Home Dog Care Entries The Correct Way to Stop a Dog Fight

The Correct Way to Stop a Dog Fight

Have you ever witnessed a dog fight? Sometimes, they start and end in a flash, other times they can last for quite a long time. There are varying degrees of dog fights, depending on the dogs involved. Sometimes one dog is the aggressor and the other is just at the wrong place and the wrong time. Other times, two dogs may each be equally aggressive, trying to display their dominance.

There are many ideas out there about how to break up a dog fight. Of course, as a Pet First Aid  Instructor, I teach my students never to get in between two dogs in a fight. You must always think of keeping yourself safe. If you get injured, you will not be able to help your dog, and depending on the dog in question, any attack on you could be disastrous, even fatal.

With that said, I want to go over some of the ideas out there about how you can break up a dog fight, if you ever needed to, keeping in mind that this is a very dangerous situation you should avoid.

The most effective and safest way to break up a dog fight is to have two people involved. Each person should grab the rear legs of each dog, and lift up and move back. The dogs will be forced to walk on their front legs, as in a wheelbarrow position, and won’t be able to fight. This also keeps the dangerous end away from you.

After you’ve pulled the dogs apart in that wheelbarrow position, do not let go, but begin swinging them slowly around in a circle. This will force the dogs to walk sideways with their front legs so they won’t fall on their faces, and will also prevent them from turning around and striking at you.

Now that you’ve gotten them apart, don’t let go. If you do, they will likely charge each other and start fighting again, or they might turn on you. The best thing to do then would be to put them in separate enclosures or kennels.

If you are alone and feel you absolutely have to break up the fight, you should use a leash like a lariat (threading the latch end through the handle) to loop around the loin area of one dog, drag it backwards and secure it to something solid like a fence. Then, proceed with the wheelbarrow method described previously on the second dog to get it away from the leashed dog.

As for alternative methods, some people say dousing one or both dogs with water works, if you have enough and if you have it available. Trouble is, you probably will not have enough, or any, when a dog fight breaks out. You would need a large bucket full of water, or a water hose to douse the dogs with as soon as they start fighting.

One reader wrote in that someone told her that they grabbed a flashlight and shined it into the dog’s eyes, and this made the dog stop fighting. I do not know about the effectiveness of this method, and this is the first I have ever heard of this.

Gouging the eyes of the dog is another thing that I have heard of. I have heard that this works on most dogs, but you are putting your hands near the dangerous end when you reach for the face.

Although there are several opinions on how to break up a dog fight, there is only one proper, and safe way to do it. And always keep in mind that your safety comes first.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Emma September 3, 2014, 1:35 am

    what if you do not have a leash with you and when you do the wheelbarrow position to your dogs and they still wont let go?

  • Emma September 3, 2014, 1:38 am

    Just adding onto the last question,
    our two dogs fight sometimes and me and my sister have tried to use the wheelbarrow position but they donot let go. the first time they fought was near a trough so I held them under the water until they stopped but I don’t know if that’s was the right thing to do and the other times we were walking and they stared fighting, no leash, no water so we tried the wheelbarrow thing and they still didn’t let go until ages, is there anything else we could try?

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