Have you ever had to break up a fight between two dogs? How'd you do it, and how did it work out for you? Do you have a battle plan in place, or do you just wing it as the case dictates?
I've heard several stories over the years about people getting bit trying to break up a fight between two otherwise friendly dogs -- dogs you'd never think had the capacity to bite a human. In fact, I've been bit a time or two doing the same.
I ask because twice in the last month I've had to step in between warring dogs. The first was on a leashed walk to the park when a neighbor dog jumped its fence and came charging at my three. I responded by sticking my foot out between them. It was an instinctual reaction based mostly on the practicality of the situation. I had three leashes in my hands.
It worked, but the charging dog looked none too pleased, and I was afraid for a second he was going to continue his charge -- this time at me. Fortunately, it backed off.
I used the same technique last weekend when my dog, Eddie, got into it with another small dog at our weekly dog meetup. I'd made the mistake of throwing a Frisbee for Eddie when I know he's toy possessive. Another dog came up to take it, and Eddie snarled at him. The other dog didn't back away.
I put the Frisbee away, but the hard feelings remained. Shortly afterward, both dogs were snapping at each other. Not wanting to put my exposed arms or hands into the fray, I stuck my foot out between the combatants.
Again, it worked. The dogs stopped fighting and I separated them and allowed them to cool off.
In retrospect, I wonder how it looked to others at the meetup. Here's this Dog Blog guy who helped form the meetup doing what looks like kicking the dogs! In truth, I wasn't trying to make contact. I was merely trying to put my foot and leg between the dogs. But if I were the other dog owner, I would at least be concerned.
Is there another way to handle it, something that gets immediate results without making it look like you're abusing dogs?