I can’t begin to tell you how many people suffer severe dog bites from trying to break up a dog fight. In 20 years I have seen some horrific injuries, & most of these fights could have been prevented.
There are a few things I would like to point out first so you can avoid a fight instead of breaking one up. First I would recommend keeping your dog on a short leash when walking them. Too many people use “extenda” leashes and can not bring their dog in quick enough to avoid a scuffle. If you are walking your dog and a loose dog comes running towards you, you need to put your dog behind you and yell at the intruder. Do not pick up your small dog, this makes them more of a prey item! Yelling at the intruder helps your dog see that you are a strong leader and you will protect them. Most dogs become dog-dog aggressive because they do not believe their owners can protect them, therefore they must scare the dog away or defend you. I have seen too many owners yell at their dog for reacting aggressively towards a charging dog, you must remember if you can not protect them they will go into defense drive.
If you happen to come upon a leashed dog who the owner says is “nice”, you need to look for the following:
1. Body stiffness, if the dog looks like a statue and the tail is held stiffly up, do not let your dog say hello!
2. If the dog tries to mount your dog or put their head on your dog’s shoulders, end the greet!
3. If the dog is getting right in your dogs face, walk away!!
4. If your dog seems uncomfortable and tries to get away listen to him!
Remember you do not have to let your dog meet every dog it sees! It is best to teach your dog they can not say hello unless you say it is ok! It teaches them self-control and boundaries. Please note that “playing” in a dogs mind is a way to establish rank! So be wary of letting your dog get rowdy with another dog. These little things can help you protect your dog from a potential fight.
Now if you do have to break up a fight DO NOT GRAB THE COLLARS!!! You will get bit! If you have water or something to make a really loud sound with use it! If this does not work and you are alone you need to loop a leash, lasso like and slip it over one of the dogs hind end. It would be best to try and get the aggressor first. Drag the dog to a fence or door and secure the leash. Then do the same with the other dog, if you do not have 2 leashes, grab the other dogs hind legs and pull them up, wheelbarrow style. Walk backwards in a circle like motion, by doing this the dog will be off balance and will not be able to turn and bite you. Do not release the dogs in the same area, they will go back at it. If there are 2 people, you both need to leash 1 dog around the rear or pick up the hind legs wheelbarrow style to separate them. Again if you release them in the same area they will go right back into fight mode. When all is clear take a deep breathe, calm yourself down and find the closest bar!
Tara, Brandie & the “pack”