Breaking a Fight
Breaking a fight is not fun and it is better to try not to let it happen to begin with. Dogs fight for a variety of reasons, including territorial resource guarding, toys, or food. They may also react out of fear or are not tolerant of other dogs. When they feel threatened, some dogs go on the offensive in the hopes of scaring the other dog away.
Dogs fight differently. Most breeds of dogs tend to snap or bite and release, they are easier to separate and stop a fight. A break stick will not work on this type of fight. Pit Bull type dogs tend to bite and hold on until they think they will get a better bite. The problem here is that if you can't open their jaw and you try to pull them apart that can cause skin ripping and tearing. With a break stick you can open the jaw safely, without doing additional damage. and can then separate the dogs.
It is imperative that you take all precautions to be safe, people get hurt breaking up dog fights. Although Pit Bulls tend to bite and hold, if the fight is with another breed, there is a greater chance of getting bitten by a dog that is unpredictably biting and releasing. Even your own dog won’t recognize friend versus foe in the heat of the moment.
If you can catch the a fight before it actually begins, or before a dog has a hold, you may be able to break the fight using other methods. Jerking the dogs back by their collars, a loud and firm break command, a bucket of cold water, a water hose, or placing a barrier such as a baby gate between the two dogs may be enough to stop them. Be safe: don't put your hands anywhere near the mouth of the dogs.
If a dog has latched on to another, it is critical that you release the dog's grip before attempting to pull them away, or you risk injuring the other dog further. Insert a break stick, horizontally as close to the back of the throat as possible, and twist. This will make them loosen their grip. Remember, only intervene if the dog's owner is unable to control their dog, and only if it is safe to do so.
DO NOT PULL THE DOGS APART AS THIS WILL CAUSE RIPPING AND MORE DAMAGE
Dog fights are terrifying, anxiety raising experiences. If you've never experienced one, you don't want to. Ugly, down right ugly. Please read avoiding dog fights. I'm not going to tell you it's easy, because it's not. I personally have only had one really bad fight. Where I literally had to drag the dogs to a sliding glass door and close the door between them. It worked, but it was traumatic for me and where management became imperative.
It's much easier to break up a fight with two people, but you can do it by yourself if you have no other option. If both dogs are fighting and you are alone, you may need to tie one of them to something solid. When one of the dogs is tied, you must "break" the one who is not tied first and immediately pull him/her off.
People frequently get injured breaking up dog fights. Dog fights are intense regardless of breed. What matters is that you do what feels safest for you and the dogs involved. Know your physical limitations and avoid doing anything that you believe will put you in danger.
After the fight has been broken up, the first step is to keep the dogs apart. As you walk them away, make sure they are tethered or leashed and give them enough time to calm down (considering one or both are not badly injured). When you walk away and get to a place where you can inspect them, give them lots of comforting words and pets to help them recover from the traumatic event. Most dogs will recover quickly from a minor fight, but some may be nervous for some time.
Fighting can be extremely dangerous, so inspect each dog thoroughly for bite wounds, cuts, and abrasions. Gently examine each dog's entire body visually, then with your hands, to see if there are any tender areas that need to be examined further. It's always a good idea to have your dog checked out by a vet to make sure everything is fine. Their thick fur and high pain tolerance can easily conceal a more serious issue.
Make sure they have a relaxing place to escape from it all. Rest, praise, pets, and even some extra treats will go a long way toward assisting them in recovering. If your dog is still nervous, reintroduce them to dogs slowly.
Be aware that adrenaline levels can remain elevated for up to two weeks after a fight. During that time, the likelihood of another fight occurring increases.
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