Tips and techniques to prevent or break up a dog fight from experts


PHILADELPHIA — While dog trainer Curtis Kelley would like to say it’s rare for dogs to fight, it can still happen, and the best way to break one up is to prevent a fight from breaking out first. place.

Dogs have desires, fears, stressors and sources of joy, just like their human owners, Kelley said. They have their own ups and downs. Not that you should expect your dog to fight with another, but it’s definitely something to be prepared for as an owner. You can’t predict that every walk, trip to the park, or interaction with other dogs will always be smooth.

For some advice, The Inquirer spoke with Kelley, certified dog trainer and owner of Pet Parent Alliance, and Marlisa Moschella, owner of Pant Dog Center and former president of the South Philadelphia Association of Dog Owners (SPADO). Both experts encourage doing the legwork before taking your dog to places where he will interact with other dogs.

Know your dog’s wants, needs and sociability

Dogs are social creatures and like humans, they have a range of sociability. Some want nothing to do with other dogs and humans, while others will want to be friends with anyone or anything, said Kelley, who has been training dogs for more than 10 years. The majority of dogs will fall somewhere between that spectrum, he said.

A term commonly used in the canine community to determine a dog’s energy levels and need for interaction is called a dog’s “training.” High-speed dogs are like energized bunnies who want to explore, run, and sniff whatever they can find. Low-training dogs are gentler, content with leisurely walks, and aren’t as likely to venture out alone.

If your dog is highly motivated: keep a tighter leash or use a harness if he likes to pull hard on the leash. Don’t let your dog greet unfamiliar dogs and pay attention to how they play and interact with others.

If your dog has low motivation: Watch out for other high motivation dogs that can trigger stress in a low motivation dog that doesn’t care about energy and play.

Kelley and Moschella said your dog will tell you when he’s feeling stressed or scared if you know how to watch and listen. These physical signs of stress can look like:

1. The body becomes rigidly stiff

2. The tail raised in the air like a mast

3. Intense gaze that differs from their usual neutral or happy gaze

4. Showing their teeth and/or their lips wrapped around the teeth

5. growl

If you’re unsure or can’t figure out your dog’s stress indicators, don’t be afraid to contact the professionals, Moschella said. Dog trainers can help identify stressors and triggers that signal when they are scared or feeling aggressive and teach owners ways to defuse potentially dangerous situations.

Prevent a dog fight from happening

Dog fights are scary, dangerous, and can erupt suddenly, which Kelley says can cause some owners to freeze in the moment. To completely remove this danger from the equation, have security procedures in place to not let an altercation reach this level of combat.

The best way to end a dog fight is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Kelley and Moschella suggest owners take the lead when walking through areas with other people and dogs. While your walk can be a time to relax and get some fresh air, it’s not a good idea to let your dog lead and greet.

“You should think of them as two-year-olds because that’s what they are — they have a two- or three-year-old mentality,” Moschella said. “If you’re with your child at the park and a stranger comes along, are you going to put your child in front and let them decide whether to say hello or not?”

No matter what type of dog you have, there are a few key rules to follow:

1. Always have your dog on a leash: There are no exceptions to this rule. If your dog likes to pull on the leash when walking, use a harness – they allow the owner to have more control over their dog if needed.

2. Be attentive at all times: notice other people and dogs in your environment. Don’t use your phone when walking your dog. Remember that not all dog owners are as alert as you are. Although your dog may perform his best behavior, other dogs may not.


3. Stay away from unfamiliar dogs: Although your dog has had dozens of friendly interactions with others, it can only take one bad interaction to cause a fight. Above all, never let unfamiliar dogs meet face to face.

4. Make Room: When you see a dog on your side of the street, park, or trail, simply walk across the street or in an area away from other dogs. If your dog is a problem for you, pick it up (if you can) and take it away.

5. Ask for space: If another dog owner wants to approach you and your dog, don’t hesitate to let them know that you would like some space and your dog is not interested – that isn’t rude, it’s a matter of safety, Moschella said.

6. Block with your body: If you are interacting with another person and their dog, keep your dog at the side of your body with you standing between them and the other dog.

How to Defuse and Break Up a Dog Fight

Whether your dog and another cross paths or an unfamiliar dog comes out of nowhere and becomes aggressive, it’s important to stay calm and focused at this time. Although dog fights are scary, it’s up to owners to take matters into their own hands and break up the fight safely and quickly.

There are a few techniques you can use to break up a dogfight, ranging from the safest and least difficult techniques to last resort techniques that should only be used when nothing else is working. Remember you also want to stay safe in this situation too, depending on the size of the dog, a bite can be brutal.

Another tip to remember that will be relevant for all techniques — both owners must act at the same time. If one owner is able to separate their dog, but not the other owner, then one dog is effectively restrained while the other continues to attack.

Also, often in a dogfight, there will be a dog that started the altercation that is the most intense. Focus on the attacker of the fight, and if that dog can be separated quickly, he can stop the fight on the spot.

If both dogs are on leash

It’s one of the easiest techniques because both dogs are on leashes that can be pulled apart, Kelley said. Both owners should stand directly behind their dogs and pull hard on the leash in the opposite direction of the other dog.

If pulling the dogs away from each other on a leash doesn’t work, try guiding the dogs to a nearby object like a chair, bench, or post that can separate the two.

If dogs end up getting tangled in leashes, you may need to disconnect the leash for a brief moment to untangle them. If so, try grabbing onto the back of a dog’s harness (if it has one). However, be careful when grabbing a dog’s collar during a fight because your hand will be in the area where a dog could bite, Kelley said.

If no dog is on a leash

The most dangerous type of dogfighting is when both dogs are off leash, making it harder for owners to control them. In this situation, Kelley and Moschella advise using the “wheelbarrow” method.

Both owners should stand directly behind their dogs and hold on to their hind legs. At the same time, both owners should pull up and back, away from the other dog. Keep backing up at a safe distance and attach your dog to a leash, if you have one (which you should).

“I’ve interrupted several dogfights in my life,” Kelley said. “If you have to physically disrupt the fight with yourself, like with your own body, then you’re looking for an opportunity to create separation while not getting any closer to their mouth.”

If only one dog is on a leash

In this scenario, you may need to use a mixture of the above techniques. While one owner pulls the dog on the leash, the other owner uses the wheelbarrow method to steer their dog away. If the owner of the unleashed dog is not present, focus on the aggressor of the attack.

Leave a Reply