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Do dogs really take an instant dislike to some people?

If you ask any dog owner, they'll probably tell you that their dog seems to take an instant dislike to some people. Is that possible? Are some people more likely to get bitten by a dog than others?

Apparently so.

Researchers got a novel idea to see if there was anything unique about the personalities of dog bite victims. To their surprise, they found something. After studying a specific community, they found that dogs tend to bite some people more than others.

Researchers first found some results that are similar to what other studies have found:

  • Most dog bites involved a "strange dog," rather than the family pet.
  • Children, especially those under 15 years of age, were the most common victims of dog bites -- representing about 44 percent of incidents.
  • Men get bitten by dogs twice as often as women.

It's often speculated that young children and men get bitten by dogs more often than adults and women simply because they're more inclined to approach a strange dog in the first place. Adults are generally more cautious about approaching strangers (and strange animals) than children, and women are more cautious about it than men.

However, researchers also found something peculiar when they administered a personality test to both victims and non-victims alike. People who have highly negative emotions in response to common stressors -- whether that's expressed through anxiety, hostility, self-consciousness, fearfulness, anger or vulnerability -- were more apt to get bitten than other people. Essentially, people who suffer from pronounced stress ("neuroticism") had a 22 percent higher likelihood of being bitten by a dog than people who were better equipped to handle ordinary stressors.

Ultimately, it's the owner's responsibility to protect others from a dog attack. If you were bitten by someone's dog in an unprovoked attack, you may suffer serious injuries and high medical bills. Find out more about your right to compensation.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
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