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Sep 14 2012

Stopping a dog fight

A dog owner’s worst nightmare. You are out walking your dog and out of nowhere another dog appears who proceeds to attack your dog. What do you do? How can I stop this? The most important thing to remember that no matter how much you want to jump in and grab one or other of the dogs that is probably the worst thing you can do, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, grabbing at 2 fighting dogs is how people get bitten. These bites are usually serious as the dogs are in a heightened state of aggression and will bite at anything in their way. If you become injured you are unable then to help your dog, and  it will escalate the legal trouble for your dog and ultimately influence the fate of your pet (or the other pet). Dog bites can land you in the hospital either from injury or infection.

Stand back initially. Often these scraps are just that and are over in a few seconds and little harm is done. Yelling and hitting will escalate the aggression and could cause more trouble for both dogs. If the fight does not stop then there physical barriers you can use other than your body to stop the aggression. Different things work for different dogs so here are a few things to try;

1. Spray water from a hose or drop a hose between them. Also trying with a bucket of cold water will work too.

2. Slamming a door or hitting the ground with an object may be enough to startle them apart.

3. Using an object between them such as an umbrella, a large stick, or a folding chair if there happens to be something handy

4. If you have help you may be able to use a stick or a broom handle to pry open the jaws of the clamped on dog.

Once they are apart, physically separate the dogs as quickly as you can by removing them from each other’s sight. The adage out of sight out of mind works in this scenario. If your dog is leashed then walk them away as quickly as possible. Do not pick them up if it can be avoided as you then become a target. Return home, go inside so you have time to calm your pet down and examine for any injuries.

Dog bite wounds can be deceiving. A small puncture is often a lot worse than it seems as the tissue beneath can be torn from the body wall, ribs can be broken or the fat can be crushed which can lead to serious infections. Please have all dog bite wounds checked by a veterinarian, even if they do not appear serious.

Sometimes altercations are not avoidable and if there is no owner around for both dogs they can be very serious indeed. Small dogs are often targeted and it doesn’t take much from a large dog to seriously injure a little pet. Unfortunately there are pet owners who will not leash their dogs and this makes fights very difficult to manage. When walking in an off leash area, making sure you have something that will make a loud noise ( such as a tin can with stones or an air can) with you to help should an altercation occur.

Thinking on your feet, remaining calm, and thinking in your pet’s best interest will go a long way to helping in these situations.

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