I am Carly, I work on American Partnership for Pet association and I have spent my life around dogs. It is important to know what dogs are doing with regards to behavior, especially aggression. If only people took the time to try and understand how dogs worked society would greatly benefit.
When you try to stop the dogfighting, the dog often becomes even more “aggressive.” In this way, play can turn into aggression fairly quickly. Research on the brain has shown that excited play has exactly the same chemistry as extreme anger. This allows a play behavior to switch quickly into aggression. And, once the dog has become aggressive a few times, the switch is much easier.
Instead, our major concern is just getting the dogs apart and to do so without getting bitten. The number one way to avoid being bitten is to avoid trying to grab the head or neck area. Frequently while trying to grab the front end or getting in the between the dogs, the humans accidentally get bitten. Or in the heat of the moment, a dog actually turns and redirects aggression to the person pulling them away. The safest method to get the dogs apart is to grab them by the rear end and quickly pull them away. In other cases, because of your positioning in relation to the dog or because they are moving around too quickly, you may need to shove one away by placing your foot on their rib cage and pushing. This is safer than bending over and trying to push with your hands. It may also allow you to use your hands to grasp the other dog if you don’t have someone else to help.
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Don’t yell at the other dog or make any threatening moves. Keep your pet close to you – call him if he is not by your side. Ideally, you must have a well-trained dog with a basic understanding of most common commands like “come” and “stay”, which will help to avoid confrontation. Some behaviorists advise against picking your dog up since that can encourage the stranger animal to leap at you and potentially hurt you as well.
If fights are becoming more frequent, a consultation with a veterinary behaviorist may be in order. Speak with your family veterinarian about options for a referral to a specialist. Remember that with basic obedience training, dogs learn to listen to owners better, and while aggression is building prior to a fight, the owner may be able to stop it by giving alternate commands, changing the dog’s focus. Behavior training takes commitment and time and should always be tailored to each individual family and pet.