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#1
Old 07-11-2004, 12:27 AM
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Another dog attacks your dog. What to do?

I bring this up because of a recent unfortunate incident I witnessed.

I was driving, waiting at a red light, when I saw a dog (with collar, but no person) running around. It spotted a woman walking her dog across the street, ran over there barking and viciously attacked the leashed dog. The victimized dog yelped and rolled over on its back but the other dog kept biting. The woman kicked at it but it didn't seem to do any good. By this time I had to move on because of the traffic, but a lot of us were honking our horns to try to distract the attacking dog.

By the time I was able to double back, the woman and the dogs were nowhere in sight. I assume/hope somebody settled things, but it got me wondering....What do you do if you're walking your dog and another one comes at it full force, ready to kill?
#2
Old 07-11-2004, 12:47 AM
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Well, I for one would grab the collar (or hopefully leash) and yell very assertively to 'heel' or 'stop' etc.
IF that didnt work I would boot it very hard in the face, more than once if neccessary. But must be very careful to keep tabs on your own dog, for example if you were to let it go so it could run to safety, it might just run into traffic or something.
#3
Old 07-11-2004, 12:52 AM
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When ever I walk my dogs, I walk with a full sized Magnum flashlight.
I would have no qualms in using it, if need be.
#4
Old 07-11-2004, 01:08 AM
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My old dog was a bit of a magnet for other dogs' aggression for some reason; she got attacked more times than I can count.

Typically the dogs were attacking her and not me; I'd grab them by the leash or the scruff of the neck and try to pull them off, and they'd still be trying to go for her. I never had one try to turn on me. In the case of one Doberman, the dog wouldn't let go, so I choked him with one hand and gouged his eyes with the other until he let go and I could shove him off my porch (approx. four-foot drop) long enough to get my girl inside.

Only once, with a Rottweiler, did I have to actually start kicking, but the fight left him pretty quickly once I did. If you have to kick, go for the soft spots: throat, belly. It sounds vicious, but if it comes down to my canine pacifist vs. someone else's unleashed canine aggressor, it's a dog-eat-dog situation (ha ha).

- jackelope, dog lover
#5
Old 07-11-2004, 01:24 AM
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When I walk my old (defenseless) dog I carry an umbrella. Be careful about getting in the middle of a dog fight - I know your instincts are to do anything to break the fight up, but I have been bitten severely in that kind of situation. Some dogs just go mindless and will strike out at anything when they get frenzied like that. Dog fights scare me almost more than anything.
#6
Old 07-11-2004, 07:48 AM
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I carry a walking stick with me because there are too many dogs running around off leashes. Most of the time the dog will hesitate or not come closer if I stop, point my stick, and make eye contact. I usually raise my other arm and sometimes I lunge and say either no or get-away. My theory is that this works great if the other dog is considering approaching and just kind of scoping out what to do.

One of my neighbors once opened his door and his Rotweiller just came bolting out at full speed, mind made up that he was going to get at my dogs. At that time, I had three dogs so trying to manage three leashes, a stick, and a big bag of shiite, during a surprise attack was just too much. Lucky, my male dog, got out front of me and the other two. The neighbor had managed, through shouting, to slow his dog and I, with weak knees, thought I had avoided the attack. It looked like the Rot and Lucky had just had a growling match. I was pulling back on the leash and trying to get between them and within seconds the neighbor was in the street and had gotten hold of his dogs collar. He apologized but I was rude and shaken up so I just hurried into my yard, opened the garage and went inside to get ready for work. I noticed Lucky shaking his head repeatedly. I also noticed that each time blood is being splattered on the floor, walls, and furniture. When I examined him I found that his ear was damned near split in half. I threw him in the truck and held a towel around his head and rushed him to my vet .... who I adore. Lucky had to have about 18 stitches. He recovered quickly and I felt lucky.

I know that was TMI but from that experience, I have come to believe that the key to avoiding these attacks is to be big, loud, aggressive, and territorial.... early. Once a dog decides to attack, its too late. I certainly wouldn't advise getting your own flesh involved. I don't look forward to cracking some strange dog with my stick but if the situation required it, I would. You can't dismiss the fact that this technique could actually encourage an aggressive dog. I can only say that it has worked for me on countless occassions. I really don't know of other options because I know I could never outrun a dog. YMMV.
#7
Old 07-11-2004, 09:28 AM
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The obvious drawback to this method is that it works only if you have access to the means, but:

If there's water handy, grab a bucketful and throw it over the fighting dogs, or turn a hose on them. The shock should make them break off long enough for you to grab your dog and get it away, while menacing the other dog if need be. The aggressor dog might give up entirely at such a shocking disruption of its fight state.

By the way, this is one way of separating fighting horses, too. Just in case you ever need to know.
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#8
Old 07-11-2004, 09:49 AM
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This happend twice to me in my house with visiting dogs. So I don't know how much of a fight it was but it sure seemed like a fight to me.

I dive in yelling and SCREAMING at the other dog. Literaly between the two dogs. Like sliding for home in the world series. Can't quite explain it. I'm a big guy and I just show the other dog that they won't get a piece of my dog. They'll have to come through me first.

It's worked so far. Not so much as a scratch. I think it surprises the hell out of them.

My wife used to work animal control. It stuns her to. But it works for me.

It's completely reflexive reaction for me so I can't quite explain it. I don't know if I can recommend it either. I think I've been lucky.
#9
Old 07-11-2004, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teelo
Well, I for one would grab the collar (or hopefully leash) and yell very assertively to 'heel' or 'stop' etc.
This is how not to break up a dog fight.

You want to grab things that are as far away from the toothy ends as possible, so you don't get bit (by the dog your grabbing or the other dog). The conventional wisdom among the dog crowd is to grab one or more back legs or the base of the tail, and lift up and back.
#10
Old 07-11-2004, 02:41 PM
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Thank you all for the info. I had virtually no clue about what to do, if anything. I should also mention that these were two very large dogs. I was thinking of my friend's tiny dog, whom I dog-sit at times. I could just scoop him up and out of harm's way if it should ever come to that, God forbid, but this wasn't an option in the situation I described.

The woman was not carrying anything with her. Maybe she will from now on, if her dog isn't too terrified to go out for a walk again.
#11
Old 07-11-2004, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivalostwages
I could just scoop him up and out of harm's way if it should ever come to that, God forbid, but this wasn't an option in the situation I described.
I think this might be dangerous--likely, the other dogs aren't going to stop coming at him just because you picked him up, so now they'll be going at you, too.
Quote:
The woman was not carrying anything with her. Maybe she will from now on, if her dog isn't too terrified to go out for a walk again.
They make pepper spray designed specifically for use on dogs, and it's not very expensive. Would be better then nothing in such a situation, and may bring some peace of mind.
#12
Old 07-11-2004, 04:59 PM
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Why don't you just pull your gun and shoot the dog?
#13
Old 07-11-2004, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metacom
You want to grab things that are as far away from the toothy ends as possible, so you don't get bit (by the dog your grabbing or the other dog). The conventional wisdom among the dog crowd is to grab one or more back legs or the base of the tail, and lift up and back.
This is the only intelligent advice in this thread.

Step in between the dogs or grab a collar at risk of being severely bitten. Hitting a dog that is engaged in a fight is nearly pointless. The adrenaline is running and the dog will just think it's the other dog hurting it.

Picking up the animal by the hind legs is a proven method of disengaging it from the fight. The jaw is incapable of closing with force when the hindquarters are elevated and you can drag the animal away with less danger of being injured (either you or the animal).
#14
Old 07-11-2004, 09:28 PM
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When the Doots were puppies, we'd all walk up the road together to my mailbox (1/2 mile from the house, an unpaved road through the woods.) The Doots were taken from a pack of feral dogs that used to run around back in here -- on one of our walks, the pack spied us and came after me and the Doots -- being idiots, the Doots went after the pack, only to have the pack turn on them -- Dirt immediately turned around and zoomed back to the house, but her sister decided to stand her ground and protect me -- they weren't having anything of it, batted her to one side, and came straight after me.

I'm not very big, and I know you're not supposed to run, and these were 10-12 huge dogs. Like enipla , though, I went charging straight into the middle of them, bellowing at the top of my lungs. To a dog they all stopped with a 'wtf?' expression on their faces, and turned tail and ran away from this nutter human.

I've no idea how bright that was, but I honestly had no idea what else to do -- I didn't want them to kill my small dog, and I certainly would not have been able to fight them off or outrun them (they used to hang around one of the houses back here, and the lady who lived there literally could not leave her house just to get from the house to her car, as they would all come after her.)

When my dogs decide to chase one of the sheep, I'll end up throwing a bucket of water on them to break it up. Most effective.
#15
Old 07-11-2004, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksen9
Lucky had to have about 18 stitches. He recovered quickly and I felt lucky.
Just curious - did lucky feel you back?

#16
Old 07-11-2004, 11:05 PM
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another vote for going for the back legs and lifting .. grab hard and lift like you mean it..... It's how one pulls them off game. It will buy you a preciious moment or two. Not recommended for non physical types. If you have a stick or cane whacking the back legs is good. Keep your hands away from the action. You can get snapped accidently by your own dog and those teeth are effective!

I carry stones too. Dogs seem to hate stuff being thrown at them and simply bending down to pretend to pick up a stone gives them pause...... sorry....

If you see a dog that seems to be a threat, let it see you picking up a rock.... this changes everything and can defuse the situation.
#17
Old 07-12-2004, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metacom
I think this might be dangerous--likely, the other dogs aren't going to stop coming at him just because you picked him up, so now they'll be going at you, too.

They make pepper spray designed specifically for use on dogs, and it's not very expensive. Would be better then nothing in such a situation, and may bring some peace of mind.
I should clarify: I thought that if I scooped up the tiny pooch in one hand, I could have my other hand free for defense/offense.
#18
Old 07-12-2004, 08:44 AM
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A friend of mine had a huge dogfight in her yard this weekend - one of her dogs decided to reprimand another, and things just snowballed, with the other dogs getting involved.

If she had stuck her hand in there, she would have gotten seriously injured.

The right thing to do to break up a fight is actually NOT to hit the other dog (some will actually become MORE aggressive if you hit) but to separate them by pulling the aggressive dog off the other one by its BACK LEGS. Take the back legs, up, and pull. THEN do what you must to keep them apart.

Whatever you do - no hands near their collars or heads, and don't throw yourself in the middle. Hitting MAY help, but not always. I once saw someone try to break up a fight with a walking stick and only ended up with her dog losing an ear flap to the attacking dog as it jerked away (in reaction to the blow) and then attacked *her*.

The ways to break up fights are just totally counter intuitive, but they work.
#19
Old 07-12-2004, 09:08 AM
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I own a gigantic dog. She's a Great Dane Newfie mix. Her head is the size of a large house cat. She resembles a bear. One would think that her size would inspire other dogs to giver her some space, but no, there seems to be a small number of dogs that want to challenge her. Her name is Ruby and while being walked she has been charged several times by loose dogs in the neighborhood. My wife made the mistake of stepping between Ruby and a dog that was attacking her once. The wife pulled Ruby back on the leash and in desperation stepped in between the two dogs. My wife suffered a bite through her jeans. We're pretty sure it was Ruby that got her as it was obviously a large canine tooth that broke through. Ruby was trying to defend herself from the other dog and my wife got in the way. After my wife got bit, she stepped out of the way. Ruby than used one of her giant paws to knock the other dog over and proceeded to pin it by the throat. The other dog's owner finally arrived and with her help, my wife managed to get the two gos seperated. My wife thought Ruby was going to kill the other dog, but fortunately, it was mostly unhurt.

We do all we can to avoid other dogs, even ones that look friendly. If another dog attacks Ruby on her leash, there's not a lot we can do about it. It takes two owners to prevent such clashes.
#20
Old 07-12-2004, 09:32 AM
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A random spilling of my experience on the subject. . .

The main thing is just to know your dog and the area you're walking him. Unneutered males attract fights. Submissive dogs don't usually get attacked. Dogs on leashes seem to have more aggression than dogs off leashes -- I think they either feel vulnerable or protective. And some dogs just seem to attract it.

If I see a dog coming towards mine, I grab my dog way down at the end of the leash by the choke chain, stand in between them, and yell 'no' at the approaching dog.

If I assess the situation and think there's no way the other dog will stop, I'll unclip my dog so he can defend himself away from me. Or run. A lot of times I've seen what looks like aggression just turn into a playful chase when the dog is unclipped.

If they do get together with my dog on the leash, I'll try to pull him off by it, and I think that this removal of him from the fight lets the other dog know he's won and it can be over.

BUT, if they are together, I have used the "grab back legs" tactic. I'll also grab not actually by the legs, but by hooking my hands into the soft spots in front of the haunches. To help ensure the dog won't spin on you, you might give him a good spin (let the centrifugal force keep his head away), and even toss him away if need be. The tail works too, but it's sometimes flicking around so much that its hard to grab.

Every dog fight is different, though, so it's hard to use a general rule. Even this "grab the back legs" is not always easy if the dogs are spinning and lunging. And some dogs (like a pit) could still turn on you so you might just want to stay away.

I've seen a lot of dog fights, and in like 95% of the cases, no dog gets hurt, so it's not a bad idea to just stay out of it unless it's clear one dog is getting mauled. There is often a lot of teeth baring and growling, but rarely serious biting or clamping down. They'll usually stop when one dog decides to back down or is put on his back.

Picking your dog up is BAD. A dog will still go after him and I know a guy who got his face bit up when he picked his dog up.

And, even if a dog gets his ear torn, or gets a slight cut, or some hair ripped out (all of which will sometimes end a fight), it's better than having it done to your hand. Remember, It's not the end of the world to have an injured dog. I'm not talking about an eviscerated dog, but I've just never seen it get to that level.

Keep in mind that dog fights are usually about establishing dominance. If one dog thinks he's done that, it can be over. So separating two dogs will sometimes make one of them think he's won, so a quick separation is sometimes the end of it.
#21
Old 07-12-2004, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
I'm not very big, and I know you're not supposed to run, and these were 10-12 huge dogs. Like enipla, though, I went charging straight into the middle of them, bellowing at the top of my lungs. To a dog they all stopped with a 'wtf?' expression on their faces, and turned tail and ran away from this nutter human.
The dogs I broke up where big. And yep, it seems to be the 'WTF' factor. I really, really yelled at them. Scared everyone, not just the dogs. YMMV. I don't know if I would ever do it again.

We have see a few bears where I live. And I hope and pray that our dog never chases one.

So far, it has been effective to shoot a gun to scare the bears away. The noise startles them.
#22
Old 07-12-2004, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enipla
The dogs I broke up where big. And yep, it seems to be the 'WTF' factor. I really, really yelled at them. Scared everyone, not just the dogs. YMMV. I don't know if I would ever do it again.

Perhaps it's simply cos of the audacity? The dogs had no idea what to make of this headlong charge.

That particular pack was eventually shot, one by one, as they were menacing the farms around here, and they came to recognise guns. The lady who was trapped in her house took to carrying a stick and holding it as if it were a shotgun, and they would scatter.

It is a shame they all ended up being shot, as they were originally pets, but many of the people back here just allow their dogs to roam and breed like crazy, and we end up with a pack gone wild every once in a while. And every year after hunting season there are always dogs what get left behind when their owners head back to the city or the coast.

All four of my dogs were accumulated from strays this way, the Doots being culled from a pack, and the two current puppies (they are still pups although over 7 st each) were found wandering in the woods -- not starving yet, but clearly weak from hunger. I know the owner of the pups' father, and asked him why on earth he won't have his dog fixed. He says he doesn't want to interfer with the dog's masculinity. Crikey, nip his bits and get him a big screen tele; he'll be fine. But that's a whole other rant, shan't go there.
#23
Old 07-12-2004, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Perhaps it's simply cos of the audacity? The dogs had no idea what to make of this headlong charge.
I think you're right. Sort of like getting a bucket of water dumped on them.

If you go in making enough noise, they can't ignore you. You are the new threat. Hopefully, they will be so stunned that they will back down and forget about the other dog. But they may go for you instead. I was protecting my own dog so I really didn't care.

Grabbing the rear legs sounds like a good idea too. If you can. Dog fights are fast. I have only seen two (and I'm 43). And I managed to break both of them up.

My Wife used to work for animal control and she runs with our dog all the time. When encountered by another dog she tells it to go home. Loudly if she has to. dogs seem to respect the athority figure.
#24
Old 07-12-2004, 03:09 PM
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Jeez.

"Grab the back legs"? I saw some idiot do this once; utterly ineffective. There is NO (let me emphasize that) NO connection between a dog's jaws and his hind legs; he may be surprised into letting go, and he can be effectively dragged away if denied the traction, but a determined dog will hold on no matter what you do, unless you physically pry his jaws apart. If you really want to play tug-of-war using an injured dog as a rope, please do it when I'm not watching.
#25
Old 07-12-2004, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag
Jeez.

"Grab the back legs"? I saw some idiot do this once; utterly ineffective. There is NO (let me emphasize that)NO connection between a dog's jaws and his hind legs; he may be surprised into letting go, and he can be effectively dragged away if denied the traction, but a determined dog will hold on no matter what you do, unless you physically pry his jaws apart. If you really want to play tug-of-war using an injured dog as a rope, please do it when I'm not watching.
Huh, that's funny. Back-tying one of the dogs and lifting the other up high by the hind legs, then dragging it away and tying it is really the only effective way of separating two determined fighting dogs, as far as I am aware--having come by this information via several large communities of working-dog folk. And we're talking large, very dominant breeds. Serious dogs doing their damndest to kill each other, not your average scrapping pooches. The other suggested methods are back-tying dog 1 and choking dog 2 by twisting the collar until it has to let go to breathe, and/or carrying a breaking stick at all times. But you've still gotta be able to tie one dog up or they'll just be at it the instant they get their footing back.

In other words, there really is no good way to break up a real fight between two serious dogs if you're the only one present. If it's just a noisy scrap you'll probably be fine with shouting and kicking at the aggressor, but if the two dogs mean it you're likely in big trouble without a couple of leashes and a breaking stick*. Most of the time, a hose to the face means nothing.

I'm a member of quite a few working dog communities, both online and "in real life"--where breaking up dog fights is a common topic of discussion. Not because people are purposely fighting their dogs, but because if you have more than one dog of the same sex, of a large, dominant breed (ie GSDs, malinois, rotties, various molossers, American Bulldogs, any of the pit-type breeds, etc) a fight is going to happen at some point, no matter how cautious you are or how well the dogs get along 99.9% of the time. Plus, as someone mentioned above, loose dogs always want to attack large dogs with dominant-type body language. The ArmadilloPup is only six months old, and already almost every male dog we meet wants to pick a fight with him, despite the fact that he considers the world his friend. I hope to god I never have to break up a real dog fight, but I think I'm prepared to do so if I have to. A lot of people carry a breaking stick at all times. I'm not quite that paranoid about it, but YMMV and all that.


A piece of very hard wood, sometimes made out of an ax handle, with a flatish sort of hook at one end, for prying a dog's jaws open.
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