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Discussion Starter #1
I was walking my pups yesterday and on the way home we passed the house on my street that always has a Mastiff outside on a tie out. (When she isn't on the tie out, she is at their window barking at passersby or sleeping, what a life)
But anyhow, she broke free from her tie out, presumably out of excitement and got into a confrontation with my dog, Riley, who isn't always so welcoming with strange dogs, especially one over 3x his size. Riley got pinned on the ground and they were face to face fighting, all the while my Brody was freaking out next to them. With the Mastiff being free, and myself being in a total panic, all I could do is scream for help! A neighbor that was outside down the street yelled and it was just enough for Riley to be able to get up, wherein I then yelled at Riley to go home, and he thankfully listened. The mastiff was following a little bit then got distracted by something in the grass. I got both my dogs in the house and by the time I was done checking Riley over, the Mastiff's owner was outside, apologizing profusely.. and offering to look at Riley since she is a vet tech.

Riley has a small puncture wound but doesn't need stitches and will be fine. I am beside myself with the incident because of how helpless I felt. Other than screaming is there something I could have done to break up the fight?

At work we are trained to dump water on the dogs if there is a fight, or make loud sounds, throw something between them. I didn't have access to water and nothing nearby to throw. If this mastiff would have actually been a true aggressor, my dog would have been a goner I think. What would you have done in this situation??
 

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You can grab the aggressor by the waist under the hips and swing them around (so that they can't reach back and bite you). I imagine that would be very difficult with a dog the size of a mastiff though. I'm sorry that happened :/

I would carry something like pepper spray or a pet convincer (compressed air) to use if that dog is loose again. Maybe also report the incident to the police or animal control- definitely do so if the dog is loose again.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You can grab the aggressor by the waist under the hips and swing them around (so that they can't reach back and bite you). I imagine that would be very difficult with a dog the size of a mastiff though. I'm sorry that happened :/

I would carry something like pepper spray or a pet convincer (compressed air) to use if that dog is loose again. Maybe also report the incident to the police or animal control- definitely do so if the dog is loose again.
unfortunately even if it wasn't a mastiff, It would have been difficult to do while still holding on to my other dog. I do like the idea of carrying something like that. we sell little air horns at my work - I guess until something like this happens you never really think you need to take that precaution!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm concerned that a vet tech wouldn't be intelligent enough not to leave a Mastiff tied outside. I'm glad your dog is okay (and you too). I wouldn't walk past that house again.
I was pretty shocked about that too. The house is right across the street, but I will certainly avoid it the best I can. Hopefully she keeps her word and gets a stronger collar and tie out. In the heat of everything I forgot to tell her that a few months ago, I was out by myself, and her dog was loose and started following me. She wasn't aggressive or anything, and I led her back to the tie out and clipped her on after nobody answered the door. :eyeroll: I certainly hope SOMEONE was home that day while the dog was tied out, but I did knock for a good 5 minutes at front and back door.
 

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When dogs fight, they aren't thinking - nor are they aware of what's going on around them. Same when two people get into a fight, it's focus on the task at hand. Screaming and yelling will only garner you a sore throat - but it may garner some help. Try to remain calm first and foremost - it's difficult.

Grabbing an amped up mastiff around the back legs will likely get you bit, make you a target if you're alone. Doing it to a jack russell would be more effective.

Pepper spray? Effective yes, but if you've never shot a cannister of pepper spray and carry it - I urge you to buy a second one and try it first. The stuff is indiscriminate, chances are very good you and the dogs are going to feel the effects and it's not pretty. Pepper spray is more designed for when there is some distance, to fend off an impending attack.

There are stun batons available for use on dogs. Likely the most effective tool against dog fights when you're alone. A regular stun gun or taser will likely kill a dog.
 

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Just wanted to add how sorry I am for you, how terrifying. I've only ever had to break up two REAL dog fights with help, and it is very difficult when you're alone if both dogs are full-on in it for the fight (it is considerably easier when one dog is being attacked, and you have one main aggressor).
Strangely enough, it was also a Mastiff. My friend's dog was fence fighting with a border collie, and when they entered the park, she just lost it for some reason. We did pick her up under her hips and dragged her backwards, and she snapped out of it.

If you're going to use the air horn technique, make sure to CC your dogs to it so you don't scare them half to death when you need to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you all for your sympathy and suggestions. It was definitely an eye opening experience.
 

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Given the same situation I probably would have been kicking the ever living hell out of that mastiff... My dog being pinned by a bigger aggressive dog will make me very uncivilized very fast.

Stormy
 
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The two times I have had my dogs attacked by the same dog, a German Shepherd, I was in a building with Remmy and managed to get him behind me and I kicked at the German Shepherd and kept him at bay till the owner got hold of him. I ended up with a bitten finger as when I swung my arm at him, it hit his teeth moreso than him actually biting me.

The second time, probably a couple of years later, I was standing with Bonnie (my Golden Doodle) on leash. The same Shepherd was at the other end of the arena doing some training off-leash with his owner and we had our back to him. All of a sudden he raced over and jumped on Bonnie and grabbed her by the back. Again, my reaction is to kick at him and I got him off. Since then I have had to really work on Bonnie as she is now scared of any big dog coming towards her.
 

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I really like Spray Shield, although I've never had to use it for a major fight. Unlike pepper spray it will not injure you or your dogs if it blows back. As @jagger mentioned, pepper spray is definitely something you want to practice with beforehand. Citronella spray, while not as debilitating, poses less of a risk (so if you're like me, you will be less hesitant to use it) and it definitely causes dogs to pause and back up long enough for your to escape with your dog.
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Grabbing an amped up mastiff around the back legs will likely get you bit, make you a target if you're alone. Doing it to a jack russell would be more effective.
Yeah, definitely. You have to grab the waist, lift up, swing the dog around in a 180 degree angle, and then release, all in one quick motion. The dog is surprised and more concerned with keeping it's balanced if you do it quickly enough. The only time I've been bitten using this technique was when I pulled back but then held onto the dog for too long before swinging it around and releasing.
 

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I've had to break up my former roommates GSD and my dog 3 times. My dog is 30 pounds, the GSD is 70. Twice I was alone, and I kicked and punched the GSD(she was the aggressor) and choked her out by her collar. I got bitten by the GSD 2 of the times, once pretty badly, but I'd do it again. When my dogs are in danger, I will do anything in my power to protect them. I don't even think, I just start punching. The last time(my dog was never allowed contact with the GSD after this one), my roommate body slammed her GSD into the hardwood floor. It was effective. I carry pepper spray with me in places I'm wary of.
 

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When I walk Bus (13#) and Roxie (20#, but fat- she doesn't fit well under one arm), and a stray dog approaches, it would be very cumbersome to pick both up, and I wouldn't be able to defend them well if the dog were to try to jump up and grab them. If a dog appears to just be curious, friendly, or indifferent, I usually leave both on the ground, put them on the side of me farthest from the dog, and keep walking briskly. If they seem ok, but persist in following us to "meet", I will sometimes let them smell Roxie briefly, and many are satisfied with that. If the dog looks like they might be a problem, I pick up Bus, who is smaller, and more apt to start or get involved in a fight because he can be a jerk, and try to stay between the dog and Roxie. If the dog approached in such a way that I could tell it intended to attack mine, I would seek to get a physical barrier between them and it asap. In an emergency, I've even ducked into someone's fenced yard (knew they didn't have a dog, and just stood right at the gate)- my dog was not dog friendly, but old, and the other dog was 100+ lbs (twice her size) and had a history of attacking other dogs on multiple occasions as well as biting people who tried to save their dogs from him. Several people in that and the adjacent houses came out (my dog was going nuts because the dog was running the fence trying to squeeze through and making a bunch of noise) and one neighbor actually herded the dog down the street with their car while I slipped away- I was embarrassed but thankful for the help.

Things to remember are: by picking up your dog, you render them defenseless. That can go both ways... I've picked up my smaller dogs to prevent them from getting crunched, as well as picked up my larger dogs to avoid them crunching another dog. It's not uncommon though for people to pick their dog up and the approaching dog to try to jump up and grab the dog because it's now even more exciting and prey like than it may have been on the ground, particularly if it is squirming trying to get down. Plus then you are at higher risk of getting bitten in the process. If you can't keep a hand free to deter the loose dog, it may not be the best idea. My plan with my bigger dogs was always to pick them up to prevent them from starting a fight, but if another dog pushed the issue, I would have put them down rather than let another dog injure them while I kept them defenseless. With my smaller dogs, I wrap them snug against me so their legs aren't dangling temptingly :)

Lots of times, if you just keep a loose leash, and keep moving, you can skirt through a sort of tense meeting between dogs with minimal issue. When you see a loose dog and cinch your dog tight beside you, you increase the likelihood that they will meet the oncoming dog with conflict. Likewise, the adrenaline rush you may feel thinking a fight could be impending doesn't help matters, nor IME will some of the things we may try to do to deter the dog (stomping, yelling, etc). I have found over time that the majority of dog meetings I have seen (between other peoples' dogs, granted, they are mostly on leash, but that can make for some VERY tense greetings) don't result in fights, unless one dog involved has a history of being a brawler, or both are borderline with other dogs. I see things on a daily basis that make me cringe, but rarely does a serious fight break out (causing any injury). That said, I also do see the results of serious fights between dogs which have unintentionally met, so it is a legitimate concern, but sometimes it seems to me that the nonchalant people seem to fare better than those who fret about it.

I've only once had to break up a serious fight between my dog and a strange dog, and in that case, the other dog was on the losing end and took off for home (neighbor's dog in our yard) as soon as I removed my dog. The odds of being bitten are high when intervening in a fight in a hands on fashion, and there's nothing that can completely negate that risk. I have used the collar lift/twist on my own dog(s) for times when they have had a firm hold of another dog, but I trusted that they weren't going to redirect on me. It is less useful when dogs are repeatedly snapping or biting at each other, and I would be very reluctant to get that close to the business end of a dog I didn't know well. For those situations, I would probably try to drag the dogs to a gate or door, and use that to physically separate them (close it between them, when they regrip, push it further closed), or otherwise get some sort of physical barrier (other than myself) between them. I do try to avoid problem areas when we walk, and call animal control or the non-emergency police number if a loose dog approaches us in a sketchy manner, as I figure that's the most effective way to get people to keep their dog confined. I have considered getting direct stop or similar deterrent spray for our walks specifically because I can't easily pick up both dogs and it can be hard to keep both behind me, but I always forget when i make an amazon order- it seems like it would be a good deterrent for dogs who are on the fence about approaching or just being vaguely territorial (we have a couple dogs, who when they are loose, threaten us as we pass the 3-4 house area around THEIR house, IME, physically trying to scare these dogs away makes them more defensive). I have heard both successful and failed attempts to break up fights using either the pick up hind legs or water in the face methods- in the APBT world, neither is considered particularly effective, but it seems they work more often for less determined dogs. I frequently hear of people who have tried to save their dog from an attacking dog by kicking/hitting the other dog off, with mixed results- some dogs fight harder when you "assault" them physically, and it's for sure more likely to get you bitten. I have kicked at strange dogs before they got to mine (if my hands were full), and it does make a some of them at least hesitate, though the determined ones don't really even notice, and it could increase the odds of a fight, or of them targeting you instead.

I don't think there's really any right or wrong answer for all situations, there are so many variables, and try as you might, you can't prepare for all of them.
 

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Air Horn, Pepper Spray or Citrus Spray, Whistle. A break stick is also helpful if you know how to properly use one. If I had smaller dogs, I would carry these items with me everywhere. You can easily attach them to your leash and then there is no chance of you forgetting them. Plus if you ever encounter a human-aggressor all these items can help you as well. Really they are just good tools to have around. Make sure you practice using each item before you need to use them in a serious situation.

Sorry to hear about your dog. Even the most responsible pet owners can sometimes have accidents like their not-so-friendly dog getting loose. At least she was apologetic and even bothered to look at your dog. I have had issue with people where they didn't even bother apologizing and just left the scene. Luckily my dogs are large and can hold their own lot enough for me to stop the fight. I am disappointed to hear that this mastiff never gets to go do things. Poor pup.

I have had to break up a ton of fights, both at dog parks and at work (cage-free doggy daycare facility with over 100+dogs all day long- sometimes dogs get pissed at each other even if they are best friends). Sometimes you get bit and sometimes you get lucky. Each situation is always different and must be handled differently. No one method will always work (unless you want to carry around a cattle prod, bet your butt that would work LOL.. jk though... that's a little extreme...).
 
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