My dogs fought each other, what should I do?

by | Feb 3, 2013

My dogs fought each other… What should I do?

The first thing you have to realize – You don’t have overly aggressive dogs. You simply own animals. Dogs are, across the board, reactionary animals and incredibly self-serving. When your dogs fight, there’s a reason. Dogs do not just break out into fighting for no reason.

Often times, the main reason dogs fight is for YOUR attention! Other reasons, as I’m sure you can come to, are food, toys and attention from other dogs. All of these issues can be compounded when you have multiple dogs – pack dynamics can get intense and we promise to blog on that later.

We’ve had a few scraps here at our kennel (nothing too bad), but we’ve done a LOT of research on the matter and have found ways to not only prevent them, but make the dogs that weren’t happy with each other learn to play together in an acceptable manner.

Large German Shepherd Puppy

Olive can get hormonal when she is in heat and tends to not get along with Hazel during these times.

When your dogs fight:

1. Don’t yell. Don’t scream. Don’t panic. All 3 of these are the first things you will do, but in truth, it only accelerates the intensity of the situation. You may have a dog that has a 100% recall rate and is very obedient, but right now it is in survival mode and is not going to hear you.

2. Do not reach in the middle of two fighting dogs. You’re going to get bit. They won’t realize that what they are biting is your arm – they are in survival mode. If you actually need to see why you shouldn’t reach in, Ed Frawley has an interesting article on dog fighting here with pictures.

3. There are two times you can find yourself at a dog fight and only two – when you are by yourself and when there are others around to help.
-If there are other people there, each one of you should grab on to the back legs of one of the dogs and lift up as if they were a lawnmower. Then each of you should rotate the dogs away from each other in opposite directions.

– If you are by yourself, it is certainly more tricky. If one dog is simply attacking the other, try pulling them off by their legs. If they are both fighting, you can try grabbing a leash. Wrap the leash around the back leg of whomever you deem to be the more aggressive dog, loop the leash through the handle and tug it snug to the dog’s leg. Then attach the clip to a fence, a pump head, a car bumper – anything you can find.

The goal is always the same: Stop the fight as quickly as possible, thus mitigating the injuries to the dogs, without getting bit. Don’t let yourself get bit, you don’t want to get in to the fight and have the dogs start fighting you.

A few other notes:

-You can try a garden hose, but if you live in Alaska like us, one probably isn’t handy.
-Some people us an airhorn. Never tried it.
-Some people use fire extinguishers to spray at them. We have a few around, but haven’t had a fight recently.

Things not to do for sure:

-Don’t let them go. They aren’t going to settle it themselves or “work it out.” And they aren’t going to “grow out of it.” Fighting is a serious matter.
-Don’t use shock collars. The dogs will only assume that the intense pain they feel in the middle of a fight is from the other dog.

Fighting within your pack is dangerous. Dogs don’t have a sense of mortality and there are plenty of stories all over the web about people coming home to find one dog dead.

We’ll give more information on what to do to prevent dog fighting in the future and also what to do immediately after the fighting stops. But we wanted to share just a little bit about it as we know that this information was important to us after we had our first scrap.

We have great news, though! Everyone lives at peace here now and we cannot wait to share our methods with you.

Feel free to send questions or comments to us! [email protected]

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