Saturday, August 3, 2013

How To Safely Break Up Dog Squabbles

So what about dogs fighting? 

Your precious babies ripping each other apart? 

Remember in the dog's world 3 is a pack, and you better be the one in charge.  That doesn't mean macho in charge, it means intelligently in charge and knowing what you will do before you're in that situation. 

Thankfully most dog fights are normally a lot of noisy slobbering and the dogs are easily distracted and go back to being friends again.  In a situation like this throwing some balls in several different directions can work, walking away can reduce the human factor and almost immediately stop the squabble.  Even giving them a command can work, or something that they normally automatically respond to, like WANNA GO FOR A RIDE?

There isn't a nice, neat flow chart of how to break up a serious dog fight. 

Too many possible scenarios, much will depend on if there are two people around to handle two dogs, how strong the humans are, whether they've discussed how they will handle the situation and what size your dogs are, if you're in public, at home, on the street etc.  A lot of variables.

Some of the most critical things to remember are:

     *   You will NOT panic, scream, cry, shout, race around inflaming the fight, it's like throwing gas on a fire.

     *   You will not even dream of putting your hands in the middle of biting dogs.

     *   You will NOT touch the dog, because they may swing and bite at you, thinking you're another dog attacking them.

     *   In heated fights they bite first, take no prisoners and ask no questions.

     *   You will take the few extra seconds to evaluate the scenario, make your best decision, then do it, this isn't the time to hesitate.

     *   Remember the object is to separate the two dogs, normally 1 is biting and the other is being bitten.

     *   Remember that the one being bitten will often reverse the roles if only the biting dog is restrained.  "Thanks for holding him, now I'll bite"

     *   Both animals must be separated and under your control.

     *   If you have more than 2 dogs in the area, the rules change.

     *   All dogs in the area could become involved causing serious injury or death to 1 or more dogs.

     *   In this case, get the non fighting ones out of the area immediately.  Then deal with the fighters & biters.

Our experience is based on decades of paws on with hundreds of abused, traumatized, abandoned, neglected and otherwise potentially cranky Rottweilers and we've always managed to resist the temptation to put our hands, or other important body parts, in the way of those powerful jaws and very sharp teeth.  

Try to break up a dog fight using your hands and it will be miracle that you aren't bitten in the process.  We have never failed in being able to break up every fight, have never had a life threatening injury and do everything possible to minimize the potential of fights, but dogs will be dogs, accidents happen and people do make mistakes.

If your fighters are small or medium size dogs, it's pretty easy for each person to place themselves near the rear legs of the dogs.  On the count of 1 - 2 - 3, each person grabs those rear legs and begin to wheel barrow, walking the dogs apart in opposite directions.  Don't let go of those legs until you can separate the dogs with fences, one in the house or car or hooked to something.  If you let go of one dog, he will likely launch himself onto the other one being restrained.

If you're not comfortable enough to grab those hind legs, then loop a leash around them, pull it tight and walk, drag them apart.  They will be distracted by what's happening and will release their grip. 

Grabbing the hind legs of a large dog will put your face dangerously close to his when he swings around to see what's happening.  The looped leash around the legs can work.  If you're alone, loop the one being bitten and attach him to a fence or tree, then go for the biter, loop, pull them apart and attach him to something.  Breaking up a fight by yourself is not fun.

We've used the pulling the rear legs method if a fight erupts while in a car, just pull those rear legs on out and the rest of the dog comes too.

Our favorite method, if there is such a thing, is to reach in behind the dog's neck, palms up reach under the back of their collar, twist so that your palm is now down, lift the collar until the weight is off those front feet. 

Within a few seconds their air is being cut off and they will release the bite.  This also works with the looped leash through the leash handle.  It could injure the dog if you're using a choke chain, but then hopefully you aren't and don't even get me started on those lazy-dog-owner-spiked-collars-that-are-a-pathetic-excuse-for-not-training-your-dog.

Now that they're separated, get them away from each other, allow them to cool down before you go probing for injuries.  There may be a puncture wound or two which can easily be dealt with.  Some dogs will be hyper sensitive and NOT want you touching them for a bit.  Unless there is serious injury, give them some space.

Two huge Rottweilers on their hind legs, going at each other with a lot of flinging slobber, horrible noises and looking like they're killing each other generally isn't a dog fight.  It's more like two kids yelling at each other.  They are easily distracted and don't mean business....usually.

May you never need to learn first hand how to break up a serious fight with your dog or any strange dog, but hopefully what has worked for us, will give you a good basis for further research to fit your personal circumstances.

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