What to do When a Dog Fights or Attacks Your Pet…
You may be caught by surprise if another dog runs up to your own and starts a fight, so be prepared to take action as quickly as possible. It will be difficult not to panic, so we want to give you some steps to take when the worst happens, you see the attack coming and how to avoid such an event for you and your doggie.
What to do physically and verbally
When another dog approaches yours with ears back, eyes focused on your pet and fur raised on their back, they are in attack mode. If your own dog is small enough to pick up, do so, because that will break the other dog’s desire to lock eyes as they move towards you. Also, turn around and walk slowly in the opposite direction
If your breed is too large for you to pick up, when they are leashed, you can keep your dog close to you, turn around and slowly walk away. An attacking dog will seldom keep moving toward you when you break the eye contact and forward motion. Saying “No” loudly will also cause the aggressive dog to pay attention to you, not your pet, as you walk away with your leashed dog at your side.
If the aggressor canine comes running out of nowhere, and a fight ensues. DO NOT use your own body, hands or feet to try and split them up. Yell loudly “Sit” or “No” over and over, and gather other humans to circle the animals while shouting the “Sit” or “No” command. This is the normal recommended protocol for Dog Park incidents.
The good news, is that dogs will not usually bite to break the skin of another dog if they spent time in a litter with mom that taught them not to bite, but to nip instead.
Warning Signs of an aggressive dog
When you and your dog are minding your own business and taking a stroll, stay away from a yard, or approaching dog that is barking, growling or straining on a tether or leash. The walk away tactic is best to avoid this type of warning.
Small dogs can be just as aggressive as large ones, so any little yapping dog that is running loose and has their eyes focused on your larger dog, is giving the same warning signals as a larger dog would.
If your pet is not leashed, you are running a high risk of canine confrontation when you are in public. Therefore, your job as the master and pack leader is to assure your fur companion is properly trained and socialized so they will obey your commands and put their trust in your actions on-leash.
Preventive steps to avoid Canine aggression
Dogs become aggressive when they are not exercised, trained and socialized. When your perfectly behaved tail wagger is at your side, situational awareness is just as important as it is when you are out walking alone. After all, you and your fur buddy are partners. Another reason a dog will be aggressive is if they feel their territory is being invaded or they have new pups to protect. In close neighborhoods, it is a good idea to be aware of other family pets and, if possible, introduce your doggie to each one in a social setting with their owners.
If a stray dog or pack of dogs enters your own yard or neighborhood, call your pet to get them by you, observe the stranger dogs’ behaviors and call animal control. This is especially important in rural and farmland territory.
The experts do not recommend playing rough and tumble pull games with your dog. Rather, they would prefer that you use their pull, throw and fetch toys to teach them good behavior, like catch and retrieve, drop the toy at your feet, wait for the toss and obey your commands as you play with them.
Be aware of your breed’s natural tendencies and instincts, since sporting, working and companion breeds can all have different behaviors that are part of their ancestry. Again, proper training is critical for socializing all dog breeds
Be the pack leader! Our reference experts all agree that when you have become the master of your dog’s actions, they will look to you for leadership and instructions under all circumstances.
We hope and pray you never have to deal with these scary circumstances with your precious four-pawed partner. When your dog is part of a family with children, be sure to teach them the rules for approaching strange dogs, what the signals of an aggressive animal are and to never disturb or surprise a dog when they are napping, eating or watching over their puppies. A happy dog is a well-trained, exercised and socialized pet that knows they are secure when you are with them.
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Photo credit: Courtesy of Flikr.com
By Steve Baker
Daisy and Buster in a mock dog fight.