How Do You Stop a Dog Fight?

stop-dog-fight Credit: Andrew Morrell Photography/Moment/Getty Images

There are three options to stop a dog a dogfight: startle the dogs, place something between them or physically separate the fighting dogs. These choices should be chosen before a fight happens, and owners of neighboring dogs should also be informed of the plan. Keeping calm throughout the incident is essential, and a owner should never grab a dog by the collar to stop a fight.

Startling the dogs should be the first tactic used to stop a dogfight. Clapping, yelling, stomping the feet and clanging metal bowls together are sudden, loud sounds that could interrupt the fight. Some owners bring a small air horn when taking their dogs to play with other dogs for a startling effect. Noisemaking should work within the first three seconds, so owners should try another tactic if the loud sounds have made no impact.

A large, flat object such as a piece of plywood, a trash can, a baby gate or a folded lawn chair can serve as a barrier between the two dogs. Throwing a heavy blanket over both dogs is also effective in startling the dogs and impairing their vision.

One should never grab the collar when physically separating dogs; a dog’s instinct is to snap back and bite the hand, even if it is the dog's owner. The proper way to remove a dog from a fight is to seize the back legs at the point where the legs connect to the body and lift the dog’s back end in a wheelbarrow fashion. The next step is to move backwards and spin the dog away from the opposing dog. This should be done with a partner who is able to do the same with the second dog.