How to avoid a dog fight -

How to avoid a dog fight

Passing an unfamiliar dog on the street can turn a routine walk into an ugly dog fight in the blink of an eye, but there are some things you can do to be better prepared for an unpredictable encounter.

The best way to avoid a showdown is to teach your dog to ignore all the other dogs being walked. 

Start by having a friend with a dog that is familiar to your dog help you practice. In an open space, walk the dogs toward each other.  If they engage one another, back up and start over. Repeat this process until the dogs can pass each other without interruption. Then, move on to a sidewalk and practice there until you are confident in your ability to control your dog.

Always be cautious when an unfamiliar dog is approaching. You can never predict that dogs's temperament. And you have no idea if the person walking the dog can control him if he does become aggressive.

Usually when a strange dog is approaching, most people wrap the leash around their hand to lessen the slack. It seems like a way to get a better grip on your dog if something goes wrong -- but Pet Pro Luciano Aguilar says it's actually signaling to your dog to get ready to fight.

Instead, as the unfamiliar dog approaches, ask the owner if their dog is friendly. If they say "No," keep walking. Your dog should ignore the other dog like he did in his practice.

If the answer is "Yes," and you want to introduce your dog, start by letting the dogs sniff each other. Keep the interaction brief, pulling the dogs apart and rewarding them with praise for good behavior. Then repeat.

If the interaction isn't a positive one and the dogs start to fight, pull the dog out by his leash. As a last resort, you can rescue your dog from a fight by pulling him out by his hind legs, like walking backwards with a wheelbarrow.

Preventing a showdown starts with you. And it's always better to be safe than sorry. If you encounter a strange dog in passing, it's best to keep walking.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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