Safely Stop A Dog Fight, 5 Lifesaving Tips

Safely Stop A Dog Fight

5 Lifesaving Tips

This week there has been a really distressing experience for a dog walker close to where I live. She was out walking her dog on a leash when another dog attacked him. Luckily a passerby intervened and they were able to break up the fight. However, sadly my friend’s dog was badly injured and has since had to have a leg amputated. Without the help of the stranger, the dog would have been killed.

It made me realise that in these circumstances I would have no idea what to do. In fact, through lack of knowledge, my actions could make the fight worse or I could get injured myself.

The incident compelled me to research the subject and I have compiled a list of 5 Safety Tips To Stop A Dog Fight. 

This post is about what to do WHEN A DOG FIGHT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.

It might be the difference between your dog living and dying.

It can also prevent a person from getting hurt.

Here are a few tips to safely help your dog if he is involved in a dog fight.

If a fight breaks out between two dogs it is essential that you act quickly without harming yourself.

First, we start with what NOT to do.

  1. Don’t try to grab collars or put yourself between the dogs, you could get seriously injured.
  2. Don’t assume that your own dog won’t bite you, in this heightened state, he will bite anything that gets in his way.
  3. Try not to panic, screaming won’t help.

How to safely stop a dog fight.

1 Make sure that any children, other dogs, bystanders are moved away to prevent further injuries.

2 Stay as calm as possible, don’t shout and scream at the dogs to stop, it will have the opposite effect.

3 Look for a distraction, something that will startle the dogs.

Look around for a water source. A tap or hose would be best but if not a nearby bottle containing liquid, a flower vase, a kettle (as long as you know the water is cold).

Is there a thick blanket nearby, or a coat, towel or thick item of clothing? If so throw over one of the dogs, it might break their focus and stop the fighting.

You could use something which would make a sudden loud noise or bang to distract the dogs. This could be a car horn, an alarm of some kind, a whistle or bang two metal dog bowls together.

4 Look for something you can easily slot between the dogs whilst keeping your hands out of harm’s way.

This could be a sheet of cardboard or plastic, a rug,  dining chair. rubbish bin lid or a tree branch. The idea is to create a barrier between the dogs, without putting yourself in danger.

5 Physical Intervention is the LAST RESORT (and I advise against this).

However, if intervention is unavoidable, approach the dog from behind, grab the top of his back legs and pull the dog backward and in an arc (to prevent the dog from reaching around and biting you.)

Safely Stop A dog Fight


There are always things you can do if you are worried that your dog may be attacked when on a walk.

Here are a few safety tips to consider which may prevent a dog fight.

1 Know Your Dog

If your dog is nervous around other dogs don’t walk him in a crowded park at the busiest time of day.  Keep him on a leash and walk early in the morning before other dog walkers are around.

2 Carry A Bottle, Spray or Alarm

This is to spray an aggressive, approaching dog. It will give you a little more time to protect your own dog and may even stop the other dog in his tracks. If you are really worried, carry a can of citronella spray, the smell is highly unpleasant to dogs. A high pitched personal alarm might also scare off an approaching aggressive dog.

3 Watch Body Language

You can see how relaxed or comfortable a dog is in certain situations by keeping an eye on their body language. This can also be used when two dogs are playing, to make sure that an actual fight does not start or when strange dogs are introduced for the first time,

An aggressive or threatened dog will stiffen his body.

Heckles will rise (this is the fur on the back and neck).

They will make a low, rumbling growl or snarl.

The tail will be stiff and positioned high.

Teeth will be visible.

yellow Safely Stop A dog Fight

4 Use a Vest or Bandana on your Dog

If you have an unpredictable dog, it is a good idea to warn other dog walkers to keep their own dogs away.

My personal experience is that I have a rescue dog who will react if he feels that he is in any sort of danger. When a boisterous dog approaches off leash, my dog immediately feels anxious.

It is not always possible to verbally alert someone to keep their dog away.

Therefore, a bright yellow vest, collar or bandana is a good way to alert other dog owners that your dog is nervous or needs his own space.

Nervous Dog Bandana

Nervous Dog Bandana Safely Stop A dog Fight

Further Reading

How To Walk A Reactive Dog

Teaching A Dog Bite Inhibition

Just remember that a dog fight can come out of nowhere.

I hope these tips are helpful if you need to safely stop a dog fight without getting injured yourself.


Thank you for reading

10 thoughts on “Safely Stop A Dog Fight, 5 Lifesaving Tips

Add yours

  1. I am sorry to say I no longer walk my dogs. I have people with larger dogs come up to my dogs and I have asked them to please stay away my are not comfortable around larger dogs. All they have to do is hear a growl and that’s all it takes. But people let their dogs come up to mine so if I hear a growl I know I have to pick mine up for a while until the other one leaves. A lot of the time the other one is not on a leash.
    So I have not taking my dogs for a walk in years.
    Now they have a nice large fenced-in dog kennel with a doggie door they can run in.
    We live on 5 acres in the country so they can also bark as much as they want!
    Have a good day,

    1. Isn’t it sad though John? Why can’t people just leave us to enjoy a nice walk with our dogs? hope you’re having a good day too

  2. My grandparents raised English Bull Terriers (this was before the Bullies had Roman noses). Occasionally, there would be a fight, they kept a a rag soaked in ammonia under the kitchen sink, they would drop the rag on their noses. This caused them to break away fast. I will sometimes put an ammonia rag in a plastic bag for a just in case. The dogs were never harmed by the rag.

  3. This is one of the best articles I’ve read, thank you for sharing it. I’ve been in dog rescue for years and some of these tips have saved serious injury. It’s so critical to know your dog and understand the body language!

    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kind words. Most of the tips have been from working in rescue , it’s surprising how much we pick up!

  4. Good information! Thank you! I have also used a penny can to diffuse a possible problem. Just take an empty pop can & fill with about 6 pennies, seal it off with duck tape or such and shake it or toss in the direction of the possible fight. The clanking is enough to startle them and distract.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: