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How to break up a dog fight.


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You have to know that old Ripper we had him from a young pup, he was the family dog, would never harm a fle, he was a big strong muscular dog. He was well exercised, he never ever ever started a fight, but he sure would finish one. He did so by pinning the dog to the ground by the throat tell we came to assist.

 

So he knew that Kim had finally got there, therefore he was ready, thing is that it took so long for anyone to get there he really was not focusing on anything more then that dog that went after him. Still Kimber got lucky that day. I guess she had no other choice. I have always felt that their could have been another way, but looking back their could have been many other ways to have avoided the whole situation. Poor old Rip he was quite an awesome dog. Lost him at the ripe old age of 18 and a half on October 8th. 3 years ago.

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I've been wondering about this for a couple of years, and not knowing how to break up a fight has been one thing holding me off getting a dog of my own.

Last year I witnessed a muscular status dog (idiot owner) kill a large spaniel on the street whilst the fighting dog's owner punched, pulled and choked his poor animal. Nothing convinced it to drop the spaniel until it was done.

I am terrified of something like that happening to me and an animal in my charge, especially with an increase of status dogs with young owners in the U.K.

I'd heard of break sticks and citrus sprays, but learning another option is very reassuring.

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Worst fight I have ever seen was between two alpha bitches and the only way we could break it up was with water. As in nearly fire hose strength water. And the only reason that worked was because they were on a hill and we could wash one down. Both had extensive injuries, both needed surgery. Five more minutes and one would have been dead.

 

At issue? A dead puppy. Which belonged to neither of them. I never ever got that one figured out.

 

And these were both well trained stockdogs. I always wondered whether it could have been prevented. Once it got going no command under the sun was going to stop it. but I do often wonder whether it could have been prevented.

 

I dunno. I'm not a fan of taking my dogs out and about into the general public for that and other reasons.

 

So, I guess my answer is "water".

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At issue? A dead puppy. Which belonged to neither of them. I never ever got that one figured out.

Unfortunately, I think some dogs with a young dead puppy who was not one of theirs may view it in the same light as a dead rabbit .. That is as food..I've heard of bitches who have ripped young ( pre- weaned) pups that are not theirs to pieces.

 

ETA..OTOH, my main bitch is incredibly protective and maternal towards any (unrelated) pups I've brought into the house and I get the impression that she wiould fight if she felt she needed to protect them (I don't let her)

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My preferred method is definitely water or a startling noise. Spray bottle if you can do it soon enough, or a hose if that has no change of working. Obviously those aren't always on hand, but I've yet to have to physically drag a dog off another, so that's lucky. An addition to the back legs method I've heard is to walk in a circle with the dog's hind legs so they're too occupied to try to wriggle around and snap at you. That is most likely assuming it's not your dog (but you never know).

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I briefly forgot what an airhorn was, and pictured a vuvuzela. I bet that would work.

Depends very much on the dogs. If they really are trying to kill each other I think not. JMO

 

But as CMP says who carries an air horn with them ( or for that matter guarantees to have a hose or water bucket close at hand)?

 

BUT If the aggressor fully respects the human then a loud bellow as Mr. McCaig previously described may work better.

 

ETA I guess the hind leg lift may be the best all round option as I presume the main aggressor would have at least 1 of them with them at all times!

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I hate to burst everyone's bubble about the grabbing by the hind legs thing, but here's my story...

 

One cold snowy evening I exited a movie theater and noticed a small beagle-mix-ish dog running up to various people, looking hopeful for a moment and then backing away. Clearly a lost (or dumped) dog, not much coat, not a lot of body mass, cold night ahead, and oh, did I mention it was Christmas eve? So, of course I had to save the poor dog. After a few attempts to lure him within reach, I went back inside, paid the big bucks for a movie theater hot dog, and went back out. I managed to lure the waif pretty close to my car, but he wouldn't let me touch him, and after an hour and a small fortune worth of movie theater hot dogs (the woman behind the counter got curious about my apparently insatiable hot dog appetite, and gave me a couple freebies when I explained what I was doing), I still couldn't lay a finger on the dog. He would come right up to my car, but he wouldn't hop in through the open door for the hot dog bonanza on the back seat. Finally I had him investigating a hot dog while I was close enough to grab at a hind leg, a supposedly fool-proof method for avoiding being bitten. Perhaps there is a correct way to grab dogs by the hind leg without the possibility of being bitten, but if so, I chose an incorrect way to do it. That dog managed to bit the hand that held, and had very recently fed, it very hard. Very very hard. It was one of the most excruciating moments of my life, and after hanging on for perhaps 15 seconds, I let go, and I never saw the dog again.

 

So, yeah, probably grabbing a fighting dog by the back legs is a better idea than sticking hands between two biting sets of jaws. But it's not a fool-proof method, if only because fools can be so ingenious.

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I suspect there's quite a bit of difference in grabbing the back legs of a dog that's fighting with another dog, and focused on that fight, than there is to the example above where there was no other dog distracting it, just a human at its rear.

Especially if what you are doing with that dog is using the grip on the backleg to PUSH (into a car) or get closer to the dog, rather than backing up and keeping the *dog* backing up.

 

It's a horrible handle to just grab the dog with, because of course they can twist around and bite, especially if the dog is effectively staying still or able to brace itself against something. What they can't do is twist around and bite at that angle if you are making the dog keep moving with it's front feet, and you're pulling the dog backwards AND moving backward (preferably in circles) yourself.

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GentleLake and CptJack, you both make very valid points. As I suggested, there are better and worser ways to do this. I chose a much worser way. I just want folks to learn from my naiveté, and not assume that grabbing hind legs of fighting dogs is necessarily a safe thing to do. The distraction factor of the other dog and pushing the dog rather than pulling it off the ground are both important factors. And in the heat of the moment, this isn't necessarily an easy thing to choreograph. Faced with a serious dog fight and no inanimate objects to shove between the dogs, I'd probably grab hind legs again. But a little more carefully.

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The humane society I voluteer with suggests shouting and banging something loud near them first (like two pots, if they're handy), then escalating to throwing something at them (obviously nothing that could hurt), and then using one of the dog catcher slip leads on a pole if it's available.

 

Most of the dogs I've seen stop fighting amidst the chaos of yelling and things clanging, but some need the distraction of being hit with a bag of dog treats and then they look at you in shock.

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Don't know if this would be helpful to anyone else or not, but thought I would mention it.

 

I used to live in an area where there were a lot of loose dogs, mostly pit bulls because that is the most common dog around here, and most of them were unfriendly at best. In order to walk my dogs at all (or even to walk without my dogs, should I ever have wanted to), I had to have a way to keep them at a distance, as they would come tearing out of their yards to attack us.

 

I purchased and carried a tactical baton, which is a telescoping steel baton used by police and military personnel. It is about a foot long telescoped shut, and with a flick of the wrist you can snap it out and lock it to a length of three feet of solid steel. The sound it makes when it snaps out is loud and formidable. My experience was that I never once actually had to hit a dog with the baton Just snapping it out made them run, even when they were on their way toward us with evil intent.

 

Once two dogs ran out of their yard and jumped on Jester before I could get the baton out. They had him down in less than a second and were on him. I snapped out the baton, with every intent to start whaling away on the dogs' backs, but the sound made them let go and run.

 

Not saying, of course, that this would always work. Probably not. But, if the sound did not work, the whaling on the dog with the baton probably would, because you could do some real damage with one of those steel batons. It's easy to carry, hooked on the belt.

 

I am most glad that these days I no longer live in a neighborhood where I have to have it with me every time I walk out the front door.

 

You can buy these batons on the internet.

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Walking staff would work, too, I bet.

I am surprised that a baton would be illegal there.

But I am used to Arizona. You can legally carry a loaded gun in your pocket here, and do not need a permit to do so.

And, yeah, it was a relief to move to a nicer area. :)

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I think there are a lot of factors to consider here. There is a huge difference between dogs who want to protect themselves and are fighting because they are afraid, and a dog who has snapped and truly wants to kill another dog or person. Dogs also are very aware of what they are doing with their teeth and can mean it if they want to hurt you, or back off if not. There is also a big difference between a dog who knows and trusts you and one who has never met you and has no respect for humans. Use caution and take all of this into account before using any method to break up a dog fight.

 

In the past I have had to pull apart two big husky-wolf mix dogs using the method talked about here. I grabbed one of the dogs around the waist and pulled backwards in a wheel-barrow manner. It worked! (No, these dogs were not mine...) It worked because they were just fighting (as horrible as it looked and sounded), not trying to truly whole-heartedly kill each other. They also already trusted me, otherwise they could have twisted around and attacked me. It was risky, for sure, but it did work. Once they were apart from each other they were in the position to be receptive to listening to my yelling and authority. If still locked together yelling would have done nothing because they were focused only on the teeth each of them they felt.

 

On the other hand, one of these two dogs did eventually 'snap' and tried to kill the terrier after the terrier nipped at it's hind end one too many times. This dog grabbed the terrier by the throat with an intent to kill. I pushed my fingers in this dog's eyes, pushed on the back of the jaw to force a release, put my hands in it's mouth and tried to pry the jaws apart, pulled the dog away, and yelled. This dog didn't stop for anything and let go only when it thought the terrier was dead. Nothing I could do would have worked. While all of this was happening, the terrier deeply bit my hand while trying to defend itself. Even while being killed, once the terrier realized it was me that it as biting, it let go. That part still breaks my heart. They do know what they are doing with their teeth. (The terrier lived after surgery. It was a trauma for all of us.)

 

Once again, these dogs were not mine, and neither is the ex who put me in these situations. I make much better choices than that. (My BC pup is awesome! Sweet, trained, and we walk in safe neighborhoods.) But - I can speak from my past experience. With caution, that technique can work. It is a good piece of information to keep in your back pocket in case of emergency.

 

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I've had to use it a few times, never my own dogs, thank goodness. It does not always cause a pittie to break it's hold on another dog. Short waisted dogs are the ones that can twist and try to reach your hand when you lift them off the ground by their back legs, but if you treat them like a yo-yo, they will decide that having feet on the ground is a good thing. And I sincerely hope that is info I will never need again.

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Stun guns are supposed to work very well. I just bought one (ViperTek VTS_881) so haven't actually used it. They're non-lethal, inexpensive, small and easy to carry. The loud noise they make is said to be very frightening to dogs so it's good for scaring off approaching dogs. Zapping won't completely incapacitate a dog, but should be enough to send it running.

 

I've broken up several fights over the years by grabbing the hind legs. Works pretty well. I've even tossed a few dogs, though nothing larger than a husky. A few weeks ago my young pup was attacked by a small, but really obnoxious little dog at the dog park (It had already attacked another dog before going after mine...Stupid owner...). I was there in a second, grabbed the little thing and tossed it. Unfortunately, I over-estimated it's weight and it was air-borne for a little longer than expected. Eh....maybe it learned a lesson.

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