How to Break Up a Dog Fight

The following is a summary by Marian Tyson, of reader responses KB-L during the last week of June
2008. For full text of responses, please access the archives.

Almost any dog can get into a fight depending on the circumstances. The conundrum for owners is what to do quickly, to stop the fight and minimize or avoid
harm to the dogs and their owners. Breaking up a fight can have consequences as seen in these photos taken before and after surgery.

Arm Before Surgery


After stiches are removed 


Readers of the KB-L newslist made the following suggestions for owners facing
dog fights:

For the strong: Lift up the hind legs of the attacking dog (in this case it was an Airedale tussling with the Kerry) ? Judee

For the strong in a dire emergency: Kick the aggressive dog in the ribs (the Kerry had already received puncture bites). ? Daniel W. McCrackin

For the brave or medically inclined: ?The handler stuck his finger up the dog?s ?arse?? –Kevin Burke

For the prepared: Carry pepper spray. ?Marie

For the creative, especially post-garbage day: Put a metal garbage can over one of the combatants. ? Priscilla Scwenk, discussing Jean Underhill

For denizens of the garden: Use a high pressure hose. Diane Ridd

Other suggestions included: something bad tasting in the dog?s mouth, showering the dogs with water with a small amount of vinegar or separating them into
different rooms (Margaret); Jane McCallen suggested cutting off their air by covering their nose or pressing on the throat.

Judith Bruno recommended a series of articles available at: Some
of the articles and e-books are free to download; others may be purchased. The material is copyrighted and could not be reproduced here.

Not all fights and scuffles can be prevented, but you can help your Kerries and yourself by knowing their personalities and teaching them to accept you
as pack leader. Consistent training will help them respond the way you command in a time of crisis and will reduce or avoid injuries to both pets and

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