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September 12, 2008

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I have a Chocolate lab that has been neutered. I think the neuter argument is total propaganda B.S. - My lab is still very hyper and plays rough.

No, I didn't tell the insurance agent about the dog. I just assume that there are several exceptions in the policy that the insurance will only be liable in very rare circumstances - so I just don't let the dog out without being on a leash and he doesn't get to come close to little children. Sorry, it is just a chance I am not willing to take.

I haven't seen any difference in his demeanor since he was snipped. What a crock.

Get an umbrella policy! Notwithstanding the above article, our generation is sue happy. You can be sued for almost anything, so to protect yourself get an umbrella polic.y They are actually very reasonable.

I do think spay/neuter does have an affect on a dog's aggression. I know insurance policies ask about pit bulls but no other breeds, and I doubt anyone considers buying an umbrella policy because of their dog. This lady was lucky she did.

I did not think about telling my insurance agent about my dogs. I definitely agree that training and spay/neuter definitely helps with aggression. I have done that for all my dogs. The spay/neuter does not affect activity level, but does help with aggression. If you don't want an active dog who needs a lot of attention then don't get a lab or any sporting dog. Those breeds were bred for endurance, hence the energy level.

Labs are just a bouncy and hyper breed anyway, in my experience, at least until they "settle down" at 4 or 5 years old. Which is why we love them, right! The researching-breeds point is important, in my mind. A cooped up working breed is going to be miserable and more inclined to snap, I'm told. People should select dogs based on their lifestyle, rather than how cute they are or what size they are.

Which is why, working long hours, we don't currently have a dog :(

I told my insurance agent we have a beagle. She laughed.

Although I suppose any dog is big enough to cause problems with small children. So far, ours goes out of her way to be careful around them. We did not adjust insurance for the dog, but she has to be on a leash outside anyway (car magnet) so I'd hope the exposure is minimized.

SMALL dogs nip and bite much more than big ones. Ask any small dog owner.

I have a Lab-Dane-Pit mix. He's been neutered but is still very high energy and plays rough. He knows who he likes and who he doesn't.

Frankly I like the I idea of having a dog that guards the house. I encourage him to bark at strangers who come near the house as deterrence. And last winter I am confident having a barking, powerful looking dog did in fact convince some people to stay away who I feel did have less than honorable intentions. I used the dog on purpose for that effect and it worked. I make no excuses for it.

Totally agree about the labs - my 8 year old is finally calmed down to the point he's happy just laying around all day.

I think our homeowner's policy had a question about "dangerous" breeds - pit bulls, etc. Other than that I haven't noticed anything.

My insurance company sent me a letter telling me they don't cover dogs of any kind now. You have to get separate insurance. So it's worth a call to the insurance company to double-check. (We have cats though I love dogs)

When we got our first dog, I called the insurance company to tell them we got a German Shepherd/Lab mix. The agent said, "so you have a Lab." and I corrected him and he said again, "No, you have a Lab." It took me a moment to catch on, but it seems they'd have to drop my policy (or raise my rates) if we had a German Shepherd.

The fact that she was a mush means nothing to them.

I was bit by a neighbor's dog when I was 12 - right on my nose - actually, right through my nose. My family never even considered suing. I went and got stitched up and got over it. I understand having your medical bills covered, but it does seem some people are really very sue happy.

If someone brought a dog into contact with me and the dog disfigured my face, you can bet I'd sue, and for more than just my medical bills! There are way too many lazy/irresponsible dog-owners out there, who get off on having a "threatening" dog but don't want to take responsibility when that threat materializes. (I won't even get into the lazy/irresponsible ones who actually neglect their dogs--nothing makes me want to secede from the human race more than a quick viewing of Animal Precinct.)

(Obviously, there are also many responsible dog-owners, and there are also people who stupidly threaten/taunt other people's dogs. But, no, it's really not up to me to guess how your dog on the sidewalk will react to me just walking by on pain of getting my hand bitten through.)

Telling your insurance agent about a dog is important even if you have a small and/or nice dog. For one thing, small dogs can be vicious. Growing up, my family had a Lhasa Apso that injured someone who came into our home. He was a friend of the family who popped in the door unannounced (we knew of his aggressive tendencies and would put him upstairs when guests came over) - so we wouldn't have been liable anyway, but still it goes to show that even a responsible dog owner can find themselves in an unfortunate situation. The increase in your homeowners' insurance is usually minimal. If you have a non-red-flag breed, like my Golden Retrievers, it makes no difference. I tell my insurer anyway because you never know.

And for the record, neutering dogs does, without question, help them be less aggressive. Chocolate labs are one of the most energetic breeds, even more energetic than yellow or black labs.

Reply to Seth's first comment. Insurance Co. generally will pay for the first bite. After that, the insurance co. will drop you from their policy and you will most likely be listed to where you will have trouble getting any insurance for your property.

I guess seth got his choc. lab because it was cute and fuzzy. Instead of researching the breed to learn that they are a hyper "need to be worked" type dog, even when they are fixed. Sounds like he would also have a pit hiding some where. Spayed and neutered pets DO make better companions, (if only we could do some of the human species as well) another story though.

Research your breeds before you adopt from a reputable animal shelter. That is why they have long adopting applications, to help weed out the owners who want a hyper dog and then leave it it alone for 16 hours a day.

Get a cat. Better yet, own nothing that eats.

Yes, savemod, all of this makes me really happy I have a cat. When I bought my place I considered getting a big well-trained and really nasty German Shepard to protect me, but changed my mind -- too much work and too much hair. And if my dog were to bite the robber the robber could sue.

I still have a one million umbrella policy just in case. As "Mo" Money said - you can be sued for almost anything. In my community there was a case of a woman suing her friend (wasn't friend after that) after falling down the stairs in her friend's house - she broke a few ribs and spent 6 months in a hospital. It was completely her own fault - she asked to borrow firewood, insisted on carrying it downstairs herself and in high heals. She then sued her friend claiming the stairs weren't safe. The whole thing drugged on for 7 years, but she lost eventually - couldn't prove long term health damage. Still, the law suit cost her ex-friend a huge amount of money and headache - I don't know what it was, but it a lot. Lawyers are not cheap. She also missed a chance to refinance her house when the interest rates were low - the bank didn't want to deal with her while she was in the middle of a lawsuit.

It's not just the liability. Vet bills. Fences. Food. Over the last 9 years, I've spent over 40K on those things for my two (now one) dogs. $15K just this year in vet bills. Dogs/cats are not a financially wise choice.

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