At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we hear stories of owners getting bit while breaking up a dog fight on a daily basis.
Once this happens, the owner usually calls us for two reasons:
1) Because their dog got into a fight with another dog and they want to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.
2) Their dog has never bitten them before, and now they are afraid that this will become a problem. They are completely shocked that their loving and friendly dog has caused them to get stitches.
First, your dog being dog aggressive could be a legitimate concern and training could definitely help with that, you can read our blog post training fixing your dog aggressive dog.
Second, chances are that you never have to worry about your dog biting you or someone else again, assuming that this was an isolated incident and the only time he/she has ever done this was while engaged in a dog fight. So, do not let that be a fear of yours.
As I always say at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, “If you have broken up a dog fight and you did NOT get bit, I am far more surprised than if you broke up a dog fight and you DID get bit.”
What I’m saying is that if you break up a dog fight; improperly, by yourself, and without knowledge of “how” to break one up, there is a very good chance you will get bit.
Keep in mind, your dog (or the other dog), has no malice intent towards you; however, it’s the “heat of the moment” type-of-situation. Your dog is engaged in a high intensity fight, and all they do is “react” to something grabbing them from a different direction.
Here’s the analogy I use on a daily basis with at my private dog training sessions in Northern Virginia, in order to help make this thought process easy to understand. I was a US Marine, everyone know’s Marines for: being awesome, drinking, and fighting, right? 🙂
So, imagine you are in the middle of a bar and you get into a knock down, drag out, very heated fight. In the middle of this, someone comes up and grabs you on your arm or back, most people’s instant reflex is to swing around, elbow back, throw a punch that way, etc. Welcome to the world of “Why You Got Bit While Breaking Up A Dog Fight.”
Now, this could have been your best friend, your brother, or your father reaching in to grab you and get you out of there; however, you were in the heat of the moment and just reacted. Your dog simply did the same exact thing, they just reacted without thought.
How Should You Break Up A Dog Fight Properly?
In order to properly break up a dog fight, you really should have two people. If your dog and another dog gets engaged into a dog fight, generally, both owners are present. So, you may have to be calm to instruct the owner of the other dog to do this drill, as well.
First, you both reach in and grab your dog by their hind legs! This is important, do not grab their collar, do not grab their chest, and do not grab their mouth, all of these will probably result in you getting bit. So, grab their hind legs and lift them up as if you are holding your dog in a wheelbarrow position (front legs on the ground, hind legs around your waist to chest level). Each owner does this with their dogs and start pulling apart.
Second, as soon as the dogs release their hold, now you start slowly turning in circles while still holding your dog’s hind legs off of the ground. What this does is it prevents them from redirecting and biting you. Since their legs are off the ground and you are turning, you are forcing them to continuously move their front paws side-to-side in order to prevent from falling on their face.
Do this as you each move your dogs further and further apart. Do not release them, or chances are they will go right back into fight mode. You should continue this wheelbarrow and circular motion while moving the dogs apart until you each have full control over the dogs, or until you are able to put one of the dogs in a safe spot (kennel, car, different room, etc).
Now, it is possible that you could be the only person present and nobody is around. You could be a kennel worker, it was a lone dog that came out after yours, etc.
How To Break Up A Dog Fight Alone:
Loop a leash around the first dog’s hind quarters (stomach area), make a loop with the leash; meaning, thread the end that attaches to the dogs collar through the handle of the leash creating a loop. Put thread this around the dog’s stomach and start pulling him back with it. Pull him back until you can attach the connector (that is in your hand) to something to secure the dog in place (kennel, fence, etc). Now, that first dog is essentially anchored to whatever you attached him to.
Then, go behind the second dog and do the drill described above when two owners are present.
Doing this drill, may take a few more seconds; however, it will help ensure that you do not get bit which is well worth it.
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