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Don’t become a victim in a dogfight. Keep in mind that aggressive dogs will attack anything in their fight zone during a confrontation.

Let’s first focus on the wrong ways to stop a dogfight.

Never reach in with your hands to separate two fighting dogs. The intense, violent nature of the fight may cause even your own dog not to recognize your hand or arm as separate from the rival dog. Animals may attack anything in the fight zone, and serious bites can result.

Also, never grab the dog by the tail and attempt to pull him away from the fight. The dog is maximally stimulated and might quickly wheel around and bite your hand.
two dogs looking at each other

So, what can you do? Trainers, veterinarians, dog groomers, and veterinary technicians offer a wide variety of answers. Here are a few:

  • Step on the combatant’s feet. It will distract the dog enough for him to stop fighting.
  • Place a large push broom against the chest of the fighter and shove him away from the other dog.
  • Blow loud, shrill blasts from a whistle, such as a police whistle, right above the fight to distract the dogs.
  • Throw water on them.

There probably isn’t one surefire way to break up a dogfight. It does seem there a lot of unsafe ways that can lead to severe bites.

Exercise some common sense. Use foresight before placing your dog in stressful situations that may lead to a fight. If your dog is aggressive or a chronic fighter, don’t let him off-leash when he’s with other dogs. Obedience and socialization classes can help turn a fighter into a better citizen and a more enjoyable companion.

The original version of this article appeared in the “Ask Dr. Kevin” column in Family Dog.

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