How to break up a dog fight!

How to break up a dog fight
How to break up a dog fight!

Sometimes it just happens, your dog simply does not get along with another dog and before you know it the two dogs are fighting. Now if the dogs in the fight are Chihuahuas then fine, it probably won’t be too difficult to pull the two dogs apart, however if they are big dogs it is whole different matter. You have to be able to break it up quickly to avoid the dogs to get injured and at the same time you must avoid getting bitten yourself. This requires some knowledge so here is how to break up a dog fight.

Why do dogs fight?

First of all, why do dogs fight in the first place? There are many reasons for why dogs fight and by understanding the cause of dog fights you can sometimes prevent the fights before they even break out.

Fights can be territorial, that is a dog protects its territory, an example of this would if a foreign dog enters your yard and this causes your dog to attack to get the intruder out.

Another issue is protection, dogs will protect their owners and everyone they consider members of their pack including children and other pets. If your dog feels that you are threatened by another dog it might attack to protect you.

Playing sometimes go to far and this can cause dogs to fight, dogs might simply be playing but then it goes too far and a play fight turns into a real fight. This often happens when there are more then two dogs involved.

Dominance is the cause of many dog fights. When there are two dogs and both of them are dominant and wants to be in charge then they might try to get the other dog to submission by attacking it.

There are also cases where two dogs simply do not get along. The dogs simply don’t like each others’ personality or behavior or even how the other dog smell. Just like us humans dogs have their personalities and their preferences and some dogs simply do not get along. The Breed of the dog can also be a factor when it comes to dog fights. Some breeds of dogs get along better with other dogs then others’ do. Dogs who are dominant and/or bred to fight (like the Pitbull Terrier) have a tendency to get aggressive towards other dogs.

Frustration is also a common cause of dog fights. A dog might get frustrated when it can not get what it wants and will sometimes take out its aggression on whatever (or whoever) is close to it. So a dog might attack another dog simply because it is frustrated with something else and the other dog simply happen to be in its reach.

How to break up a dog fight

It is very important to be able to break up a dog fight before one (or several) of the dogs get seriously injured. It is however important to do this the right way. You have to stop the dogs from fighting with getting injured yourself so here are a few tricks on how to do this.

First of all; do not get in between the dogs. This can be very dangerous and you risk getting bitten by any of the dogs in the fight, even your own dog. Dogs in rage and in the heat of the fight can’t be controlled easily and thus another way of stopping the fight must be applied. Here are a few ways to stop a dog fight.

  • Through water on the dogs. The best is to use a hose, but if that is not available use a bucket, bottle or anything you find. Throwing water on fighting dogs may distract them enough to make them stop and then you can quickly separate them.
  • Through a blanket over the fighting dogs. throwing a blanket over the dogs will temporarily blind them and it will also get their minds of the fight. Quickly pull the dogs apart.
  • Pulling them apart by the back legs. Grab the dog by the top of its back legs and pull it backward. This is quite safe as the dog can not bite you in this position. This method could be used if there are two persons pulling apart both of the fighting dogs at once. If you are alone you should not use this method as the dog which is not being pulled back could attack the other one. The exception to this would be if one dog is completely dominating the other one, in that case you would pull off the dominating dog.
  • Put a barrier between the two dogs. If you can put some kind of barrier between the two dogs. This could be a large piece of wood a trash can or a chair, then pull them away as quickly as you possibly can.

How to prevent a dog fight

The best thing is of course to prevent a dog fight from happening in the first place. This might be easier said then done but there are signs you can look for. Learning the body language of dogs is very important. This will allow you to spot a situation which is potentially dangerous and stop a fight before it breaks out. Here are a few things to look for:

  • One of the dogs present is displaying very dominant behavior. If dogs are playing and one of them is constantly pushing the other dog/s down and try to impose himself on them then there is a risk of fight unless the other dogs submits.
  • Displaying of dominant and aggressive behavior. You can see this by observing the dogs posture. An aggressive dog will have his ears flat on his head, his tail low and straight out from the body, fur on the back and rump will be raised and the eyes will be angry and intently staring. Even more obvious will be a growl or snarl although this varies and not all aggressive dog will warn with a growl.
  • Learn your dog’s “triggers”. This means things that triggers aggressive behaviors in your dog. For example food or his/her favorite toy. Dogs often fight over food or/and toys so removing these or keeping two dogs separate when they eat could be one solution.


It is important to be prepared in order to deal with a dog fight. It is very important to get know your dog well. If you know your dog’s fear and what triggers aggression in it then you will have a much better chance of preventing a fight from happening in the first place. By studying dogs in general and learning their body language you will also be able to see if there are other dogs who display a behavior that might lead to a fight and thus pull away your own dog from there before a fight break out.

Of course, it is not always possible to prevent dog fights as sometimes fights occur very quickly. Therefore, you need to have a plan and know how to break up the fight as quickly as possible. Watch your dog closely when it is playing with other dogs and talk to the owner of the other dog (s) so that you can act together should it be necessary. It could also be useful to see if there is an object nearby (trashcan, bench, chair etc) that could be used to separate the two fighting dogs.

I hope you found this post useful and I would be very happy to hear your own suggestions and tips on how to break up a dog fight. Please leave your comments below.


Comments 4

  • This is one of the most unpleasant things I have come across. Actually it’s bad for any animal or even human to fight and I can’t stand the sight. I’ve seen the water trick being used before to stop a dog fight but I was used to just shouting at them and that’s it or just pick up a big stick though I’m afraid this may one day get me involved in the cross fire. Thanks for the tips here I think the water one is safer I’m not sure about pulling the hind legs I’m still quite scared I might just get bitten.

    • Throwing water on the dogs is certainly a safe way to break up a fight but in some cases it might not work. If the dogs are very enraged then they might not even take notice of the water. In those cases, grabbing the hindleg and pulling the dog backwards should work well. This will get the dog out of balance and if you hold it steady it should not be able to bite you. Once the dogs are well away from each other they normally calm down and return to normal.

      Using a big stick or something should be avoided because like you say, it will put you in front of the dogs and considering how fast dogs can move, ther risk of getting bitten is quite big. 

  • Ooh, this is good information that I hope I’ll never need again. I’ve definitely had to break up a few dog fights, and when it happens it all seems to move so fast. Your advice on where to grab the dog to physically pull them apart seems like sound logic — you definitely don’t want the dog to bite you! Thank you for sharing this important safety information about breaking up a dog fight.

    • Yes it is important to be able to break up dog fight but with bigger dogs it can be dangerous if you do it the wrong way. When dog’s is in this state of mind they can bite anything, even their owner. Grabbing the dog by the hindlegs for example will get it out of balance and it can not bite you either, you should be able to control the dog that way.

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