How to Break up Dog Fights
If you have ever experienced two dogs fighting, it can be very intimidating if you do not know what to do. A few weeks ago I took my dog, Macie, to a local dog park in Downers Grove, IL. Macie and I go there frequently (maybe twice weekly). On this particular beautiful sunny spring day, Macie and another dog got into a little fight. They were both about the same size, so it wasn't a lopsided fight. I had broken up dog fights before, so I didn't panic. I simply grabbed Macies' collar and swiftly and firmly pulled her towards me. This method worked out perfectly in this scenario, but may not be as successful in a more violent fight. The two dogs in this fight did not get too engaged before I stepped in to intervene.
One of the most important things about breaking up dog fights is to know your dog. In my case, I know Macie very well and therefore I know her tendencies, and how she reacts in certain situations. However; simply knowing your dog may not be enough. You also need to know some basic methods that work, and that are safe for both dogs, and multiple dogs participating in one fight.
I found a couple of methods that should work to safely break up dog fights. The following information is solely intended as suggestions, and not to be misconstrued as expert advice. However, the methods have been proven to work safely for the dogs and the person that attempts to break up the fight.
- 1. Spray Shield Animal Deterrent
- 2. Wheelbarrow method
- 3. Hickory hammer handle (find at hardware store)
The Spray Shield Animal Deterrent can be found at most pet supply stores. Now let me explain the wheelbarrow method. This is the safest method to use to break up two aggressive dogs that have a hold on each other. Grab hold of the dogs' hind legs and raise the legs off the ground. Once the legs are off the ground, hold still and wait until dog relaxes. Watch the dogs' mouth and when it relaxes to make another bite, quickly pull the dogs apart before their mouths bite down again. Do not shake or pull on dogs when they are locked as this could cause serious damage by ripping the flesh. Just relax and do not be too aggressive because your dog will feed off your energy. It is important that you remain as calm as possible.
The Hickory hammer handle can be used to wiggle between the teeth of the dog. . One can be made from a Hickory Hammer handle from the hardware store, all you do is sand the small end down to be a smooth flat rounded edge that will not hurt the dog's mouth, we always put a cord on the other end so we could hang a few around the kennels within easy reach. To use it, you gently wiggle the break stick in between the teeth where the natural opening is on the side of the mouth about half way up the muzzle. Get to know that spot, it is helpful for giving pills and medicine too, and other dog do things. Do not push the stick all the way through the dogs' mouth. When the stick is between the teeth and you feel the tongue then push downward with the handle of the breaker stick and the dog's mouth will open.
The following advice on how to stop a dog fight is from Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer:
First, do not get rid of your instincts. There is no knowledge behind instinctual intelligence so "not thinking" is actually a good thing. In my profession, I only use "thinking" when I have to explain something to the human. With dogs, it's all about instinct and energy.
Here's what you need to keep in mind. You can stop a dog fight by observing body language. This is what I do with aggressive cases - stop the bad dog behavior at the very instance you see it about to escalate. But if that's not possible, during a dog fight, once there is one occurring, stay calm and observe who or which of the two dogs is at a higher level of intensity. That's the dog I'm going to focus on. Then you need to step in to give that dog the right touch - this means the ribcage area. The reason is that this forces the dog to open his mouth and let go of his hold on the other dog during the dog fight. It's about timing too, so look for the right moment and then act quickly.
You can use a loud, strong voice or grunt directly at him and pull back from the back of his neck and collar - not from the top, but from the back and pull up, otherwise he can interpret this as you getting into the fight as well, and this is when the dog can turn on the human and bite him because his level of intensity is so high, he doesn't think "oh, that's the human." You're just another dog in the fight and before you know it, the dog you're trying to defend is coming after you.
Whether it's a big dog or little dog, the technique and method is the same. Do not scream repeatedly unless you are calling for help. Sometimes people are not going to help, so don't expect that everyone will have your ability or good will. Most importantly, be quick, stay mindfully aware, emotionally in tune, and remain calm and assertive.