When Dogs Fight

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A dog fight. It’s never a pretty sight and it can oftentimes be quite upsetting both to the dogs involved and to their owners. If you have a dog, however, chances are that at some point in your canine companion’s life, he or she will get into a scuffle. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it probably won’t be the end of the world. Here’s what you can do, as a responsible pet owner, to minimize the damage.

Dogs usually fight to prove their dominance. When they’re unsure of who should be top dog, they have a rumble to make the determination. No voting or poll boxes here; it’s go time! This may or may not mean that injuries will be involved. Many conflicts are resolved by just posturing, stares, and growls. This is also a good indicator that things are about to get ugly – stiff posturing, aggressive, direct staring, and deep, menacing growls should indicate to you that a fight is about to happen. So take action to stop it.

No one wants a fight, so it benefits everyone involved to return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible. Some pet owners carry water pistols or special sprays (often citrus based) to use when their dog gets aggressive with another dog. These can work, but the key is to get your dog’s attention away from the object of his or her aggression however you can. This may mean making a loud noise like yelling “NO!” or yanking his/her leash, or squirting/spraying with water. Whatever works.

Avoid becoming entangled in the fight yourself, however. You may get bitten, even by your own dog, if you try to physically intervene. And if the other dogs see and feel you becoming aggressive, this could heighten their own aggressive nature and just make things worse. It’s not especially easy to do, but you need to remain calm even while your dog is barking up a storm.