How to Break Up a Dog Fight Safely | Scott Goodwin Law

How to Break Up a Dog Fight Safely

by / Wednesday, 15 August 2018 / Published in Dog Bites, Tips
Two dogs aggressively barking

When you love your dog, the last thing you ever want is to see them hurt or in danger. So if you see your beloved dog getting into a fight with another dog, your first instinct may be to try and break up the fight as quickly as possible. But if you’ve never been in that position before, it can be hard to know what to do next. You don’t want your beloved dog to get hurt, but you also don’t want to get hurt yourself. What can you do to safely handle the situation?

Don’t Put Yourself Between Fighting Dogs

First of all, if you feel like it’s really necessary to break up a dog fight, do not directly put yourself in between the fighting dogs. Even if you’re confident your dog would never bite you, it could happen by accident in the heat of the moment. There’s also no accounting for the behavior of the other dog involved in the fight.

Use Objects to Separate the Fighting Dogs

When a fight isn’t too intense, you might be able to stop it without having to get physically involved. If you have access to something like a large piece of wood, cardboard, a garbage can lid, a folded lawn chair, or a big stick, placing it between the dogs could help separate them. Turning a hose on the dogs or otherwise throwing water on them (such as with a bucket or a cup) could help put an end to a fight as well. Sometimes, making loud noises, such as by using an air horn or banging items together, can help stop a fight. Throwing something like a blanket, towel, or jacket over the dogs can also help since it will make it harder for them to see.

Safely Get Dogs Away from a Fight

If nothing else works and your only option is to physically separate the dogs, it’s very important that you do so carefully. Don’t try to grab your dog by its neck, chest, or front legs since that will put your hands close enough to the dog’s head that there’s a good chance you will be bitten. Also, don’t try to stop the fight by grabbing a dog by its collar. This might seem like a logical way to pull them apart, but grabbing the dog’s collar will most likely cause the dog to turn around and bite you out of instinct.

Instead, many animal experts recommend picking a dog up by its hind legs. Ideally, this should be done with another person who can do the same thing to the other dog involved in the fight. If you’re going to attempt this, grab the dog by the hind legs right under its hips and lift the dog up like you were attempting to move a wheelbarrow. Once the dogs legs are up, start walking backwards away from the other dog. After there is some distance between the dogs, start stepping to turn the dog around so that it’s facing away from the other dog.

Get Help from a Dog Bite Lawyer

If you’re injured while trying to break up a dog fight, contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Liability regarding injuries caused by dog fights can be complicated. For example, the owner of the dog that bit you might try to argue that you should have known that breaking up a dog fight could potentially result in being bitten or that it wasn’t their dog that bit you. Negligence on the part of the other dog’s owner would also be a factor. A lawyer will be able to answer your questions and help you figure out what steps to take next.

At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer highly experienced in handling Michigan dog bite cases. Contact us and find out what we can do to help.