Dog Behaviour,  Dog Training

What to do if your dog is in a fight

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Just like people, there are going to be dogs that don’t get on as well.

What we humans can transfer down the leash without realising, restricts our dogs’ movement, stopping them from making the necessary signals in their daily lives.

Once a fight has begun there is little you can do without risk of injury to yourself or escalating the problem. The best way as a responsible dog owner to minimise the hazard, is to stop a fight before it happens.

You can do this by being aware of your surroundings, paying careful attention to any oncoming dogs, watch how other dogs enter yours and your dogs space – if your dog can see you have the situation under control, he or she is more likely to trust your judgement. Make sure you have a great recall, as you can put him on a leash if an unfamiliar dog or dogs appear. If your dog is the aggressor, then you as the owner should take the necessary precautions by keeping the dog on a leash and the use of a muzzle if required.

In the event of a dog fight, try to stay as calm as possible and not shout or scream, as this can intensify the already charged situation. If you try to stop it yourself, then you run the risk of being badly bitten, as most fights are mostly noise and posturing – looking much worse than it really is. If you feel the need to intervene, then try using something to distract the behaviour such as throwing a coat/jumper over the dog or if possible water.

Once the fight has stopped, make sure the attacking dog is restrained so as not to start up again. Try and calm your pet before checking him, as he may snap at you due to adrenalin levels. The slightest external wound can hide extensive muscle damage so if in any doubt get your dog checked by a vet.

If you have been unfortunate to experience a dog fight, whilst the physical injuries usually heal quite quickly, the emotional ones can be harder to heal and will more than likely require training for both the dog and owner to get back to some sort of normality.

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