What is the safest way to break up a dog fight?

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Breaking up a dogfight can be dangerous. You should always try to avoid it, but sometimes you do need to intervene. Like anything, being prepared for an eventual event is always a good defense. Here are some things you might do; choose the best one to suit your size and abilities.

• First, stay calm. That’s easier said than done, because a dog fight is pretty frightening and intense. We do know, however, that yelling at the dogs will increase their anxiety. Speak in a strong voice and tell your dog to stop or firmly say, “No!”
• If you had the dog on a leash prior to the fight, keep it on—it’s better for control.
• Avoid hitting the dogs or getting your hands anywhere near their mouths. Hitting could make the situation worse and could cause the attack to be redirected toward you.
• Enlist another person and separate the dogs by grabbing their hind legs and walking them backward (like wheelbarrows); be careful not to hold the legs in such a way that the dog can just turn around and bite you. Once separated, secure the dogs away from each other before releasing them. Walk the other dog away as soon as you can; don’t even let them make eye contact.
• Distract the dogs if you’re still unable to pull them away from each other. Make a loud noise, pour water on them or throw a blanket on them to disorient them. This works well if you are working alone to pull two or more dogs apart. Spray the aggressor with a water hose or, if necessary, a fire extinguisher. If this doesn’t make a difference, aim for the nostrils. Use a noise-making device such as an air horn to drive them apart.
NOTE: Remember, the dog isn’t just defending herself, but also you. Do not place yourself in the other dog’s way because it can cause your dog to react more strongly.

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