This isn’t an easy topic to address because as dog owners we never want to believe our obedient furry family member would ever get in a situation where this might happen; however, the reality is dog fights do occur in the best of situations.
This afternoon while, I was playing with our males a fight broke out between two of our 3 males (intact). I felt the energy was a bit anxious to start but it’s not uncommon for males that are intact to want to release some of this energy; normally it is expelled by running, playing ball, jumping etc., but not today. I had walked two of our 3 males on a tandem leash, and I knew the tension was a bit high but usually it’s not an issue. After play time I went to put the lead on one of the dogs, and I then attached the lead to the other male. Once they were both leashed together one of the males decided he needed to attack the other dog. The 3rd male is young and was wanting to “protect” his friend, luckily I had a helper, and I yelled for her to remove the younger dog and this happened without issue. This situation was different for me since they were tied together. I got a walking stick and I smacked it between the two dogs to get their attention, and the dog that instigated the situation laid down and looked up at me the other dog still wanted to fight but I again laid the cane between he and the other male. I then stepped between the two males, and I quickly released the instigator from the tandem lead (never taking my eyes off the other dog), and let him loose but this wasn’t the end. I led the other male by one half of the tandem lead and I made sure they were both calm, before I felt they should walk back to the kennels. This took a while but was necessary so they could put their focus back on me. I needed them both to be quiet, seated, and/or laying down. Once I felt confident things were calmer; I did reattach the tandem lead to the other dog and kept the walking cane between the two dogs. However, I watched their body language and my helper stayed a few feet in front of me so as not to make the dogs feel uncomfortable or possibly raise their anxiety. This was also to help me if things got out of control again.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have lost control, please understand you haven’t done anything wrong to encourage this behavior or I hope you haven't, and the best thing to do, if your dog is fighting with a strange dog is unfortunately let it play out, especially if the other dog is larger, strange/unknown dog, and if the owners are not present, and you are alone. However, if this happens in a public setting yell for help, and I have no doubt someone will come to your aid.
**I won't offer any advice on how to stop a dog fight because most likely it will result in you getting severely harmed.**
This situation that I experienced left me disappointed with myself. I ignored the signs and as a professional, I shouldn’t have. Going forward, I will never again assume that just because this has never happened under my watch, doesn’t mean it won’t. Often, I share happy stories with you all but I felt I needed to share the sordid too. I’m human too, and I learned a valuable lesson today. Don’t ignore body language.