Dog Bite Liability: Breaking up a Dogfight
Recently, we received a claim at F.I.D.O regarding a dog bite that resulted from a house guest breaking up a dogfight. Unfortunately, this is a rather common way for people to get bit. They sometimes mistakenly believe that their own dog, or even a friend’s dog, will not bite them. Quite often though, a bite due to a human interference is not intentional at all. We mentioned in a post we wrote back in October about preventing dogfights that dogs who are aggressively engaged with another are in a heightened state of excitement during the fight, and cannot recognize the difference between a person’s arm or the other dog’s leg.
There are many theories out there on how to correctly break up a dogfight, and opinions on whether or not you should even try. One of the most common pieces of advice though, is to always remain calm if a dogfight is occurring. Dogs can and will pick up on human emotion and it can actually cause more harm than good if you were to act out of anger or fear. Another common piece of advice is to never grab either of the dog’s collars. Although this is usually your first instinct, the dog may display what’s called redirected agression, and bite. This is true even for dogs who have no history of biting another person.
One of the methods many canine experts suggest to break up a dogfight is startling the dogs, or using a barrier. You can make a sudden noise by banging together two metal bowls, or blasting an air horn. Another commonly suggested method is to spray a hose at the dogs. Other owners of multiple dogs keep citronella spray available, should a fight occur between their dogs. A barrier may also work. Try putting something between the two dogs that are fighting, such as a flat object like plywood. This is usually effective because it separates the dogs and also blocks their view of each other.
It’s never a good idea to try to physically separate the dogs yourself, especially if you are inexperienced with aggressive dogs. However, experts say that if you feel it’s absolutely necessary, the recommended method is to approach one of the dogs from behind, and grab their back legs just under the hips, and lift the dog up like you would a wheelbarrow, backing up and turning the dog around. Once the fight is stopped, it’s imperative to immediately separate the dogs, without giving them another chance to fight. If the dogs are friends and the fight was minor, keep them apart until they are both calm and you’ve removed anything that may have triggered the fight (i.e. food, toys, treats).
The most important thing to remember about dog bites is that they can occur even if your dog has no history of aggression. A dog bite can happen out of fear, feeling threatened, or even over exuberant playfulness. A Dog Bite Liability Insurance Policy from the Federation of Insured Dog Owners (F.I.D.O) will financially protect you should a human injury be caused by your dog, even if it’s an accident. Please contact us today to learn more at (855) 534-6495.