Your dog is going to interact with other dogs from time to time. Whether you meet strange dogs while out for a walk or during a visit to your local dog park, it's inevitable that your pet will encounter other dogs eventually. This is why it's important that every dog owner learn safe ways to break up a dog fight.
Your dog might be friendly to every other dog he sees, but at some point the two of you could run into an aggressive dog. If you know what to do in this dangerous situation, it will ensure that you are able to keep you and your dog safe.
It's important to watch your dog closely when he's around other dogs. If you pay close attention, you can prevent a potential fight by reacting on time. Keep your eyes open for the signs of aggression.
If another dog is circling around your pet, or stalking him, this may indicate a potential attack. Raised hackles and tight lips are also signs of aggression. While these actions could also be signs of playing, it's best to assume the worst before the situation gets out of control. Barking, growling, snapping, lunging – all of these things may be a clear intention of attack.
4 Safe Ways To Break Up A Dog Fight
When you notice any suspicious signs, it's crucial to stay calm and composed. Not only so that you can react to the situation appropriately, but also because any quick actions could escalate the potentially harmless situation into a dog fight.
Don’t yell at the other dog or make any threatening moves. Keep your pet close to you – call him to you if he is not by your side. You should not pick your dog up, because that can encourage the strange dog to leap at you and potentially hurt you as well.
If the situation escalates into a fight, there are 4 ways that you can help break it up.
1. Wheelbarrow Method
Possibly the most success of all of the safe ways to break up a dog fight is known as the “wheelbarrow method.” You can only use this method if there is another person with you.
Both adults needs to grab the back legs of their respective dogs. Pull the dogs away from each other, which will make it impossible for them to keep fighting. Once they are separated, each person needs to turn in a circle and face their dog in the opposite direction.
Do not release the dogs until they are facing away from each other and you have another way of hanging onto them. Grab their collar or harness and walk away from each other to keep the dogs completely separated and ensure they cannot see each other.
If you're the only person close to the fighting dogs, you'll need to try to distract them and redirect their attention. If you happen to have access to a bowl of water, that is the best way to distract both dogs at once. I've used my dogs' water dish to break up a fight before.
Obviously you won't always have access to a bowl of water. Loud noises can also be used to distract a dog. Remember that yelling could actually make the situation worse. Clapping your hands is a better option.
If the dogs can't be distracted, you can place a barrier between them. NEVER use yourself as a barrier. Chairs work very well to separate fighting dogs. If there is a piece of wood, trash can lid or other large object nearby, use it to separate the dogs without putting yourself in danger.
4. Pull Back on Collar/Harness
I put this as the last tip on my list, because it's not the safest. You need to be careful when pulling back on your dog's collar or harness, because you don't want to hurt him. Collars are especially dangerous, because pulling back on them will choke your dog.
If you're the only adult nearby the dog fight, you'll want to pull back on the collar of the aggressor. It's usually easy to spot which dog is the aggressor. Another reason that I don't recommend this tip first is because it won't work if both dogs are being aggressive. No matter which dog you pull on, the other will continue to follow you and keep the fight going.
As I mentioned above, never try to break up a dog fight with your hands. If you insert your arms between two dogs, you will almost certainly get bitten. Also, never get between two fighting dogs because they could turn their aggression onto you.
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