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How to Break Up a Dog Fight

In previous blog posts (see below) we’ve talked about why it’s important to keep all dogs on leash in public and what to do if you are attacked by an off leash dog.  But once the fight starts, how can you break it up?

Stay Calm: Your energy can influence the situation, so try to remain as composed as possible.

Assess the Situation: Before intervening, assess the severity of the fight. You may not want to get involved and risk injury but you can call for help.

Call for Help: Yell for neighbors or passersby to help you separate the dogs safely.

Don’t Use Your Hands: Never attempt to separate fighting dogs with your hands by grabbing onto one dog’s collar.  That dog could redirect onto you and you risk getting bitten. Instead, look around for nearby objects you can use such as a broom, chair, or blanket to create a barrier between them.

Use a Leash: If both dogs are on leash, grab the leash firmly and pull the dogs away from the each other. Be cautious not to pull too hard, as this can injure one or both dogs.

Distract Them: A whistle or air horn loud can startle the dogs and redirect their attention.  If you have access to a water hose, use that to create a diversion.

Use a Break Stick: If you have one available and know how to use it safely, a break stick can be effective for separating fighting dogs by inserting it between their jaws.

Use the Wheelbarrow Technique:  Pick up one or both dogs by their legs near their hips, lift up, and slowly walk backwards.  Once the dogs are disengaged, turn around so the dogs don’t reengage.  However, it’s could be easy to lose your grip and/or the dog could whip around and bite you.

Seek Veterinary Attention if Needed: Check both dogs for injuries. Even if the injuries seem minor, it’s important to have both dogs examined by a veterinarian to ensure they’re okay and to address any potential underlying issues.

It’s hard to think about what you would do in this situation and hopefully it will never happen to you and your dog.  But it’s always to think about what you would do if you and your dog are ever in this situation.

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