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Crystal pup licking Grace1

Crystal, a Tuffy pup, licking Grace's face through the fence. Very cute and not a dog fight.

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Owners Corner

How to break up a dog fight

We do not condon organized and illegal dog fighting. What we are writing about here is a dog fight amongst kennel mates or the day you are walking your dog on a leash and someone else's loose dog attacks your dog.

In most cases there are just two types of dog fights:

  1. Regular dogs yapping at each other.
  2. Terrier types, especially the bull breeds.
A Stafford and Amstaff faced-off.

A Stafford and American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) being faced-off; meaning they are allowed to react to each other but are not fighting, being trained to fight or allowed to fight. Facing-off is something that used to be done all the time at dog shows mainly with terrier breeds to show their "spark." This photo also shows the relative size difference between the Stafford on our left and the larger Amstaff on the right.

In our experience, a near by water hose worked once to get one bitch to let go of another, just long enough to seperate them without to much damage.

The other two times it was the old "thumb up the bum" technique. I suppose you don't have to use the thumb, any digit will do.

Below are some links to other recommended methods. But first and foremost try not to panic. Hopefully you have someone else there to help, get one dog tied off to something if you can, and use a breaking stick or the "up the bum" trick. Trying to choke them with there collars is not a reliable way to stop a fight. Don't beat, punch or kick the dogs. That will not work. Never try to put your hands in or near their mouths. Get their rear legs off the ground and even shove their faces into each other so one or the other needs to take a break for air or is going for a better hold. Be ready to remove one dog from the other. Do not rip them apart and do not panic.

Many of the articles about breaking up a dog fight mention using a break stick (breaking stick). Check out these web pages on how to use the breaking stick and how to purchase or make your own. These articles turn out to be "how to break up a dog fight" articles.

Where to buy a break stick? Search Amazon for K-9 Break Stick.

The article below is from, but the website isn't there anymore but you can read it below.

This is what this web site calls a "Polite Stick" but you get the idea.

Be Polite Break Stick

A Break-Stick or as we like to refer to them a "Polite Stick" is an efficient tool that can be used to "break" the bite of a tenacious, determined Pit Bull.

Pit Bulls have a great love for people, are affectionate and intelligent. They may live amicably among other animals for their entire lives and never experience a fight. However any dog of any breed can get into a fight. Unintentional, accidental dog fights do happen. Even the most well behaved, friendly, docile dog could find itself in a fight. Dog fights are scary events, many people think it will never happen and many times it doesn't, but it only takes one time for it to be a disaster and even scarier than fights is not being able to break them up.

A Pit Bulls instinct is to bite and hold which is very typical of terrier breeds. Pit Bulls have been bred for decades to ignore pain, even though they do feel it. Pit Bulls do not have any special locking jaw, their jaw is the same as any other dog, but what they do have is an enormous amount of determination and tenacity, the true nature of a terrier. "Pit Bull" is not an official breed of dog it is a generic slang term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and any mixes there of.

Most dog breeds bite erratically and blindly - snapping, biting and releasing. Pit Bulls tend to bite and hold when fighting. If a dog is biting and releasing a break-stick will not be of any use, but if a dog has a grip on and won’t let go a break-stick can facilitate a break. A break-stick helps give you the leverage to open a determined dogs jaw. (For this reason and for your own safety you should not use a break stick on any other breed of dog).

With Pit Bull breeds, the break stick is one of the quickest and safest ways to break up a fight. Keep calm, straddle your dog, grab the collar with one hand, and insert the break stick in the opening behind the molars and twist. The leverage will cause them to adjust their bite onto the stick allowing you to pull them away so that you can regain control. This is of course much easier with two people, but one person can accomplish this by tying one of the dogs to a stable object if need be.

The first step to any good dog owner is to understand the breed, know the breeds history and the characteristics of the breed. Responsible owners must be vigilant to do what they can to prevent any fights before they start, but they should also be prepared and capable of breaking up an accidental fight, should one happen and to be able to do it as quickly as possible. Any time a Pit Bull gets into a fight, even if started by another dog the Pit Bull will be blamed for it.

Copyright Pit Bull Hill 2012- All Rights Reserved

Every Stafford owner should have knowledge of the breed and the problems that can arise. Be prepared and have leads, tie offs, break sticks, and remember to not panic.