What To Do When A Dog Attacks Your Dog?
[Don't worry, we've got you]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Dog fights are scary occurrences, no matter who’s dog started it. Breaking up the fight is difficult, especially when owners can sometimes end up bitten too. 

No one wants to deal with a dog fight; however, it’s something any owner has to be prepared for. 

Here are the best ways to intervene and stop a dog fight, along with how to navigate the aftermath. 

How To Stop The Fight

When you own a dog, there is a lot of information to remember, but one of the most important things is to know how to stop a dog attack. No one wants to think of this situation, but knowing how to secure a good outcome for both dogs involved is key. 

It’s also important to remember your own personal safety during a dog fight. Our instincts as humans tell us to jump in between the action to break it up; however you won’t be able to help your dog if you are bitten or injured. 


If you have a small dog, try to pick them up and shield them with your arms while turning to one side. Avoid eye contact while doing so, and make sure to stay calm. This will only work if you can safely pick up your small dog without getting bitten. 

Staying calm and assertive is key in these situations; making a scene while your dog is being attacked is the most counterproductive move. 

If your dog is larger, or in a case that your smaller dog is being held by a larger dog, you will need to take extra steps. Don’t kick the attacking dog or grab the dog by the collar or scruff, as the pain will escalate the situation and cause the dog to bite even harder. 

Experts suggest it’s safer to grab the rear legs of the dog rather than the collar, allowing you to pull them away from the fight. When dogs are engaged in a fight, they won’t be paying close attention to their legs. They will also be riled up enough to bite a human out of defense. Grabbing their rear legs will keep your arms and legs safe from bites. 

Securing a dog’s back legs is an effective method if a second person is on hand to grab the other dog’s legs. Though one dog is the aggressor, dog fights usually escalate to a point where both dogs will need to be separated. Keep holding the hind legs and backing away until the dogs can be contained. 

Sometimes twisting the collar and applying the right amount of pressure can work to separate a dog fight; however, this method may need confidence and a steady grip. 

If you aren’t physically able to break up a dog fight, or if getting involved would get you injured, it can be a tough decision to make. It’s advised that you don’t let a dog fight play out, and you should try to step in. In this case, your safest option could be to call for help. 

In a milder fight, a loud noise, such as an air horn, can startle the dogs involved. This will give you a chance to intervene and separate them. You can also try spraying a hose or throwing water on the dogs to surprise them. Milder dog fights will still result in a lot of noise, but there will be less chance of injury to the dogs involved. 

What To Do After Separating The Dogs?

It’s important to check each dog for injuries as soon as they are separated for the fight. This is to check if immediate veterinary attention is needed; your dog’s health must be assessed. 

It may seem silly but check your dog again 10-20 minutes after the fight. Some wounds won’t start bleeding straight away, so frequent checks will help you determine any injuries. 

Also, your dog may start showing signs of pain as they calm down and the adrenaline drops. This is similar to how humans react after fights or injuries; sometimes, we won’t notice our pain at the moment when we are stressed. 

If your dog was attacked, it’s important to get the other dog owner’s information in case you need to contact them in the future about medical bills or to file a report. 

Should I Report The Attack?

In most cases, it is advisable to report the attack. This is important in cases where the owner of the dog was being negligent, or any serious harm was caused. Accidents do happen, but a responsible owner will take precautions so that all risk is minimized. 

If a dog bite is reported, statements are taken by both parties and sometimes witnesses. This gives local authorities an accurate view of what happened. After this, local animal control (or similar authority) will be responsible for determining if a dog’s behavior escalated to a serious level. 

When dog bites are reported, they serve as a warning to the dog’s owner that they need to take more steps to control their dogs’ behavior to keep everyone safe. If you go to court over medical bills, having a police report will help provide evidence in your case.


  • Stay calm and be assertive.
  • Don’t put yourself at high risk or kick the dogs.
  • Try to grab the rear legs or twist the collar.
  • Call for help if you need it.
  • Make loud noises.
  • Check your dog and make sure to exchange insurance information.


What To Do When Your Dog Attacks

Dog fights are unpleasant, but if your dog attacks another unprovoked, it can feel even worse. 

Remember that dog aggression doesn’t make your dog a bad dog. Dog aggression can be a combination of upbringing, genetics, and environment – all dogs have the potential to bite whether we like it or not. 

That being said, it’s important to recognize when your dog isn’t social with other dogs. If you observe your pup well, you can assess and take appropriate steps to keep other dogs safe. 

If your dog has the potential to attack other dogs, this puts them in danger of injuries and even death. The outcome can be fatal for your dog, too, if legal action is taken. If you know your dog can be aggressive to others, there are management steps to take. 

Muzzles often have negative associations; however, they can be a great option for keeping your dog and others safe. If you are considering a muzzle for your dog, the best type would be the basket-type muzzle. This allows your god to open their mouth to take treats, pant, and drink, all while preventing them from biting. 

You should never use a muzzle that completely closes your dog’s mouth. The only times one of these should be used is at the groomers for a veterinary clinic. 

When dogs can’t open their mouths, they are at risk of serious health problems. To avoid this, a well-fitted basket muzzle is the best option to keep your dog safe.

Unprovoked aggressive behavior can be scary, but some signs could lead up to an attack. Watch your dog’s tail and body language to gauge their state of mind. Another good option is to consult a behaviorist to learn more about your dog. 

Are Dogs Put Down For Attacking?

This scenario is unthinkable for most owners, but yes, sometimes a dog may be put down after a dog fight. 

This only happens when the dog owner was extremely negligent and knew their dog was aggressive yet allowed an attack to happen. In many areas, the dog will be listed as dangerous after the incident occurs. Owners with listed dogs usually have requirements for how they need to manage their dogs to avoid potential future incidents.

If a dog listed as dangerous ends up in another dog fight, the response from the legal system or government will push for a harder consequence. This can sadly be euthanasia. 

Courts will take into account the severity of the dog fight; they won’t issue a dog to be put down over a few small bites. However, a fight that causes the death of another dog will have harsher punishment. 

As a dog owner, it’s crucial to be responsible and manage your dog’s behavior. This can be done by consulting an expert behaviorist and by wearing a muzzle.

What To Do When An Unleashed Dog Attacks A Leashed Dog

Local leash laws are another consideration in the legal outcome of a dog fight. If one owner has been irresponsible and not followed local leash laws, the courts will take this into account.

Often, it doesn’t matter if their leash broke if they escaped out of a door, or you were purposefully letting them run off-leash. As you can take other efforts to contain your dog, such as training your dog or carrying a second leash, it can still be determined as negligence even if it was an accident. 

To minimize risk, follow local leash laws and only let your pup off-leash when it is safe to do so. You can also consider other measures such as a second leash or an extra door barrier since repeated incidents will not be looked at favorably. Some even carry an air horn or pepper spray to deter any potential dog fights; this is a great way to minimize risk if you know your dog can be aggressive. 

My Dog Was Attacked; What Do I Do?

Every country, state, or city has its local laws; it’s difficult to provide a one-fits-all answer to this question. Always consult a local lawyer who understands the legalities of dog bites so that you have a professional navigating the local laws.

Some general crossovers apply to many places, though. In most places, if you are up to date on vaccinations, your dog is registered, and you follow leash laws, you will not be found liable for a dog attack that your dog did not provoke. 

Dog fights happen quickly with little warning if one dog is off-leash; this is why it is so important to follow local leash laws. If your dog needs veterinary attention after being bitten, it’s possible in some cases to get the owner of the attacking dog to pay the bills. 

Consult a lawyer if you are thinking of suing for medical bills; since court costs and other costs, it may not be wise to spend money in court as it may risk the loss of money that could go towards your vet bills. 

If a dog attack leads to the unthinkable scenario of death, a settlement is usually reached for the price of your dog. Money will not replace what dogs mean to us, but covering the cost of your pet is the route the courts take to handle these cases. 

My Dog Bit Another Dog In Defense

When attacked, most dogs will fight back, and this could lead to your dog biting another in defense. If this happens, you are often not held liable as your dog did not provoke the fight. 

Other factors will be considered, though, these are:

  • If the owners were following local laws 
  • If either dog has been in previous fights


If the bite is out of defense, this can be looked over. However, like human fights, if the dog goes too far and continues to harm the other dog even after the fight stops, this may be investigated. 

The Takeaway

Though dog fights are a horrible situation, any dog owner should be aware of the risks and know the procedure.

Knowing your dog and its behavior is key to keeping your dog and others safe when out and about.