It is a spectacular day in McKinney and Pet Sitter Leah is looking forward to her walk with Fournette, a black Lab mix named after Leonard Fournette, a running back from LSU. Fournette’s harness is on, he is leashed up, and off the duo goes. They don’t make it very far down the block before an unleashed pup darts out of a garage and heads straight for Fournette. A fight begins. Both dogs are standing on their hind legs, paws up, “going for each other.”

Our Maggie, a mini-Schnauzer, was staked out in our front yard as we trimmed trees. From two houses down, a dog bolted out the front door, immediately running at Maggie, and pinned her down on the ground by her throat. A one-sided dog fight began. Maggie was helpless.

Dog fights can happen when pet parents, with great intentions, schedule “play dates.” Rachelle Yates, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and owner of K9 Revolution, reminds us to know our dog’s “triggers.” Rachelle says, “if your pup does not do well around other dogs who are high energy or ‘pushy’, then do not set up a play date with those dogs. Doing so sets your pup up for failure and a potential dog fight.” 
What do you do? How do you break up a dog fight?
Just know this—if you put yourself between fighting dogs, you will most likely be bitten.

1.    Stay calm and take a deep breath. Dogs feed off our energy.
2.    Startle the dogs to distract them. Yell, clap your hands, whistle. DO NOT grab a dog by the collar. The pup could whip her head around and bite you. 
3.    Use water. If you have time, grab a water hose, or that bottle of water you are carrying. Spray the attacking dog. 
4.    Use a barrier to split up fighting pups. A garbage can lid, a big stick, a piece of plywood…DO NOT USE YOUR LEG to break up a dog fight.
5.    Throw something over one of the pups…a jacket, a blanket. If the pup cannot see or breathe, he will stop attacking.
6.    Use the “wheelbarrow” method. Hopefully, the other dog’s owner is on scene. Both of you grab your dog’s hind legs and pull them apart. If you are the only human, then you pull up the hind legs of the instigator. 
7.    Carry SprayShield with you. Amazon carries it for under $12. It is a citronella-based spray and does not harm pups, or humans.