Even the best behaved or docile dogs may occasionally decide to fight with each other, for various reasons. Preventing dog fights by having full control over your dog at all times is the preferred action, but life tends to throw you a curveball once in a while. Facing a serious dog fight will leave you only reacting to your emotions if you never formulated a plan, particularly because you won’t have much time to think. If two dogs really want to hurt each other, you have two choices: (1) Risk life and limb by trying to break up the fight, or (2) accept the situation and deal with the aftermath. As bad as it sounds, the latter is preferable in many such encounters. Here is why:

Dogs are quite resilient, and many dog fights are not as bad as they look or sound. The human body is comparatively much more fragile and a visit to the emergency room or worse is almost guaranteed. You will do yourself a huge favor by mentally planning ahead now. Knowledge and calm are needed rather than emotions. Even though any size dogs in a fight will likely hurt you if approached carelessly, the risk of serious injury exponentially increases with size, temperament and strength of the involved dogs. Only a few interventions are readily available and reasonably likely to break up a fight and leaving you intact in the process. So, what are they?

Pepper Spray can quickly break up any fight should it ever occur, but it requires having the product on hand and knowing how to use it, so you don’t accidentally incapacitate yourself. In any other situation it is essential you stay away from the dog’s head. Don’t let those teeth find your hands, even though any bite would likely be accidental rather than intentional. Either way the same damage will be inflicted on your body.

Get help and leashes if available, and the fight may actually be over upon your return. If not, you can make a slip lead and wrap it around the midsection of one dog. Don’t ever pull back as simple punctures will turn into large lacerations with pulling. Instead, pick up the dog’s rear like a wheelbarrow and tie him to a nearby structure that will hold. Then, lift up the second dog by the rear (don’t pull) until the two disengage and get it to a safe place. 

Doors can be an effective tool. Lift the aggressor by the rear like a wheelbarrow and inch both dogs into a doorway so you can close one dog out and the other in. Repeatedly close the door on them or simply wait them out until they are tired enough to let go, then fully close the door.

Preventing accidental bites by being mentally prepared and calm obviously benefits your own health, but it also avoids a plethora of other problems, including official reporting, rabies prophylaxis, fees and seizure of the dog for quarantine, particularly if your dog isn’t licensed and is missing one or more documented vaccinations.