Stop and Prevent Dog Fights in Your Home

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Anonymous, Lynn, Eng and 1 other

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When you have more than one dog at home, it is almost impossible to avoid dogfights. This can happen very unexpectedly. Most owners find it almost impossible to deal with such a stressful event, so much so that they just opt to give one of the dogs away or rule euthanasia over the seemingly aggressive one. These heartbreaking scenarios can be prevented if you know and understand the nature of dogfights. Doing so will arm you with the knowledge and practical skills to stop it, and even to prevent a fight from happening again. Admittedly, dogfights are scary. It's a moment you dread to get in the middle of, so you just have to make it stop. It is true that dogs are a different species, but they are the closest connection we have with Mother Nature. You should start working more closely with your dogs so that you can have a more peaceful and more united pack inside and outside of your home.

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Is it Playtime?

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Many dog owners have difficulty in telling whether their dogs are playing or already fighting. Dogs usually mimic fights when they are playing so any play session can turn into a fight. If two well-socialized dogs are playing, they won't end up fighting for sure. When you have more than two dogs playing, this increases the possibility of a dogfight. Two or more dogs can attack a single dog, especially if they are not socialized. Here are some signs that can help you determine if dogs are in play mode:

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  1. 1
    The play bow.
    This is a dog's invitation to start play. A dog bows by lowering the front legs with the head. The rump is in the air and the hind legs are straight. This may look like stretching, but it's signal that a dog is in a playful mood.
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  2. 2
    Vocalization.
    There are times when dogs bark at one another, usually in a high-pitched voice. It is not aggression. Most dogfights are not that noisy at all.
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  3. 3
    Switching roles.
    Dogs usually switch roles as top dog and bottom dog.
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  4. 4
    Reactive.
    When dogs play, they are still responsive to their surrounding environment. They may purposely dismiss what's going on around them because they are playing.
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  5. 5
    Biting.
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    Biting during playtime is a natural thing for dogs. They usually aim for the head or the neck, but they do not break each other's skin at all. You can tell if the dogs are ready to fight when you see them puffing up, trying to look bigger. Their posture is rigid. One or both will try to pin down another dog. As the fight worsens, the biting will become harder, which causes bleeding.
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The Reason Behind Dogfights

Dogfights can happen for so many reasons.

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Uncontrolled play is a common situation. An attack can suddenly transpire because of a particular territory, person, toys, or food. It may also be brought about by an aggression that is redirected toward another dog. Homes that have more than two dogs usually have this kind of dilemma. There may be two dogs in your household that have always been best buddies, but suddenly something sets one off and a fight begins. There are cases when two dogs just cannot live in the same territory. You will often find yourself walking on eggshells if you have this type of scenario to deal with. The owner may also be the main reason why the dogs fight. Two or more dogs may want more attention. Dogs also see if a dog is being cuddled or petted more. Dogs of similar gender often end up fighting, especially if they are not neutered or spayed. Lack of socialization is another main reason for dogfights.

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How to Stop and Prevent Dogfights

Stopping a dogfight takes courage, presence of mind, and timing.

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Even if you are very diligent in supervising your dogs, they can still get involved in fighting each other. If you quickly interrupt the fight by making a loud noise, it will only take a few seconds to stop. Physically separating the dogs will have to be done if the fight takes longer or continues, even if you try to distract them. Know how to stop and prevent dogfights in your home and you will also lower your level of anxiety. Remember that stopping dogfights can certainly be a dangerous endeavor. Below are tips to follow on how to reduce injury to you and the dogs when you stop a dogfight:

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General Guidelines

  1. 1
    Plan what to do.
    Dog owners usually have different plans when it comes to stopping dogfights. Let the people you live with know about your plan so that you can have support when it is direly needed.
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  2. 2
    Be calm and never panic.
    Stay calm at all times and you will be able to prevent blood from being drawn. If you do this, you will be able to separate the dogs more effectively and more safely.
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  3. 3
    Never grab the collar during a fight.
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    It's a very bad idea because your dog might bite you instead. Some dogs react to that collar hold by biting. It is termed as "redirected aggression", which is described as a something close to a reflex. A dog never thinks when this is done. Even if the dog did not show aggression before, this can easily transpire.
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Startle and Make Use of a Temporary Barrier

Physically separating the dogs is the last resort. Try the following pointers first:

  1. 1
    Make a sudden sound, loud enough to interrupt the dogs.
    You can try to stomp your feet, yell, or clap in front of the fighting dogs. You can also try to bang two metal bowls together near the dogs. An air horn is also effective. Be sure to keep the air horn in your pocket before you let your dog play with other dogs. If making loud noises doesn't stop the fighting in a few seconds, opt for another method.
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  2. 2
    Spray them with water.
    Try to have a water bowl or a hose accessible. Dumping water on their heads will help neutralize the fight.
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  3. 3
    Opt for citronella sprays.
    If you want to use citronella sprays, aim for the noses of your fighting dogs. It would be wise to carry your citronella spray while you take your dog for a walk. There might be off-leash dogs that have the habit of picking a fight. When you encounter such a dog, spray the citronella so the dog can stop approaching.
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  4. 4
    Place an obstacle in between the dogs.
    This can be a wooden board or anything flat that would block the dogs from seeing each other. You can also use a chair or a baby gate. Throwing a blanket over the dogs and closing your door between them will also work, just as long as they don't see each other.
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  5. 5
    Separate the dogs physically.
    This is the last resort, if the other given methods do not work. As much as possible, do this with the lower part of your body because your legs are stronger than your arms.  
    1. Wear shoes, boots, and pants when possible.
    2. Grab the dogs.
    3. You and another person should approach the fighting dogs at the same time. Separate the dogs simultaneously.
    4. Hold the posterior or back legs of your dog. Grab the portion under the hips, where the legs attach to the dog's body. Do not grab the lower legs, paws, or ankles because this could result in injury.
    5. Lift the hind part of your dog like you would a wheelbarrow. As you lift, move backward so that your dog can move away from the other.
    6. Turn your dog around after taking a few steps backward. This will remove the other dog from your dog's line of sight.
    7. Keep the dogs separate.
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      Isolate the dogs so that the same thing won't happen again. If they're friends, let them calm down first before you allow them to be in one place together.
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When You Should Intervene

Drawing blood should be prevented in a dog fight.

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That is why you should intervene when the time is right. If two well-socialized dogs are getting too rough with one another, they usually stop the fight on their own. They just stop and back away from each other. Be careful when you intervene in a dogfight because there are times when humans make the situation worse. If you notice that their play is getting rough, call your dog with a calm and happy tone. If your dog is trained enough, he or she will come to you. If the dogs are already into fighting for more than a minute, intervene and separate them physically.

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How to Prevent Dogfights

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As with anything, prevention is always better when it comes to dogfights. Below are some of the effective ways on how to prevent dogfights in your own home:

  1. 1
    Know the potential triggers.
    This requires taking the time to know your dog better. If you know your dog is possessive of certain things, remove that object from the room when the dogs are together. If passersby and other animals make your dog worked up, place a barrier to block their view. Calmly answer the door when the doorbell rings. Do not get excited.
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  2. 2
    Completely separate the dogs.
    For every dog's benefit, if possible, find a single pet home for each of the dogs.
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  3. 3
    Train your dog well.
    You should have your dog well trained. If your dog has a strong training foundation, you will be able to call your dog and have him or her by your side immediately.
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  4. 4
    Be cautious in dog parks.
    You can never tell what kind of behavior other dogs will have at a dog park. Only bring your dog there if there is a strong foundation of training and exercise. It would also be best to never lose sight of your dog. Be observant of other dogs in terms of their body language. Know that it is best to leave the park if there are dogs that are acting aggressively.
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  5. 5
    Introduce dogs properly.
    It is a good start for dogs to be introduced properly. This can be done by letting them smell each other calmly. Dogs should not charge one another. This presents a high level of confrontation that dogs usually react to as a fight.
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  6. 6
    Remove your dog's valuables.
    If you know that your dogs guard specific food, treats, or toys, remove them all from their sight so that they won't have anything to guard.
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  7. 7
    Let your dogs cool down.
    When playtime becomes rough, separate your dogs for a few minutes and let them release all their stress by cooling down. A fenced yard would be a good place to let them play after they cool down.
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  8. 8
    Walk the dogs or play with them.
    After they play with each other, help them drain more of their energy by walking them or by playing with them.
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  9. 9
    Let them have their quiet time.
    Like humans, dogs also need their quiet time. Let them have their chew toys, treats, or just let them sleep.
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  10. 10
    Always reward good behavior.
    Teach your dogs to remain calm, whatever the situation may be. They can easily overreact during gatherings or days out. Train your dog to follow simple obedience rules so that when you need them to stay somewhere, they will do it efficiently. Whenever they do good, reward them. This will enable them to remember that they will be rewarded when they are on their best behavior.
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  11. 11
    Socialize your dog well.
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    This will help accustom your dog to the presence of other animals, places, and people. They should be socialized starting at 6-8 weeks old.
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Points to Consider About Dogs and Dogfights

Remember these concepts to help your understand dogs an dogfights:

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  1. 1
    Dogs who start fights are insecure around the other dogs in that area.
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  2. 2
    Dogs who do not assert authority initiate fights.
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  3. 3
    Older dogs that are male usually want to prove something.
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  4. 4
    Females can also be as assertive and as possessive as males.
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  5. 5
    Neutered and spayed dogs are less likely to fight.
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  6. 6
    Aggression is usually shown by dogs if they are territorial.
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  7. 7
    Older dogs growl at younger ones to teach them their place.
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  8. 8
    Playtime among dogs establishes ranks.
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Dogfights in your home should be prevented and stopped immediately. Keep your home peaceful by trying the given suggestions for your dogs.

Tips

  • Learn how to use an electronic collar if possible.
  • Spend time with your dogs and get to know them well.
  • Incorporate the right dogs into your home.
  • Discuss spaying or neutering your dogs with the help of your vet.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Eng, Lynn, Anonymous

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