What to Do When Dogs Fight

Dogs Fighting

Dogs often take a dislike to each other for no apparent reason, at least none that humans are aware of. Dogs that live together and otherwise are friends will sometimes fight over food or a toy or just an invasion of space when they don’t want to be disturbed. Hopefully some of these tips will help you cope before aggression turns into a fight or during a fight.

When out walking your dog, keep him/her leashed. Hold the leash comfortably, don’t tense. If you are nervous, your dog can feel your tension through the leash and will be stressed. Avoid areas of known conflict. Early socialization and obedience training are tools that can help. Teach your dog to respond to your verbal commands and hand signals. When your dog pays attention to you, it can keep confrontations at a minimum. Spaying/neutering your dog makes her/him less of a threat to other dogs.

Being aware of dog behavior before a fight can help to avoid one. Staring at each other, stiff body and tail movements, teeth bared, growling. But sometimes fights happen without warning. And in spite of all your efforts, fights do occur.

When a fight erupts, never, ever put your hands or body between the dogs or you will be bitten. In their state of high excitement, even the most loving of dogs won’t realize they are biting the hand that feeds them.

If you have access to a water hose or are able to pour water on them, do so. This usually breaks up the fight, even temporarily. It can give you enough time to get your dog away. Carry a spray water bottle with you when out walking your dog. If 2 people are present, each one can grab the tail and back legs of each dog and lift the hind quarters to break contact. Slowly back away while turning around.

Placing an object such as a heavy article of clothing between the dogs can sometimes help. Bang on something that will make a loud noise or use a whistle if you have one. There’s no guarantee that this will startle the dogs enough to stop fighting, but worth a try.

If you are alone when a fight breaks out, try looping the leash or a rope around the back end of one dog, dragging it away. Tie it to a fence or a post or if at home, a doorknob. Then try grabbing the other dog’s back legs and drag it turning away all the time to a space where it can be confined.

Dogs should never be allowed to fight it out to get rid of aggression. This will not prevent or stop dog fighting and they will maim or kill each other. Obedience training never ends – it must be reinforce continually.

Screaming at the dogs usually does no good at all. In fact, it may stimulate them to attack each other further when they feel your excitement.

Difficult as it may be, try to remain calm. If nothing you’ve tried works, get help ASAP.

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