Learn how to take control quickly and calmly to stop a dog fight

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Learn how to take control quickly and calmly to stop a dog fight

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Being a witness to a dog fight between two strange dogs is enough to shock most of us, however, when a fight involves our own pet it can be a deeply traumatic experience.

This article is aimed at giving both practical information and sensible advice in order to help you limit the possibility of your dog being involved in a serious dog fight. You will learn why dogs fight, the ways in which you can prepare and train your dog, making it less likely that he will fight and, also how to deal safely and calmly when faced with breaking up two dogs fighting.

If you take a look at the animal world you will quickly learn that aggression is natural behaviour used to obtain order and balance within a given society. Our domestic canine has inherited this characteristic as part of it’s genetic blue print, we can observe this hard wired behaviour even in very young puppies.

Dogs fight for a multitude of reasons, however, during the normal course of events this type of behaviour is usually the outcome of determining pack structure between dogs or in the possession and protection of resources, such as food. Outside of this arena, a dog may initiate a fight or may be the recipient of an attack by another dog for a whole host of other reasons, that may include some of the following:

  • One or both of the dogs may simply just not get along.

  • A young or socially inexperienced dog may misread the signals of an aggressive dog.

  • The owner may inadvertently cause the dog to behave aggressively towards other dogs.

  • The dog may be nervous or anxious around other dogs, causing him to attack defensively.

  • The dog may have had the experience of being attacked by another dog in the past, causing him to behave defensively each time he is in the presence of other dogs.

  • The dog may be poorly socialised.

Before we look at how to go about stopping a dog who has got into a fight, it is much better never having to put your dog into a situation where he feels he needs to attack another dog, or alternatively, feel he needs to defend himself. Remember the potential for your pet to become involved in a dog fight will depend much upon his level of socialisation, his experience of obedience training and, of course his innate behavioural characteristics.

The first thing you should consider, especially if you own a puppy is that the potential to fight is hard wired into your dogs brain. Don’t dismiss the possibility of your dog fighting, simply because he is young, playful and has an extreme easy going personality. Think ahead.

Socialise your puppy well. Introduce him to other friendly dogs as early as possible. When he is fully inoculated he can begin properly socialising with other dogs and learning his canine social graces early. This is especially important with breeds such as Pitfalls, Bull Terriers and, breeds such as The Rottweiler, who have the potential to behave dominantly if not handled correctly.

Along with establishing the correct hierarchy, in that you are the ‘pack leader’, teach your puppy to inhibit his bite early. Another extremely important exercise you can teach your dog, that will help to reduce the likely hood of a dog fight is the ‘easy’ or ‘slowly’ exercise. This will help your dog approach other dogs in a calm and friendly manner.

Teach your dog object exchanges often. You can do this by giving him a toy to play with, then calling him to you and asking him to ‘leave’ or ‘give’, when he gives you his toy, give him another toy in exchange right away. Doing this exercise often will teach your dog not to become possessive over any resources that he has.

Finally, when walking your dog, you will obviously meet many strange dogs along the way. If a strange dog decides to approach, try not to pull your dogs lead tight. Watch your own body language; try to remain calm and confident. Use your ‘easy’ or ‘nice’ command, and any interaction between the two should not result in a dog fight. If on the other hand you are genuinely weary about the approaching dog, then don’t over react, distract your dog and walk in another direction, away from the approaching dog. Don’t stop and wait until the dog approaches and, begin reeling your dog in, as this along with your uneasy manner could signal to your dog that there is a need to become aggressive and engage in a dog fight.

Finally, let us look at the sensible steps you can take when two dogs are fighting, and more importantly, keep yourself safe in the process.

The first and most important thing to consider here, is that dogs don’t routinely savage each other. In fact when you find two dogs fighting, the fight usually lasts a few seconds, with a lot of growling and frothing from the mouth, whereupon both dogs separate, with one the victor and the other the vanquished. If two dogs are about to engage in a fight, then you may see some of the following signs:

  • Both dogs will move slowly around each other, with tails and ears held high.

  • Fixed eye contact can be observed.

  • One dog may attempt to mount the other.

  • Any of the above behaviours can be accompanied by one or both dogs growling.

Usually, in this case one dog will back down and show submission to the more dominant dog. However, if neither dog is willing to give way the, the meeting may culminate in the two dogs fighting.

In this case you will need to react calmly but decisively. Remember, dogs are designed to sort out their own disputes, so wait a few seconds to see if they stop. If it looks like they are prepared to continue, then the best course of action to pursue is to enlist the help of the other dogs owner if he or she is present, if not ask for the help of a passer by. Calmly put your dogs lead around your dogs back legs and pull the lead up towards it’s groin and, pick the dog up. In this way the leash acts like a sling. Only your dogs front paws will remain on the ground, so it will be difficult for him to mobilise himself in order to continue fighting. At this point, try to keep your distance from your dog, in case he attempts to attack you and, pull at a right angle, so as he is no longer facing his opponent. When your dog is a little calmer, put the lead on him and leave the scene immediately.

It is often advise that you should take hold of your dogs back legs in order to break up two dogs fighting; this option is not without it’s dangers, in that you are not only closer to your dog, but in between the time it would take to get hold of your dog and lift his back legs off the floor, he could have quickly turned and bitten you.

There are many people who have been severely bitten or have even died as a result of attempting to separate two dogs from fighting, especially when the fight has been particularly serious. In order to keep yourself safe, please follow this advice:

  • NEVER put your hand near the head of a fighting dog

  • NEVER under estimate the real possibility of being bitten by your own dog, if he becomes embroiled in a fight.

Remember, during a fight your dog is in his world, a world where force and aggression is used to settle disputes. Your dog may be loyal and loving normally, but once embroiled in a dog fight, may take a snap at you when you least expect it.

  • NEVER try to stop two dogs fighting by yourself, even smaller dogs can inflict nasty wounds.

  • DON’T shout, scream or hit two fighting dogs, especially if they are involved in a serious fight, as this could cause the fight to escalate.

  • DO always have your dogs lead at hand in case you need to use it as a safe method of parting him from another dog during a fight.

It is quite natural for dogs to fight and, most of us who own a dog will have first hand experience of this during our dogs life. However, if you follow the advice I have laid out above, you will not only greatly limit the possibility of your dog becoming involved in a serious fight, but if he does, you will be able to safely and confidently deal with stopping it quickly.


Source by Ivan Ojounru

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