For the most part, my family and I enjoyed a fun and relaxing Christmas weekend. Food was delicious, catching up with family and friends was a real treat, and Santa (embodied by family) was very generous.
However, Christmas dinner came to a screeching halt just before dessert - one of our dogs (Lucy) got into a fight with one of my parents' dogs (Goldie). A serious fight. They've been friends and "cousins" for years and love playing with each other. The rare tizzy has been broken up with a stern word or, at most, a nudge to the ribs with one's shin.
But this was different. It was scary.
Lucy was fetching a ball while Goldie was goading her into playful wrestling. It appears Lucy got territorial about the ball and started the fight. I'll be honest - it was one of the longest, dreadful moments of my life. Snarling, barking, squealing - they went after each other's necks, then legs, then faces. They literally latched on to each others' faces and I thought they were each going to lose an eye. There was blood all over their faces, necks, chests, legs. My husband jumped to the rescue - first shouting, then a shin kick, then a bigger kick to each dog. Then grabbing by the scruff/collar, then punching and kicking both dogs. It was a horrible sight - watching dogs hurt each other and get hurt by their loving Rick. But neither would let go. I grabbed the other dog - one hand on the scruff/collar, the other around the torso - both dogs were in mine and rick's arms, but we could not get them to detach from each others' faces. Someone from the party shouted "grab 'em by the groins!" so I reached down, but before I could grab down there, the dogs let each other go. We separated them and made them sit to assess the damage.
|Goldie on the left, Lucy on the right.|
Cute and snuggly 99.9999% of the time.
|Lucy on the ground (Levi on the chair) to show Lucy's size.|
Having never witnessed, let alone intervene, in a dog fight this serious, we came away realizing that we needed to do some homework on this issue.
So, as a public service announcement, allow me to share some of my research on how to deal with a dog fight.
First of all, I found a great video from Leerburg.com dog training demonstrating how to safely break up a dog fight. Click here to go to the YouTube video (it's not letting me embed for some reason). You can also click here for the written article on their website. Here's the cliff notes:
- If you have two people, each person approach a dog from the rear, and grab their back thighs, lifting their rear legs off the ground. It may take a moment, but this will force them to let go as they have no forward purchase/support. Then, in "wheelbarrow" stance, move backwards and also circle around - this prevents them from sharply turning their body to bite you - it forces them to keep their front legs moving, or else fall on their face. You can do this move even if one dog is on its back: drag them around.
- If you are by yourself, get a leash. Get behind the dog, wrap around their torso and loop through the handle (or use a snap if you have the "police" leash), so that there is a "collar" around their rear loin. Then lift the dog by the back legs, walk backwards, and then secure the end of the leash to a post/door/tree/something immovable. Then go around to the other dog, lift by hind legs, and move backwards and circle.
Some other thoughts from the internet:
- Spray with high-power water hose nozzle. May shock them out of the fight.
- A bucket of cold water. Same idea.
- Use a CO2 fire extinguisher and blow them down. May shock them out of the fight, and also blowing on their faces will impede breathing oxygen and force them to separate.
- Throw a blanket on them. May shock and "quiet" the dogs, but may not.
- Citrontella spray or pepper spray. In their faces. Several websites mention this as it keeps the human a few feet away, but that sounds like a very last resort to me.
Last but not least, do not put your hands anywhere near their faces or necks. Even though that's where their collars are. Sounds like common sense, but when you're witnessing your beloved pooch get eaten alive, you're first instinct might be to get in there and grab what you can! That's what we did - and we've got hundreds of dollars in medical bills to thank for it!