What to do when dogs fight:
1. Do NOT panic: it is usually our first instinct to want to jump right in and pull the animals apart. This is dangerous to you and the dogs.
2. Try to make a loud, startling noise. Yelling “NO” may help, but if it doesn’t work the first time, it is not going to work any better if it is repeated. Clang metal bowls next to the dogs’ ears. And air horn should also be an effective auditory surprise.
3. Use a hose or throw cold water on them. This will surprise them and hopefully break them up long enough for you to separate them.
4. Use your lead, not your hands! Get the leash under the dog’s hips and lift their back legs off the ground. DO NOT PULL, as this may cause injury to the animal. Begin stepping back slowly as if you are maneuvering a wheelbarrow. Another person should be doing the same to the second dog.
5. If it is on hand, use citronella spray. This is a natural spray that dogs hate to smell. Sprits one time or two times close to the dogs’ noses. This should distract them because of the smell and give you enough time to separate the dogs.
6. Use a physical barrier to separate the dogs. . It is not always safe to use your body as a block, especially if the fight is intense. You may end up getting hurt yourself. Chairs, garbage cans, something sturdy that can distract one dog’s view of the other As long as the dogs can see each other, they will continue trying to attack.
7. Slip the lead around the dog’s neck as quickly as possible and lead one dog back inside the building at a time.
What to do after a dog fight.
1. Remember to STAY CALM. Yelling, high-pitched voices, rough handling, can all keep the tension in the dig high and could lead to injury for both dog and human. If your voice will give away your state of anxiety or anger, keep quiet.
2. Body language is important. Try not to tug, pull, or drag the dog as this will again keep the dog on high alert and ready to lash out.
3. Take 5-10 deep breaths to refocus yourself. The fight is over and it is now time to assess the injuries.
4. Pay attention to the dog’s body language now. If he is acting fearful (crouched in corner, eyes wide, ears flat and to the side, tail tucked between legs), it may be best to do a visual exam only. If there are no serious wounds then it is okay to let the dog calm down a bit before there are more mammals invading its personal space. The same goes for a dog that is still acting aggressive (bared teeth, ears flat and back, hard stare, tail down or very stiff).
5. If there are serious injuries that are in need of immediate care, the first step should always be a secure muzzle to prevent harm. Sometimes covering the dogs eyes with a towel or sheet as well can also help calm the dog down. If there are serious injuries to either dog, injuries that are more than superficial scratches, take the dog to the vet immediately. They can fully and safely assess the dog’s health and medical needs.