This post is part 3 of a 3-part series on dog park safety.
In this final post in the series, we'll show you what to do if the worst should happen and your dog becomes involved in a fight at the dog park.
Preventing a Dog Fight
In the last post we talked about the importance of recognizing aggressive behavior between dogs. Removing your dog from the park immediately after spotting these signs is the best way to prevent a fight from breaking out.
Being aware of triggers for dog fights can also help you minimize the risk of your dog becoming involved in a fight. Food and toys are two common triggers for fights as they can cause dogs to become aggressive when guarding them.
The simplest solution to this problem is to leave toys and treats at home. Your dog will get plenty of stimulation from being around other dogs in the park. And if you feed him before heading out for the day there's no need to give him food at the dog park.
Methods for Breaking up a Dog Fight
If preventing a fight is unavoidable, focus on breaking up the fight in the safest way possible. In this section of the post we'll share some methods that will minimize the risk of injury for all involved.
It's easy to panic when a dog fight breaks out but remaining calm will help you deal with the situation effectively. Try to keep a clear head and decide on your best course of action.
Distract the Dogs
Distraction can be a good way to break up a dog fight. Banging on a metal trashcan, yelling, or whistling loudly is often enough to startle the dogs and defuse the situation.
If you're carrying a water bottle, try throwing water over the dogs. This can surprise them and distract them enough to divert their attention away from the fight.
Some dogs will stop fighting if they can't see the other dog, so try throwing a jacket or other item of clothing over them to break their focus and help end the fight.
Place a Barrier Between the Dogs
If distracting the dogs fails to break up the fight, it's time to attempt to physically separate them.
First, a word of caution, never get in the middle of two fighting dogs or put your hands anywhere near their mouths. Doing so will put you in direct danger of being bitten.
It's far safer to place a barrier between the dogs to separate them. A large stick, umbrella, trashcan lid, or cane can be used for this purpose.
Use the Wheelbarrow Method
Our final tip for breaking up a dog fight should only be used as a last resort when all other methods have failed.
The wheelbarrow method requires two people. Each person should grab the hind legs of one of the fighting dogs, lift them off the ground like a wheelbarrow, and walk backwards to pull them apart.
When used correctly, this method will raise the back legs of the dogs far enough off the ground to force them to stand on their front legs. This will restrict the movements of both dogs and make it difficult for them to fight.
Once the dogs are separated, move them as far away from each other as possible to prevent the fight from restarting. If your car is nearby it's a good idea to secure your dog inside.
We hope you enjoyed our 3-part series on dog park safety, and we wish you a safe and enjoyable trip to the dog park!
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