Imagine bringing your beloved dog to Bishan Park one sunny Saturday afternoon. She is playing and exploring in the dog run with her pals. You, on the other hand, are sipping a chilled can of Coke and relaxing on the mat.
Out of a sudden, you see your dog in a fight! What should you do?
Yes! The answer is to break up the fight! But how do you actually break it up? Effectiveness is defined by how quickly you break up the fight with minimum injuries. There will be no time for you to Google the answer. Time is of paramount importance before the situation worsens.
Let us brainstorm the possible ways to break up a dog fight:
- Create a loud noise to distract the attacking dog
- Kick the stomach region of the attacking dog to distract his attention
- Direct water towards the attacking dog’s sensitive areas, such as the eyes, nose, and ears
- Grab and pull the hind legs of the attacking dog away and cover her head with a cloth
Above are the typical answers you are likely to hear or think of. But which one would you choose?
Let us examine each method to determine its usefulness.
The “wrong” ways to break up a dog fight
These methods would likely lead to undesirable consequences.
1. Making loud noises is a firm no
A loud noise may alarm the attacking dog, causing it to bite the victim even harder or deeper. This worsens the situation.
2. Kicking a dog is dangerous
This method is not ideal although it would break up the fight successfully. You may hurt the attacking dog and, in the worst case scenario, the dog would attack you instead. Also, you are likely to get into trouble with the attacking dog’s owner.
The right ways to break up a dog fight
Breaking up a dog fight is a dangerous act. Do take extra care and engage the help of others, if possible.
3. Water will cause a reflex reaction
This is an effective way to handle the situation.
Why? Directing water to any of the attacking dog’s sensitive areas would lead to a reflex reaction that would end the fight. The affected dog has to immediately stop and remove the water from her nose as it affects her breathing.
With that said, this doesn’t always work. Also, you may not have access to a hose or a bucket of water to do so.
4. Lifting and dragging the hind legs is your best bet
This is the best method out of the lot because it works and is achievable. The attacking dog would loosen his bite as soon as his hind legs are lifted off the ground.
After you lift the hind legs, immediately drag the attacking dog away from the victim dog. Be careful though as the dog may turn around and bite. Get ready to back away from such attempts. This is preferably executed by the attacking dog’s owner. The obvious reason being that the dog is less likely to attack her owner.
If you are not alone, ask someone else to stand by with a cloth, such as a towel or a t-shirt to cover the attacking dog’s head right away. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”! You will have to do it yourself if you are alone.
In the meantime, the owner of the victim dog should carry her away to a safer place before treating any injury.
Handling an injury
How should we handle the injury? Well, it depends on its severity. Regardless, there are a few general guidelines an untrained personnel can execute. Let us assume that the dog is just bleeding from the bite with no other complications. The general steps are:
- Check whether there is a first aid responder present to help. If there isn’t one, try to muzzle the dog yourself (so she can’t bite you when you are treating her wound)
- Get another person to call the vet and arrange for transport to send the wounded dog to the clinic
- Apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. Bandage the wound if the necessary resources are available
- Send the dog to a vet immediately
I would like to highlight that the above steps are not the complete steps a Canine First Responder should perform in an emergency. There are many more steps involved, but this is beyond the scope of this article as well as my ability to explain.
I hope the above gives all dogs owners a good idea of how to break up a dog fight confidently and minimise the injuries suffered by the dogs and people.