behavior earns her small bits of food.

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answered 2014-12-27 11:09:30 -0500

The first thing I would do is contact owner and ask them if they know of any food problems. I would also put a leash on her at feeding time so you have control of her and if she gets too aggressive I would use the leash to hold her back a bit until she settles then allow her to eat. Do not let her have control over you because she will keep using it. I would also try a water bottle and if she snaps spray her in the face so she knows it is not okay for her to do that. You may be best to do all of those together.

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Be very careful trying to correct this behavior. For an anxious dog, spraying them may push them further over the edge and worsen the guarding. From her perspective, she's responding to a threat. For your safety, focus on relieving her anxiety; you can't punish away fear.

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2014-12-27 19:56:08 -0500 ) edit

I called them and they said that she did it sometimes but they didn't think enough of it to mention it to me. I can't 'fix' her problem and it's not my place to punish her or try to train her. I will continue what I'm doing by separating her from everyone in a different room and feeding her by herself. It's worked out well so far, I think it'll have to do until they pick her up. She's fine other than that one issue. But I'm not going to take any chances! Better safe than sorry

Samantha W.'s profile image Samantha W.  ( 2014-12-27 20:35:32 -0500 ) edit
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Absolutely. You don't want to put yourself in a situation where you could get hurt. You're not getting paid for that!

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2014-12-27 20:47:46 -0500 ) edit

Did the owners send a crate? How big is she? You might try putting the dish in her crate and then send her in (with the leash attached) to eat. Then you can lead her out when she's done and safely remove the dish.

Leighann H.'s profile image Leighann H.  ( 2015-01-02 12:41:37 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2015-01-01 20:04:19 -0500

I would not try to correct this. Not worth it. Feed the dog alone and do not take him back. Not all dogs should be home boarded.

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