In light of the recent dog attack on a popular O‘ahu trail, I wanted to put together some tips if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation. For details of the incident you can view the article on Hawaii News NOW.
Unfortunately, there is not a sure-fire way to break up a dog fight however here are some tips that can help:
- First and foremost, remain calm and assertive the best that you can.
- Use the wheelbarrow method. This is where you grab the back legs of the dogs out and away from the fight. Try putting as much distance between the dogs as possible. This quickly startles the dog and more than likely stops the fight.
- Use a sound deterrent such as The Pet Corrector. I find The Pet Corrector at local pet stores. If you live in Hawaii like I do, unfortunately Amazon does not ship this product out here. If you are hiking, you could also carry a small blow horn with you. The moment the dogs pull away from each other, put as much distance as you can between the dogs to prevent them from another attack.
- If you have a towel or blanket nearby, you can toss the towel over the dogs as a sight deterrent. The moment they stop due to them being startled that the lights are out, pull the dogs away using the wheelbarrow method.
- If you see a dog that you are unsure about, you can put your dog behind you, make yourself big by lifting your arms up, and shout a loud firm ‘GO AWAY’. Think of making yourself a big scary monster.
- Another way to make yourself look bigger and become a visual deterrent is by carrying an umbrella with you. If a dog that you are uncertain of is approaching, pop open the umbrella and shout a loud firm ‘GO AWAY’.
- Get your dog to safety before talking to the aggressive dogs’ owners. This will help to prevent the dogs from fighting again.
- Go against your instincts of reaching in and grabbing your dogs’ collar. When dogs are in a high state of arousal, they will bite anything that is in their way.
You can prevent a dog fight from even starting by learning to read your dog and others body language. Signs of aggression include:
- Freeze – dog is frozen in one position, ears may be back and tucked, hair on the back standing up straight.
- Tail may be tucked, straight up, or flickering.
- Whale eye- can see large amounts of the white in the dog’s eye.
- Exaggerated yawn or lip licking
If you see any of these signs remove you and your dog from this situation quickly. Do not wait to see what might happen.
If you have an aggressive dog, please seek professional help. Do not bring your dog to a dog park or social situation where you hope to socialize your dog. When walking your dog, do so at off times where others are not walking their dogs. You can also train your dog to wear a basket muzzle to ensure everyone’s safety.