It’s important to bear in mind that basically any situation where there’s too much excitement or overstimulation might lead to a fight. Just a moment ago your fluffy Susans were smooching each other, joyfully jumping into the sunset, and now they are at each other’s throats, having gone into their ‘This is Sparta!” mode. These things often happen.
How to prevent a dogfight
The only surefire way to prevent a dogfight from happening is to never let your doggo outside or have any canine visitors in the house. In all other cases the risk is there. That’s why a more realistic goal will sound like this: how to minimize the risk of a dogfight.
To achieve this, one should monitor the level of the doggos’ arousal. If they are running like crazy, screaming and wrestling, maybe it will be a good idea to organize a break for your Susan and offer her some relaxing activity: sniffing the bushes, having a snack or just walking on a loose leash.
One more important thing to pay attention to is how comfortable your dog is in the process of playing. If she freezes, moves backwards and tucks its tail in response to her playmates' actions - it’s surely time for you to intervene. We have a separate post on dogs’ games, it may be helpful.
What to do when the fight broke out
There are quite a few original tips regarding this situation on the Internet: like, trying to pull dogs apart by their back legs and giving them a kick in the nuts. Our favorite is ‘dump a bucket of ice water on them’. Surely, every self-respecting owner doesn’t go for a walk without a bucket. Unfortunately, these tips will not only help the situation but some of them can actually make things worse. Here’s why.
Pulling the dogs who have their teeth onto each other is extremely dangerous. If the biting dog’s jaws have already clamped on the other dog’s skin, pulling the biting one away will only lead to a bigger wound. If you try to pull it away by grabbing its hind legs, the biting doggo can switch over to you, and it will be harder to resolve the conflict with your hands bitten off.
Kicking in the nuts is also not the beststrategy, which will only stir up the anger. During the fight the dog’s body releases adrenaline which is a really powerful anesthetic. The more severe the pain the better it works. So, using pain to get through to the fighting doggos is not going to work. This is the reason why dog training shock collars and pepper sprays work really well only BEFORE the fight took place.If the battle has already started, no one will pay attention to those nuisances..
What to do?
When rushing off to the epicenter of the fight, one should keep in mind that it is dangerous in any circumstances. Surely, if one acts the right way, the damage will be minimal, but there can be no guarantee one won’t get hurt in the process. This happens even to the most highly qualified canine professionals.
1. If possible, involve the other dog’s owner in breaking up the fight. There’s a big chance they are not following this account and have no idea what to do - so, you’ll have to be in charge. Just bear in mind that a calm and confident tone of voice can go a long way even with people in the heat of passion, so, don’t be afraid to take the initiative.
2. At the same time grab your respective Edmunds by the collars and lift them up so that at least their front legs are not touching the ground, then bring them as close to each other as possible, as if they were Barbie and Ken about to have their first kiss. This way they will have less room for maneuver.
3. Using the collar, try to limit the access of oxygen for the biting dog for a small amount of time. A short chokehold does not pose a threat to the dog’s life or health, but it will stimulate it to take a deep breath, during which it will have to loosen its grip. If both Edmunds are doing the biting - do this trick on them both.
4. As soon as the grip loosens - it’s time to pull the doggos apart. This should be done carefully with no sudden moves and, most importantly, only after the biting dog unclenches its jaws. Otherwise the dog which is suffering the bite will only hurt more.
If the doggo is wearing a harness instead of a collar - use the leash. Your task at hand is to make the biting dog suffocate just a little, for a very short amount of time, of course, not to turn into a tragedy.
After Edmunds have been successfully pulled apart, under no circumstances should they be allowed to go back to their games, or they will resume their ‘who’s the boss here’ argument.
If you know that your Edmund is a biting troublemaker who enjoys picking fights - walking in a muzzle would be our recommendation. There is a misconception that for its own safety a doggo should be able to open its jaws to be able to strike back at the offender when needed. In reality mutual bites only make things worse, bites coming from both sides will definitely do more harm to both dogs than one-sided biting.
We wish you safe walks!