Many of us have had the unfortunate and frightening experience of
witnessing a dog fight, sometimes with our own dog involved. It's hard
to know what to do in this situation when your adrenaline is pumping
and things are happening so quickly. Naturally, it's better to prevent
a dog fight from occurring if you can, but sometimes they happen.
Here are a few tips on how to break up a dog fight - preferably
without getting hurt yourself:
- Don't get involved unless you have to. Some dog fights
sound a lot worse then they are, and are over with very quickly.
It is ALWAYS dangerous to intervene in a dog fight, and no
matter how careful or prepared you may think you are, there is
always the potential of getting hurt.
- Remember that there's no single, tried-and-true method
for breaking up a fight.
- Get help if you can. Having a second person to help
will make things much easier.
- Do not place any part of your body in between the dogs.
This includes your hand, an arm or leg, and don't try to grab their
collars and pull them apart. Dogs who are caught up in a fight will
automatically bite whatever's in their way.
- Use noise as a distraction. Try not to scream, as this
may excite the dogs even further. Instead, bang together two metal
pots or garbage can lids or whatever loud, noisy object that may
distract the dogs. If you have an air horn, use it.
- Use water: if you have ready access to a hose, spray
cold water directly into the dogs' faces. Do not stop spraying
until both dogs have backed off, and keep the spray between
the dogs until the situation can be controlled.
If a hose isn't available, you can try using buckets of
- Throw large blankets over the dogs' heads. This may disorient
them and stop the fight.
- Try to insert a physical barrier between the dogs,
like a big piece of plywood or a large chair. Do not step
in between the dogs yourself!
- Use the 'wheelbarrow' method: each of you grab one dog
by the hind legs and raise them off the ground, like a wheelbarrow.
Back up slowly while turning in a circle. This will prevent the dog
from whipping around and biting you, as he needs to concentrate on
moving his paws so that he doesn't fall. Gradually pull him into a
confined area where he will not be able to get to the other dog
again. Don't let him go too soon - wait until he appears calm -
or he may try to attack the other dog again, or may try to bite
you. Both dogs must be confined before their legs are released,
or you just might end up having the fight start all over again.
If you're by yourself, grab the hind legs of the attacking dog
first and get him confined. Then go back for the other dog.
Since most of us wouldn't have access to water, plywood, air
horns, blankets, etc... while we're out and about with our dogs,
this 'wheelbarrow' method may end up being the one used.
A dog fight is a terribly stressful situation, but it's important to
remain calm and focused. By keeping your composure you'll be able to minimize
the risk to yourself and everyone involved (including the dogs). If you or
anyone else is injured, go to the doctor to get it checked out even if you
think it's minor. Likewise, if either of the dogs are injured they should
be taken to the vet for an assessment and treatment. Please remember that
intervening in any dog fight is always risky with a chance of injury, so
don't take it lightly.
See you in a couple of weeks for our photos issue
- please send us
your pet photos!
"One of the happiest sights in the world comes when a lost dog is reunited
with a master he loves. You just haven't seen joy till you have seen that."
- Angela, Newsletter Editor
On behalf of Rundle, the Pet Friendly CEO (Chief Eating Officer)