Have you ever witnessed a fight between two dogs? It’s frightening….to say the least! Dogs can do serious harm to each other during a fight or attack. In some cases, injuries can even lead to death. When your dog is involved, it is your instinct to jump in and stop the fight. However, without proper caution, trying to break up a fight in the wrong way could result in serious injuries to yourself. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to know safe and effective ways to break up fights if you are ever in this situation.
It is a good idea to understand why dogs fight in the first place. Most cases are a result of their natural canine instincts. Many fights are territorial, such as when a strange dog enters your yard. The urge to protect the people in its pack, its food, or even a toy may provoke your dog to shift into attack mode. Sometimes friendly dog play can go too far, resulting in overstimulation which causes a fight. Lastly, sometimes dogs just simply don’t get along. There may be something about the other dog that an aggressive dog may not like, whether it’s the dog’s personality, smell, or other.
How can you stop a dog fight? First and foremost, never physically get in the middle of two dogs or try to grab their collars. In the heat of a dog fight, your dog doesn’t see who’s intervening and will bite anything in its way. There are a few things that you can try to break up a dog fight and keep yourself safe at the same time.
- Spray them down. Grab a hose or spray bottle and get the dogs wet.
- Make noise. This is a distraction technique.
- Grab objects like a blanket or basketball and throw them at the dogs.
- Intervene physically (last resort!). This will require two people. A safer way to separate fighting dogs is called the “wheelbarrow” method. Each person will approach a dog slowly from behind. They will grab the back legs of their respective dog and wall backward.
After the fight you should check your dog for injuries and contact your veterinarian immediately, regardless of how minor they seem. Continue to keep safety in mind and keep the dogs separated. Do not release them where they can interact again even if they seem calm. Prevention is ultimately the best way to eliminate fighting and that mean’s being aware of your dog’s cues and paying close attention to other dog’s cues as well.