Why Dog Fights Happen (And How to Prevent Them)
Dog fights are a dog owner’s worst nightmare. In case of a dog fight involving your beloved pet, your first instinct will be to immediately take action and save them. Breaking up a dog fight is dangerous, but situations like this require intervention to prevent potential fatalities. The best approach is to know what to do before, during, and after dog fights in order to minimise injuries.
Why Dogs Fight
Fighting between dogs is triggered by a variety of reasons, including defending territory, toys, or food, as well as out of fear. A dog may go on the offensive if it feels threatened, hoping to get the other dog to flee. Aggressive behaviour can also result from frustration, particularly in dogs who have not developed emotional self-control.
Preventing dog fights
As there are so many causes of dog fights and the consequences can be so severe, prevention is the best course of action. Learn how to interpret your dog’s body language and recognise the indications of stress in your dog. If you notice your dog getting pushed to the edge of their comfort zone, intervene and remove them from the situation as soon as possible.
1. Observe The Situation
You don’t want to be preoccupied with your phone, a book, or a chat to the point where you fail to detect when tensions are beginning to build. It might be challenging to identify when a problem is emerging as typical dog play always involves a lot of growling and wrestling. Watching for warning signs can help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation and prevent dog fights.
Below are some signs to help you recognise when dogs are feeling threatened and ready to attack:
- Raised hackles
- Deep growling or barking
- Bared teeth
- A dog who is attempting to flee but is not being allowed by other dogs
2. Regular Obedience Training
As soon as you notice your dog is showing signs of stress or other dogs in the group, call him to your side and reward him for responding to you. Having your dog sit and stay for a while may help the with the situation and calm them down. Train your dog regularly in obedience, and always praise and reward good behaviour. Having complete confidence that your dog will obey you instantly, no matter what’s going on around them, is your goal.
3. Understand Your Dog’s Weaknesses And Triggers
While dogs are usually well-behaved under most circumstances, certain triggers can cause them to get out of control. Knowing what triggers dog fights can help you reduce the likelihood of dangerous fights occurring. Food and toys are two of the most typical sources of conflict. This is due to the fact that dogs might become possessive of these items and become aggressive when guarding them. When food, toys or treats are present, two dogs should never be in the same area at the same time.
Here are some signs that may help you identify stress in your dog:
- Growling, whining, or barking
- Tucking the tail
- Flattened ears
- Showing whale eyes
- Lip licking
- Excessive sniffing
When a Dog Fight Happens
Keep in mind that your primary objective is to prevent serious injuries to both dogs and people involved if your dog does get into a fight despite your best efforts at prevention.
1. Remain Calm
A lot of dog fights are often nothing more than noisy and posturing spats that last only a few seconds. If the dogs separate by themselves soon, approach your dog carefully and calmly, attach your leash, and leave the area immediately.
2. Redirect The Attention
Use distraction to break up a dog fight. Distracting the dogs can provide your dog the opportunity to escape or for you to safely pull them away to safety. Try making loud noises, such as slamming metal pot lids together or spray them with a strong hose. Throwing a blanket over them can also stop the fighting as they can’t see each other.
3. Create A Barrier Between The Dogs
It’s safer to create a barrier between the fighting dogs if you’re alone yourself and a dog fight breaks out. Make sure to keep your hands out of harm’s way at all times when using a large object for this purpose, such as a chair, garbage can lid, or piece of wood.
What to Do After a Dog Fight
It is important to find a way to safely escort the dogs away from each other once they have disengaged, since dogs often want to go back to fighting once they have been separated.
Examine Your Dog for Injuries
If your dog has visible wounds, take them to the veterinary right away. The majority of bite wounds usually heal well when treated properly, but if treatment is delayed, they often become infected. Keep a close eye on your dog after the fight, even if they seem fine. Some injuries may only become obvious after several days.
Observe Your Dog’s Emotional Health
It is important to consider your dog’s emotional wellbeing after a dog fight, even if they seem fine. A fight can result in a great deal of strain and stress.
Hopefully, you and your dog will never be in this position. But if you do, take your dog to a veterinarian right away for an examination.
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