Dogfights are common and can vary in intensity but all too often an owner gets hurt in the process of trying to break up the fight or causes one of the dogs to have increased damage due the intervention. If you are in the unfortunate position of needing to break up a dogfight, ideally it is handled in a manor that minimizes risk to humans and the dogs that are fighting. In addition, if you are out in public and a dog is acting unfriendly to you or your dog there are some strategies that can be implemented prior to an actual attack.
If you are out in public and a dog is acting unfriendly to you or your dog try one of these strategies prior to the actual attack.
- Shout,” No Sit”, surprisingly some dogs will comply.
- Use a product such as Spray Shield that deters the attacker.
- Walk Away – more useful if the other dog is on leash
- Have your dog sit and step between the two dogs.
- If you have a small dog, pick it up
Despite your best efforts the dog may not be deterred and you may be in the position of needing to break up a dogfight. Regardless of whether a dogfight occurs in public, at your house, your dog is attacked or your dog is doing the attacking, the most important aspect of breaking up a dogfight is that people do not get hurt in the process. Before sticking your hands into the fray try these strategies.
If a hose is available, by all means spray down the dogs.
Feel free to yell at the dogs to stop. Even if it doesn’t have an impact on the dogs, it could bring you the human help you need to get things under control.
Insert any large inflexible object between the two dogs (an empty garbage can or its lid, a kitchen chair, piece of ply wood etc.)
And if all else fails you can physically separate the dogs. Grab the tail (or the hips of a tailless dog) of the aggressor and elevate the dog’s hind-end off the ground. Don’t grab the collar or any other part of the dog. With the hind-end elevated the dog no longer has traction and will not be as effective. The dog you have a hold of can still whip round and try to grab you, so be ready to counter its move by rotating away from its mouth. At the moment in which neither dog has its mouth on the other, take a number of steps away from the other dog. Now hope that the other dog, really would like to move away and not continue the fight. If the free dog still wants to fight, keep backing away and try to get a door or gate between the two dogs.
Regardless of whether it is easy to break up the fight or extremely hard, you need to keep your head. At some point something is going to break up the fight. That could be the other dog runs off or help arrives. Stay Calm! Quickly check your dog for injuries, but try to not be overly solicitous or show concern. Your dog needs your support right now but being upset can contribute to your dog developing a fear based aggression. Make sure you get contact information from the owner. Damage might not be immediately obvious. If the owner is not on the scene check with other people and see if you can track down the owner. Get medical attention for you and your dog as soon as possible and make sure you get dated receipts. Keep in mind, the damage that occurs during a fight may not be physical it may be behavioral.
You and your dog have just been through a scary and traumatic experience but you got through it. Hopefully, you were able to minimized injuries to humans and dogs alike. Now you will need to keep an eye open for fear, anxiety or aggression from your dog when it is around other dogs. Some dogs bounce back just fine and some dogs need help to regain their confidence through changing emotions training.