Even the most friendly and calm dogs get in tiffs with each other now and again. Sometimes a small scuffle can turn into an outright attack, no matter how well the dogs usually get along. These types of dog fights are often due to protectiveness over territory, toys or food. Often times our dogs will get into it when they see another dog out the window and one gets a little too excited, thus the bickering begins. Usually a few quick nips solves the dispute, but on occasion they go a little too far.
The number one thing to remember when trying to break up a dog fight is to never, ever get in the middle of the dogs. When they are in fight mode they are only focused on the other dog and won’t look first to see if they are biting the offending dog or your hand. If there are multiple people around during the incident, the best way to break up a dog fight is to grab one dog under the hindquarters with one arm while pulling back on the collar or scruff with the other hand, while the second person does the same with the other dog. You still must take care in doing this, however once you get the dog around the hindquarters and at the collar they will have a hard time maneuvering around you and you have less of a chance of getting bitten in the process. Alternatively, you can grab both of the dog’s back feet and pull them upward while walking backwards to further avoid being bitten.
If you are alone and need to break up a dog fight you can try dousing the dogs with water either from a glass, a squirt bottle or a garden hose, if outdoors. The shock of the water will often break up dog squabbles. Alternatively, if you must get between the dogs use a broom or other lengthy object to distract the dogs from one another. Never hit a dog when it is fighting – they are already in aggressive and protective mode and may react negatively to being hit.
For smaller scuffles that are more out of annoyance than aggression, a loud noise will often stop the fight immediately. Fly swatters smacked against a door or the floor, rolled up newspapers slapped into your hand or dropping a heavy book on the floor beside the dogs may do the trick just fine.
Part of knowing how to break up a fight with your dog is knowing how your dog reacts to aggression or dominance in other dogs. However, you never know how a strange dog will react, thus having a few alternatives in mind for breaking up a dog fight is a good idea.