Should you intervene when dogs are fighting?

As a dog owner, you have certainly experienced that dogs have an argument and scuffle with each other. Depending on the situation, it is often not so easy to react correctly. Should you intervene? Or rather not? In this article we will go into some important facts and give you helpful tips so that you are better prepared for such situations in the future.

The fact is that not all dogs necessarily get along well with each other and occasionally there may be arguments among dogs. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as territorial instincts, defending resources, or simply because the dogs feel unsafe. When dogs scuffle, it can naturally upset owners. In the many cases, these are brief altercations that are over quickly and, at best, do not cause injury. But of course, scuffles can also cause serious injuries. Therefore, it is advisable to basically deal with the body language of the dog. In this way, you can learn to recognize situations with potential for conflict in good time and, at best, avoid them from the outset.

But what if the case has already occurred and two dogs have gotten into a scuffle? The question is whether you as a human should intervene when dogs are fighting. As long as there is no potential for injury to the human, we would always advise (with a few exceptions) to break up the scuffle.

If you decide to intervene, there are some important things to keep in mind. First, try to separate the dogs without touching them directly. For example, use a loud noise source such as a whistle or a water spray bottle to interrupt the dogs. If this doesn’t work, try leading them away from each other by holding a blanket or stick between them. However, you should never try to separate the dogs with your bare hands. This can lead to serious injuries.

If you have successfully separated the dogs, you should keep them away from each other to avoid another altercation. Put your dog on a leash and move away from the scene. Observe your dog over the next few days and watch for signs of injury or changes in behavior.

With these tips, you can avoid many potential disputes between dogs in the first place:

  • Watch the dogs’ body language and avoid contact if there are clear signs of stress or reluctance.
  • Avoid feeding strange dogs together or rewarding them with dog cookies (not even at the same time).
  • Dog encounters should always take place without toys (this includes sticks).
  • Do not cause unnecessary dog encounters on the leash
  • Make sure that the dogs approach each other politely (for example, avoid rushing at each other)

Even if really dangerous confrontations between dogs are not the rules, it is good to know how to avoid them or react in case they happen. However, if your dog has excessive arguments with his peers, you should see a dog trainer to avoid that your dog endangers himself but also other dogs.

Image by master1305 on Freepik

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