Tuesday, June 8, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Stopping (or Not Stopping) a Dog Fight

Every hunter hopes that their dog will never have reason to enter into a dog fight. In fact, many dog owners would list reasons why their dog would never do such a thing. However, even highly trained dogs can become emotional or get pulled in to a squabble. It is quite possible that your dog will fight for an acceptable reason. Dogs can fight out of jealousy, poor socialization, improper breeding, or a desire for dominance. But they will also fight when they are in fear or pain, or they are defending themselves against some form of attack.


What if, for example, your perfectly trained, mild-mannered, wonderfully loyal companion is at your side performing well, when you both encounter a dog that has not been perfectly trained, is not mild-mannered or loyal, and is sick, in pain, or tired? Then this unpredictable dog approaches your dog and becomes agitated or violent. Even if your dog is perfect in every way, your dog will fight, if for no other reason than to defend himself. And, even though this is your loyal companion, your interference in this struggle can easily end in your own injury. During a dog fight, you are unrecognizable to your dog as his provider and friend. Instead, you are an obstacle to be removed so that he can get back to the task at hand.

It is important to recognize if the fight truly requires your peace-making interference. Are the dogs truly fighting or are they simply growling and threatening one another? If they are just posturing in an attempt to gain superiority or dominance, it is likely that one will submit and the other will accept the surrender. However, if the dogs are truly fighting and neither one appears ready to back down, it may require your assistance.

In your attempts to separate the dogs, do not take hold of either dog’s muzzle (it is quite probable you will be bitten). Do not yell, as this can often elevate their excitement. Do not insert yourself between the dogs, as you will become a target of their violence. Also, do not attempt to break up the fight by hitting the dogs with objects. This will increase their excitement and add pain to an already sticky situation.

There are two effective ways to bring the fight to an end. The first one involves spraying or throwing water into the dogs’ ears. This allows enough of a surprise and pause that you can intervene and pull them apart. The second method depends entirely on the presence of both owners. Both you and the other dog’s owner (or another willing bystander) grabs a dog by the hindquarters and walks them backwards. Ideally, you should walk in a circle so that the dog is a bit out of balance. Once the dogs are separate, they must stay apart for at least several hours. In most cases this will require that the dogs be tied or crated.

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