If you have a dog and you're a good pet parent who takes the dog out to socialize, you may occasionally have to deal with a dogfight. While nobody likes to have to deal with this, it's just part of the territory. There are a number of steps you can take to avoid dogfights and a few more you take to break them up if and when they occur. Read on to learn how you can be a responsible dog owner who avoids and prevents dogfights and knows how to handle the occasional outburst sensibly.
The first thing you should do to minimize the number of fights your dog gets into is have your dog spayed or neutered. Whether male or female, an intact dog is far more likely to have a reason to fight with other dogs. If your dog is spayed or neutered, you will have a lot more success socializing him or her. A well-socialized dog is also far less like to get into fights.
While socializing your dog, there will be many times when you will meet other dogs. You may be at the dog park or walking down the street when you encounter a canine stranger. If both dogs are on leash, as they should be, you and the owner of the second dog should keep them in firm control but allow them to sniff each other carefully and get to know one another. Even if there's a little bit of growling and raised hackles, allow the dogs to explore each other while maintaining the control. Don't yank your dog back or prevent the dogs' interaction. Your interference will prevent them from establishing a positive canine social connection!
Most dogs will establish a pecking order and be ready to go their merry way within a few moments. If this is not the case and a serious fight breaks out, be sure to pull your dog back. Be careful not to place your hand or your body between the two dogs or you may end up getting bitten. Throughout the process, remain calm and in control. Don't shout and scream and flail your arms around. This is a sure way to convince your dog that danger is afoot and cause even more problems.
If you are walking down the street and a loose dog aggresses against you, and your dog, keep your dog between you and the other dog. This may seem uncaring for your dog, but you don't want to be the one who gets bitten! You have to stay uninjured so that you can stay in charge. When another dog comes running toward you, heel your dog and draw yourself up to your height. Shout "No! Bad dog! Go home!" as loudly and with as much conviction as you can muster. Very often, even an aggressive dog will turn tail when called a bad dog and told to go home by someone who seems to be an authority.
Whatever you do, don't run! That's just inviting a chase and attack. If the dog attacks your dog, drop the leash, jump up on a nearby car if you can and call 911. If the dog attacks you and there's nowhere to go, let go of your dog, drop to the ground, then roll into a ball, cover the back of your head and your neck with your linked hands and play dead.
If you are in your own yard with your dog and a strange dog comes into the yard looking for a fight, try turning the hose on it. It may run away or at least be confused and give you enough time to get inside with your dog. Once inside, call 911. This is especially true if the dog seems to be very aggressive and possibly rabid.
Dogfights are rare. If you are a good dog handler, train and socialize your dog properly and make appropriate use of a sturdy leash and a fenced yard, you are unlikely to have any problems. The main thing to remember if a dogfight does break out is that you must protect your own safety first.