Some dogs are genetically predisposed to be very protective or territorial, which can lead to dog fights and attacks. Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and some smaller breeds, including Dachshunds and Jack Russells, are known to be very alert and can be provoked to start a fight with another dog. While not all dogs are aggressive and you should not automatically expect a dog to attack your dog (or your dog to attack others, if they are normally docile), you never know what these animals may communicate to one another to start a quarrel. A dog attack can be frightening to witness, especially if your dog is part of the attack, and you may want to react negatively to try to stop the fight. Before you step into a canine brawl, know what you should do to keep everyone safe. Here are 3 things you should do if you witness a dog attack.
Use a stern voice
If you can safely gain access to one of the dogs in the fight, use a stern voice to emit a sharp grunt while reaching behind the neck and throat to pull the skin back. This makes the dog let go of the other animal's flesh, causing a short pause in the fight. Use your voice to again sternly shout a sharp grunt to keep the dogs from resuming the fight. This technique is best if you know the dogs in the fight, and take care to not pull upwards, which can be interpreted as aggression and actually make things worse.
Shouting and running around can actually encourage a dog fight rather than make it stop. Hysterics are often interpreted as encouragement which can make a smaller fight explode into pure aggression. Stay calm and approach the fight slowly, using low, loud grunts or deep-throated shouts to grab the attention of the dogs in the fight. Approach the attack with a large stick or pepper spray for your own protection should the fight escalate and include you.
Get the feet
If there is another person nearby who can assist in breaking up the dog fight, you're in luck. Get behind either dog and have you and the other person give their back legs a firm pull at the same time. Unbalanced and startled, the dogs will quit fighting long enough for you to be able to restrain them in a bear hug around their necks (not tight enough to choke but enough to hold them firmly) and keep them away from one another. Again, this method is best used on dogs you know well so you can avoid getting bitten, but can be used on dogs you don't know confidently when done with another person.