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Breaking up a dog fight

This is a discussion on Breaking up a dog fight within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My current dog was neutered early and was only aggressive with other males, worst with adolescent unneutered puppies, but any males if they started a ...

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Old 11-15-2017, 08:43 AM
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My current dog was neutered early and was only aggressive with other males, worst with adolescent unneutered puppies, but any males if they started a fight he wouldn't back down. Or he'd run into an existing fight and defend a smaller dog or friend. Will never fight a female, small dog or little puppy and is very submissive with them, rolls on his belly and let's them chew on him. If a female starts with him, friend or not he runs away. Same thing over food or toys he drops it and runs. But will try to steal a squeaky to play. Older unneutered males he's fascinated with and will follow around sniffing but won't mess with. Since the ear incident he's scared and now won't usually fight and will run to me and stay with me, exactly what I want so I praise with lots of treats. Whenever he sees his buddy since then he's now very submissive and licks him with lots of appeasing body language, which I've never seen him do with any other dog. Now there's actually several pretty bossy somewhat aggressive regular dogs that regularly go to the park that have gotten in fights with many other dogs that he can play with just fine and never has an issue, one seven year old male bit a poodle and drew blood before the owner could catch him he and my dog were playing fine(they've played fine many times before my dog runs if he growls if he doesn't they keep running around). Another female he's played with and is best buddies for almost a year and a half since she was a puppy, she used to be very submissive with all dogs but now is getting very assertive with a lot of dogs, they're still fine. Not to mention the very possesive gsd with resource guarding issues that he loves to play with. She hurt a couple of small dogs and the owner isn't very good at admitting he needs to train her so they're now banned from the park but my pup liked wrestling with her although she was too bossy with him sometimes too.
The lab that got aggressive seemed to really get set off by lots of noises and barking so if it was crowded in the park and a lot of dogs were rushing at him with barking he'd just start to go crazy. It escalated to whenever he saw certain dogs that he knew barked a lot he'd just go after them, then any dog he'd fought with in the past he'd go after again. One problem is his owner became close friends and spent a lot if time with another owner who rescied a young lab hound mix who was found abandoned and tied after months and rescued from the south at only a few months of age. He has scars from wire embedded in his hind end and clearly wasn't socialized to other dogs. When he's in the park he barks and runs non-stop and doesn't pick up on social cues from other dogs. He growls and sounds like a Tasmanian devil and a lot of dogs get stressed and attack him. He keeps chasing and barking right at other dogs faces and harassing them and being cuddly with their owners and jumps all over everyone, steals treats and toys. Even my dog lost it once and pinned him down and bit him and left a small mark after he wouldn't stop chasing and barking in his face over a ball. And my dog doesn't even care about balls.
Now my dog just sits on the agility thing glued to my side whenever yappy is there and won't play or move except to run to the gate or want me to pet and hug him.
There's probably a better way to socialize him than stressing out the other dogs but everyone feels bad for his awful start in life so no one confronts the owner. The aggressive lab can't stand him now and attacks him because of all the barking in his face. Honestly the incessant barking and high energy and jumping and frantic dashing and tripping people would drive me nuts and I'd attack him too if I was a dog. He just got over heartworm treatments which apparently he had all along but didn't show up in initial tests so now has been cooped up for months so is even more high energy.
But that sets off lots of dogs, neutered or not.
My last dog was neutered around nine months and he didn't like most other dogs, male or female. Over his life he had some buddies and it didn't matter the gender, early best buddies were a neutered and unneutered male that lived together, neighbor unneutered male, couple of females, depended on the dog.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:52 AM
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Gosh it's a minefield isn't it. My last dog in all her 16 years was never aggressive once. Neither did she attract aggression apart from once when a neighbour's new rescue dog jumped on her. Even then we weren't sure if it was just in play. But Poppy's immediate response was to roll on her back in submission.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:46 AM
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Arrow Wheelbarrowing / Where to put the dogs? // After a fight



the "wheelbarrow maneuver" - 2 persons, each grabs the hindlegs of one of 2 dogs who are fighting, & simultaneously BACK away - is a lot more complicated, & more physically-challenging, than it sounds.
I've only ever done it twice, both times luckily with another experienced handler on scene, & neither of us was bitten - because the other big risk is that the dog U grab re-directs, & attempts to bite U. That bite at 1st will be a reflex, & is likely to be both full-force & full-mouth, so that 1st bite, if it lands, is very likely to put U out of action, for the moment.
ONE person cannot do this, it takes 2, & they must co-ordinate it to pull it off successfully.

Plus, if one or both dogs grips, YOU CAN'T DO IT. U must pull only when both dogs are disengaged - NOT biting / holding - or U risk vastly-worsening the damage that's done to the dog **who is being gripped**.

Sometimes simply grabbing the dogs' legs above the hock / below the knee, is sufficiently startling that the dog lets go up front, & turns to confront this new menace - But U can't count on that, U can only hope for it.
If it happens, U must immediately cue the other handler, & both of U begin rapidly backing-up WHILE zig-zagging, to prevent the dog U are dragging from turning in Ur grip & biting U.
If U back-up in a straight line, the dog will bite U - how hard is anyone's guess; U must zig-zag backward without falling over obstacles, tripping over yer own feet, losing yer balance, or letting go / losing yer grip on the dog's rear-legs - 'cuz remember, they will struggle might & main to free their legs, which are bony & tough, there's not much flesh, it's all bone & wires connecting joints.

The dogs are highly-aroused; they'll kick & pull with tremendous vigor, & it's not an easy area to keep a grip on. There's no loose scruff, here - the skin is tight, covering hard small joints & cables of tendon, all fighting U no-holds-barred, & Ur own palms will sweat, from the adrenaline rush.

If U lose Ur grip, it's very unlikely U'll get another chance; the dogs will re-engage, & any attempt to get close to them again is liable to result in a direct bite to the person who threatens to interrupt them - so the 1st time must succeed, because the 2nd time, YOU are a target.

The secondary consideration is WHERE do U put the dogs when U let go? -
U need a solid door, a gate to shove them behind & latch, something. If U simply back them up & let them go, they're right back to it, & if U back them up & then HOLD THEIR LEASHES, they *may* bite their handlers - they are intensely pumped-up, & won't act 'normal'. A dog who's never bitten a human in their life before, may do it, under those circs.
If there are cable-ties nearby [in a training facility or a dog daycare], U can tether them to short bike-cables, & leave them to cool off, with all other dogs out of the room / area, so they cannot be harassed while tethered; if U can't clear the room, then the combatants need to be crated, penned, in separate rooms, something, so they can calm down.

If there's no place to put unleashed dogs, there's not much point in wheelbarrowing; even if U can slip a leash on, by some miracle, U can't tie a dog who's been fighting with an ordinary leash, they'll sever it, & get right back into the wrangle.
If both dogs are leashed, once well-separated, U can drop their legs, & drag them to the vet's using the leash.

If U use a dog-daycare, ask if they have pig-boards - & if they do not, push them to get at least 2, or even 3.
They need to be hung or stowed where they are immediately accessible, not in a closet or cupboard.
Pig-boards are used to control or direct adult swine or piglets safely - pigs have shark-like teeth & big powerful bodies with battering-rams for heads, they can knock U down like a bowling-ball does a ten-pin, & rip U up. The boards have hand-hold slots in all 4 sides, & U use the solid barrier to move the pig/s thru gates, squeeze them against a stall wall for an injection, etc.
To break up a dog fight, the pig-board is simply shoved between the dogs - no HANDS go into the space, only the board, which they cannot grip except by the edges. Pig-boards are safe, effective, & fast; they require no expertise whatever, anyone can use them.

After a fight
Both dogs need a vet exam, even if there's no bleeding - there can be internal injuries, plus a puncture that does NOT bleed is worse-off than one that does.


Black dogs are particularly at risk of having bites that go unseen -
a neighbor of mine in Va Beach, while i lived at Marina Shores, had an adopted Shar-Pei; he was coal-black, with a narrow white strip on his chest.
One evening while walking the beach, her dog - on leash - was set on by 4 or 5 other dogs. The area wasn't well-lit, & she kicked & screamed at them while her dog shrieked & snarled & fought - all the dogs were bigger than him, & he was a soccer-ball being mauled & pulled from all sides.

I saw her dog & heard the story 2 days after - she STILL had not taken him to the vet!
His back & sides looked like a quilt, with puffy sections pulled-down here & there by 'stitches' of connecting tissue underneath - huge swellings, bigger across than my palm, on a 38# dog.
His face was almost unrecognizable as a dog - his eyes were swollen so, only half the eye was visible between the lids; his legs sprouted lumps, that were obvious abscesses.
Both ears had been bitten, & one was so swollen, there was no visible ear-canal - just a balloon of skin, sticking out from his head.
I said he needs vet-attn, & she said he'd be "fine" - she was "bathing him, & cleaning the wounds with alcohol". ::shock::
She hadn't taken a rectal-temp; he looked fevered to me, but i didn't touch him - he wasn't stranger-tolerant, & he was in obvious pain; his walk was stilted & almost shuffling.

I saw him again nearly a month later - she hadn't taken him to the vet until he stopped eating. I'm not sure why that qualified as an emergency, & bleeding onto the sheets of her bed each night, did not.
He needed 4 drains, one ear had been lanced & buttoned, & he'd been Rx'ed 2 different antibiotics, one for 10-days, then a 2nd for 2-weeks. He looked much better, but one hindleg had a damaged hock, which had stiffened. He 'crutched' on it, giving his gait a hitch.
Multiple scars had grown-in white, giving him a mended look, like a stuffed toy that had been shredded, & carelessly reassembled.
I was amazed he'd survived, given her cavalier attitude to his injuries.

- terry

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Last edited by leashedForLife; 11-16-2017 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 12:25 PM
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Well that's certainly food for thought. I feel worried now that I didn't have him checked all over. Though he is eating, acting and moving fine now so fingers crossed.
While my dog was still and the other dog had hold of his ear I was worried that if the other dog pulled away, he would take part of the ear.
Water might have startled him to give the owner a chance to get control but of course - no water.
I'm very wary of dog bites. I've had two bites over the years - one of them when trying to break up a fight. They were very painful injuries that took ages to heal and of course I needed antibiotics and tetanus checks. In one case they were forced to put in stitches though doctors here usually prefer to try and do without so that any infection can come out.
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Last edited by pineapple; 11-16-2017 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 03:48 PM
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When my last dog got attacked by the loose dog, I didn't know about the wheelbarrow technique. I didn't know the other dog at all so was scared to touch him. My dog did stop and try to get away and already had his spinal disease and trouble fully using his back legs. He could still walk then but dragged his toes at times. He couldn't walk at all after that and had to be carried and just lay down shaking letting the whole crowd of people pet and comfort him while about five angry guys screamed at the other dogs owner . He snarled at the other dog when he walked by but didn't do anything else. So I think he was too hurt to have hurt any people. I took him to the hospital first thing in the morning after staying up with him all night and being on the phone with the hospital checking in about which extra pain meds I could give him for the next few hours. Then slept a few hours with him since I knew I'd be at the vet all day.
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Old 11-16-2017, 03:49 PM
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Wow that owner sounds awful to have her dog so hurt for so long and not get him checked sooner.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:38 PM
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Unhappy I couldn't make any sense of it - I felt awful for the poor dog.

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Originally Posted by Shadowmom View Post

Wow - that owner sounds awful, to have her dog so hurt for so long, and not get him checked sooner.


I was really shocked - she'd adopted him a few years before, & seemed very fond of him, so not taking him to the vet immediately seemed really bizarre.

She actually said that when they got home that night, she thot he hadn't been hurt until he lay on her bed, & when he got up, there was blood on the coverlet where he'd lain.
On his black coat, the blood was invisible. On her white sheets, it was all-too-obvious, so she "solved" it by having him sleep on a folded bath-towel on the bed, to soak up the drainage. [As i'm listening to this, i'm wondering what planet i'm on... & how i got here!]

She seemed almost to be bragging about how tough he was, saying that he was up & going, & she was sure he'd be fine. I was so stunned by his appearance, I was almost speechless - i wanted to scream at her, "Can't U see he's in agony? - what's WRONG with U?...", but of course, that wouldn't help.

the 4th morning after the fight, he refused all food --- & that's when she decided to go to the vet. :head-spinning:
Not eating = emergency; a sustained attack by 4 or 5 dogs, in the dark? - No problem. I'll never understand that one.

- terry

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Old 11-17-2017, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Shadowmom View Post
Wow that owner sounds awful to have her dog so hurt for so long and not get him checked sooner.
It's terrible. Was it a money issue I wonder.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:38 AM
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Question Not sure - but money doesn't -seem- likely. // Who knows? - only the owner.

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It's terrible. Was it a money issue I wonder.


I wondered that myself, at the time - but she lived in a fairly-expensive apt complex, dressed well, & had a recent-model car; not a splashy life, but certainly a comfortable one.
Also, most ppl share it, if they're worried about costs - "oh, poor Charlie, I want to have him seen to, but i just can't afford it", or similar.

IME, they don't portray 'poor Charlie' as a tough little dog who's doing fine, when it's finances holding them back.
They worry about it, & generally seem upset - she was smiling when she talked about "how well he was doing"; she was only upset about the dogs who set on him, with no owner visible, & she didn't know to whom they belonged.
She didn't even get a good look for descriptive purposes, as the attack was so chaotic, & the area is poorly-lit.

THAT upset her - the state he was in, just didn't seem apparent to her.

Also, a month later, she didn't refer to what his treatment cost at all, which at that point, must have been very-dear, indeed - he was not only hurt, he was very sick!
If money was a worry initially, i'd think she'd have said that his care was expensive, or something to that effect?, afterward.

- t

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Old 11-19-2017, 05:59 AM
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I carry pepper spray and a stun gun or stun device if you prefer to call it. I'm really tired of loose dogs and I'll defend my dog and myself.

Dog fights happen fast and furious. Trying to run around and grab dog rear legs while you are trying to protect your dog is like a circus act. Steel yourself in the fact that in a serious dog fight you are going to get hurt. The bigger the dogs the worse if will be. I've seen two dog fights in classes. Both cases were across the room so I didn't get involved. The trainer sprayed both offenders with lemon spray. Both trainee dogs got trips to the vet ER and some expensive medical treatment.

Just guessing it took a good fifteen seconds or more for the trainer to get the spray and break it up. Both events happened very quickly but both offenders either should not have been in the class or assisted by another trainer. Both offender handlers were inexperienced and ignorant, inconsiderate people.

More often than not if a loose dog comes after you and your dog, a threat such as loud noise, waving hands, stomping feet and yelling are not going to be a deterrent. I'll spray a dog no matter what size. I'm not going to be victimized. If contact is made I'll already have my stun device out and activated. It will not transfer from one dog to the other. The offender will drop in its tracks.

If you get physical, it's very hard to pry a a biting dog off. Consider that a human can bite with only 100 pounds force. A GSD can get 270 and a Rottie can hit 325 with a Pitt in between. Can you exert this much force prying or pulling with your fingers? I have really strong hands working in the shop. I seriously doubt I can pry much over 100 pounds. Like lift a bag of cement with just the back of the hand. Most women can not deliver a knockout blow or even a " think about it blow" that will release a nasty dog. Could you poke an eye out? Pretty gruesome. Even pretty strong guys simply can not hit hard enough. Often, if the offender lets go it will immediately come after you. A serious dog bite on your arm, leg or torso with put you on the ground in a hurry. If you think about it for a moment, where are you going to place a deterrent blow? Head? Like hitting a rock. Neck? Most bigger dogs neck is pretty solid, back? Like hitting a tree limb. Ribs? Not an easy target. Can you kick its belly. Or stomp on a rear foot? Pretty tough to hit this moving target. Strangle? Are you strong enough to lift a squirming angry dog and apply some kind of strangle hold! If it happens to get turned around in your wrestling hold, guess where those 42 teeth are now!

Chances are spraying the dog even if your dog gets hit too will stop the action. Better to have your dog crying in misery than chewed up. Jamming a stun devise into the offender will stop the action. It takes one second, maybe less. Believe me adrenalin flows fast and furious in these events. You really need plan A,B,C and D for when all else fails.

Dog fights are not fun. It's best to avoid the situation to begin with. This means leave the cell phone in your pocket, no smoking and pay attention to what is going on around you for as far as you can see. You and your dog are enjoying each other, make the most of it.

Byron
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