Tips on how to safely break up a dog fight
Re: ďLocal woman continues fight to muzzle pit bulls,Ē Jan. 11
I read the front-page article in the Airdrie City View a couple weeks ago about dog fights and whatís going on in our community regarding them. What happens if my dog is in a fight, or I witness a fight? Is there a safe way to break it up?
The article we printed two weeks ago seems to have really jump-started the discussion about muzzling and how the community determines if a dog is dangerous. I canít say enough how dangerous dogs are not a product of their breed, but rather a product of how their owners raise them and treat them.
If you are ever unlucky enough to witness a dog fight, the first thing to do is to remain calm.
Dogs respond to the tone of our voices more than the words we say, so a loud stern voice will usually yield better results than a high-pitched scream. If your dog is in the fight, try to use commands the dog knows and use a firm, authoritative voice.
If the command doesnít break up the fight, then itís time to get physical. Separating the dogs is the only thing thatís going to work now.
If one of the dogs has a leash attached, try to grab the handle of the leash, but only if itís safe.
Donít take unnecessary risks or youíll end up injured too. If you can get the end of the leash, try to pull the dog away from the fight. Donít be scared to use sharp pulls, because while this may choke the dog momentarily, itís better than the dog getting further bite injuries.
Other things you can try involve getting something in between the dogs. Anything will do to get between the dogsí mouths really - a stick, a pole, anything except your body. Getting yourself hurt wonít help the situation. A third tactic is to distract the dogs. If you have a hose handy, open it up on them. Try to spray it on their heads. This will annoy them and give them something else to focus on, at least for a moment. If that stick is still handy, smack the dogs on the head, body or rump to get them to turn away from the fight.
Once the fight is over, ensure that all dogs are on tightly-held leashes and out of each otherís sight. If they can be separated by barriers, such as doors in a building or having them in cars, thatís best.
The owners need to speak (calmly) to one another and exchange information. Names, phone numbers, and each dogís rabies history are a minimum. Also get any witnessesí information. Any injured humans should go to the urgent care centre to have the wounds assessed. Injured dogs should see their vets as soon as possible too, even if there are no visible wounds.
Christina Holland is an animal health technologist in Airdrie. The information in this article is not intended to replace the guidance of a veterinarian. To have your pet questions answered, contact firstname.lastname@example.org