Dog Advice, Training \”Tails\”, and More!

How to Handle a Dog Fight

Let’s face it, as much as we would like our dogs to get along with every other dog in the world, it just doesn’t always happen that way.  Often times, if your dog comes across another pup that rubs her the wrong way she will just ignore the strange dog and keep her distance.  However, there are those times when something happens and the two dogs start to scuffle.

Dog fights can start for a number of reasons and most of the time the owner is unaware of what exactly set the fight off.  Some dogs give off the wrong social cues or their body language is misunderstood, some fight out of fear, other dogs fight to guard a resource, or a number of other reasons.  If your dog tends to get into more than a few fights in his/her lifetime, then you may want to contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer from Dog Obedience College of Memphis for help.

How to Avoid Dog Fights

The first and easiest step is to prevent the dog fight from ever beginning.

Obedience Training. The more control you have over your dog through obedience, the more likely you can get your dog out of a sticky situation using that obedience.  For instance, if you are out in the woods with your dog off leash and you see another dog approaching, then you can use your dog’s reliable off leash recall to get her back to you.  This will allow you to slip a leash on and be in more control of the environment.

– Know your pup. Be a keen observer of your dog’s body language when around other dogs.  Dogs display certain body language when they are uncomfortable, feel threatened, or are scared.  Some body language is much more noticeable than others and some is often misunderstood by people.  For instance, just because your dog’s tail is moving doesn’t necessarily mean she is happy, it just means she is stimulated by something in the environment.

A Dog Obedience College trainer will go into more detail about reading dog body language in another post but for now there are a few things you should watch for when your dog is around other dogs.  Watch for a change in the breathing rate either more rapidly or very slowly,  your dog’s tail is positioned as high as possible,  hackles up, or generally tense body posture.

If you notice any of these signs, then it is best to separate the dogs and try introducing them at a later time.

What to Do If Your Dog Gets in a Fight

Even if you take every precautionary measure, your dog could still end up in a dog fight.  If that happens be sure not to put yourself or others at risk in trying to break the fight up. Most dog fights seem louder and scarier than they actually are so don’t panic and try to reach in to grab one of them.  Let me say that again, never reach in and grab one of the dogs! This could lead to a dog biting or coming after you mistakenly. Instead below are a few suggestions that you can try at your own risk:

– Make some noise! Make a loud noise by yelling, clapping, hitting a trash can against the floor, smacking your hand on the table, etc.  Loud noises may very well distract the dogs from what is going on, which may give you an opportunity to separate them.

– Use a handy object.  Instead of putting your arm and hand at risk, grab a broom or chair and try to get the object in between the dogs. Do not strike at the dogs! Just try to get them apart. A lot of times if the dogs are separated for a few moments the fight may lose momentum and allow you to put the dogs in different rooms.

– Soak them.  If a hose or glass of water is handy, get the dogs wet.  This will hopefully distract them long enough that you can get them away from each other for a little time out.

Help with Your Dog

If you are having trouble keeping your dog from getting in fights, then please Contact a Dog Trainer from Dog Obedience College of Memphis for advice at or 901-310-5826.


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