By Karen A. Soukiasian
Dogfights happen fast, and sometimes without warning. The best thing to do is to prevent one from starting.
If you sense a fight is about to begin, remove your dog immediately.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to prevent dogfights from starting. The most essential thing for you to remember is to stay calm, so as not to escalate the situation.
Dog parks are wonderful places for dogs to socialize. Unfortunately, some dogs should not be allowed. As a responsible dog owner, if you are uncomfortable, immediately remove your dog.
1. One dog giving the other “dirty” looks such as a cold, dead stare.
2. Second dog returning the stare.
3. Posturing -standing firm, staring each other down, head over shoulder.
4. Hair in the middle of the shoulders stand up -(raised hackles)
5. Very low, growling sounds.
6. Head dropped, ears back, teeth showing.
7. Darting at the other dog…without warning.
8. Aggressor’s tail held very high.
9. Aggressor’s tail wagging high and methodically.
10. Both dogs tail held high.
1. Obedience training! If trained properly, a simple firm “NO!” or “ENOUGH!” command should work. Commands to master are: “SIT”,”STAY”, “DOWN”, “LEAVE IT!,” “ENOUGH”, and “NO”
2. Stand tall in front of your dog, fold your arms and firmly holler, ‘NO!”
3. Put the aggressor on leash. Make him go into the “DOWN” position and order him to “STAY!” until he becomes calm.
Breaking up a fight:
1. Grab the back feet of each dog, (two people required) placing the dogs in a “wheel barrel” position, pull them apart, then slowly spin or pull them away from each other.
2. Immediately separate them. Put the aggressor on leash and immediately remove him/her from the park. If at home, place him into his crate…if you do not have a crate, isolate them both dogs for at least 30 minutes.
Reduce the aggressor’s pack status:
1. Place the aggressor on leash during feeding time. He is to watch the other dog eat first.
2. Feed the aggressor by hand if necessary, to reinforce your Alpha status.
3. Ignore him, if he “demands” attention.
4. Command your dog for everything. He must “earn” meals, walks, attention etc. Make him sit, stay, or down, before being fed, walked, or even played with.
5. Never allow an aggressive dog on the furniture! It raises them in pack status.
1. Shout or scream, it only escalates the situation…stay calm
2. Grab for the collars. Dogs usually target the neck area when they fight…your hand and arm will be in the danger zone.
Bottom line: Learn to read your dog. Most dogs are creatures of habit. Prevent dog fights by watching for situations that may trigger them. Obedience train your dog, preferably through positive reinforcement, punishment-free methods of training. A simple command should be enough, to deter your dog from engaging.
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