Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dog Fights: What to Do When Dogs Fight

After the internet uproar of the unfair sentence on Dutch the Dog's case, I think it's just right that I make a post/ semi-rant on what to do during a heated dog fight.

Why? That's because most people, no matter how reputable or genuinely good they are, DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN DOGS FIGHT. And in the end, they become victims of their own ignorance.

Things to Remember

1. Intact dogs are prone to fighting with each other than spayed/neutered ones.

These two dogs are intact. Buchi's constantly challenging Whitey when it comes to dominance.

2. Correction on bad behavior and constant reinforcement is important for your dog to have a structured life.

3. A well-exercised dog is a tired dog and a tired dog is a happy dog. You get it, right?

4. Just because someone is a great person, it doesn't mean he/she is a great dog owner.

5. It's our responsibility, as dog owners, to know our dog's temperament and behavior.

6. Non-dog owners should also know how to identify signs of a dominant, nervous or aggressive dog.

What to Expect While Stopping Two Dogs Fight

1. Battle Scars. It's not just them, but also YOU. If you intend to stop a dog fight with your bare hands, then you might as well prepare yourself for bite marks and probably worse.  

By choosing to go bare hands, people should know that this is like going in a war zone without any form of protection (not even a pair of combat boots).

2. Trauma and Possible Re-Occurence. There's a fat chance that dogs who've fought before will fight each other again.

Glad I didn't have to deal with Whitey's bite. I got Shih Tzu teeth scrapes from Buchi though.

3.  More Battle Scars. The two dogs may have stopped biting each other, but this doesn't mean you're safe. Get a muzzle or restrain each dog as soon as possible!

Tips on Abating Dog Fights or What to Do When Dogs Fight

1. NO HITTING. When dogs fight, it's in their instincts not to let go EVER.This means, it won't matter if you hit them with your hands or a stick, it probably won't work.

2. HOSE IT. If dogs fight and you have a water source available near you (preferably a hose), get a bucket full of water and throw it at them or HOSE THEM DOWN.

Note: Some dogs won't respond to hosing the second time around.

3. IT'S NOT OVER YET.  So you've hosed them down and managed to break the heated fight. Make sure you restrain one or the other first to control the situation. 

If you need to lock each one in a room in the mean time, do so. 
If you need to muzzle both of them, do so. 
If you need to tie each of them to a tree so you can catch your breath, do so.

These two aren't fighting. They're actually wrestling each other. Buchi is on an extended leash because this was back when he peed everywhere.

Note: If you're capable of carrying the big dog (versus a small dog), carry the bigger dog. I say this because when Buchi and Whitey fought, Whitey was dead serious about doing some serious Shih Tzu damage. I carried Whitey so Buchi can't reach him rather than have White jump all over me while he attempts to prey on Buchi.

4. MUZZLE BEFORE TREATMENT. Make sure you calm yourself first. Then, find a way to muzzle the dog before you start treating their wounds. After a heated dog fight, some dogs can still remain aggressive so be careful!

Note: I'm sure some will object with number 4 because there's tendency for dogs to associate tools with current emotions. Meaning dogs might associate the muzzle with aggression so I am open to better ideas, please feel free to comment.


  1. Great advice. I have been there and ended up in hospital but rather that than have my dog hurt. Never a nice thing to experience or see.
    Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. I hate dog fights. Sometimes the girls have and argument and it helps that you can grab one of them and pick them up.
    Lynne x

  3. Wow, we had never had a real fight, just some teeth showing over something stupid, so we still got Dad discipline, and being Scots we really don't enjoy being talked to, Ahhhhh scolded, so that sutff stopped!

    Your Pals
    The Mad Scots
    Susie & bites

  4. Dog fights are scary. I remember a time years ago when two big dogs were fighting in the shelter play area, and we lifted the back end of both up (like wheelbarrows) and pulled them away from each other. Their focus shifted from each other to not falling over.

    1. Good idea. That does make sense! Thanks for sharing. We need all the tips we can get.

  5. I have no dog fights to deal with since Whisky is the only doggy child. But I have had to deal with cat fights. Grabbing either of them during this time is certainly a no no unless you wanna be mauled so I usually use a large board and put it between them which gives one of them that split second to run off. Once that is achieved, I use the board to usher the remaining one into a room, shut off the lights and leave him / her in there until they calm down. Same thing with the one that ran off earlier. :)
    Neutering is the best first step to reduce dog fights.

  6. I haven't seen a real dog fight in forever. Mine do bitey face, but not fight. I'd definitely grab the hose first thing. The ER is not my favorite place to be. Good list! Glad your hand isn't badly mauled.

  7. Good advice. Sometimes we girls have aggressive fights, when we fight for dominance, but a loud yell or noice from HER has stopped it. Thanks for the advice in case we ever see a real fight.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

    1. I can still stop the pups from fighting with a loud rumbling voice, but Buchi and Whitey has been fighting ever since they've been together, a time which I wasn't here yet. Even Chooey hates Whitey's guts.

  8. Thankfully I have no experience with dog fights, and I hope it stays that way. With cats, usually if you distract them, one will run away, but I'd never put my hand in there.

  9. My experience with dog fights is nil. Can't really comment, but looks like good advice Haopee. I would never intervene in a cat fight either, unless I am certain I can get one of them by the scruff first time! x

  10. When we were out shopping the other day. A big dog slipped his leash and went to attack this other dog..Oh it was horrible, the noise and 3 men tried to break them up. Obviously there was no hose around.. The men eventually broke them up... The dog who got off the leash, just went for the other dog.. Anyway I have rambled enough..Great advice xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  11. There have been a few around here.... mostly around food. So it's important in our house that everyone has their own space to eat. Fortunately, I don't have to keep them in separate rooms.

  12. Good advice. Dog fights can be very dangerous.

    Critter Alley

  13. Good info, that I hope I never need to use.

  14. Lots of good advice, Dog fights scare me and I'm never looking for any trouble - I've been attacked a couple of times and I hid behind Mum's leg so she could protect me - I try to steer clear of any dog who doesn't like me - glad Mum has some more advice from you in case it ever happens again….

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  15. this is great practical advice! no one likes dog fights and having a plan and a calm mind makes all the difference between quickly settling things and ramping up the mood. thanks for sharing!

  16. Good advice. Im not a big believer in dominance theory but I think nervous dogs lead to fights a lot and fear. Theres a product in the states, citronella spray that I keep on hand and it works well with ending fights

    urban hounds

  17. I pray we never have a serious fight. I found your post very interesting and a good reminder of what to do and not to do. I am interested in the citronella spray that Urban Hounds mentioned. Probably wouldn't hurt to have something like that around. Great post.


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