Boarding Kennels

Handling a Dog fight

There are many different situations that people find themselves in where they are either a witness to, or involved in, a dog fight situation. It can be extremely upsetting for everyone involved, so it is important to know how to handle this dangerous situation.

When can it happen?

Dog fights can happen anywhere that dogs are being social. Off leash dog parks are one of the most obvious environments for this risk to be present, but it can also happen on the street when you are walking your dog, in the reception of a vet surgery or pet resort, or any shop that allows dogs to attend with owners. Many families even report fights in their own home between family dogs, often triggered by food aggression or guarding of resources and toys.

Be prepared

One of the best things any dog owner or handler can do it look for the signs and be ready. If you are in control of a dog and there are other dogs in the proximity, be watchful. Look for early signs of threatening behavior, intervene early and separate them before a fight breaks out wherever possible.

Do whatever it takes to get help if a situation begins to escalate. Alert the other dog’s owner, or if they are not present, call for help so that others around you are aware. Use distraction if possible (place your dog on a leash, walk away, move to a different area, splash water from your water bottle on them, anything you can think of to distract them from each other).

Be safe

The risks of bites to human hands and arms are considerable during an attempt to break up a dog fight. If you are even in this situation, try to find any object that you can use to push between the dogs or use as a distraction to them. It will very much depend on where this occurs, and sometimes there is no option but to use your physical body to break them apart.

Be proactive

Dog fights are best avoided by introducing good socialisation training as early as possible to young dogs, and practicing good etiquette whenever you are in social dog groups or parks. While not all situations can be avoided or prepared for, having in your mind an exit plan and a strategy for physically handling an attack can help you work through it quickly at the time.

 Provided by Australian Pet Care Association (APCA) – Become a member with us at or contact us anytime by emailing