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Dog Fights

Dog Fights

More emails and comments on dog fights.

How to Break up a Dog Fight Without Getting Hurt

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If you have come to this page more than likely you have issues with aggressive dogs. A number of pages on my web site (including this one) contain emails about dog fights. I have placed my personal comments under many of these emails.

In addition we offer training resources. I have produced DVD titled:

DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS This DVD demonstrates how to break up a dog fight if you are alone.

Dog fights are violent, loud and dangerous events. I get emails every day on dog fights. As I wrote this description I got 2 emails. In email the family had two dogs. Their female GSD had just killed their dachshund. In the second email this family's dog had just been in a fight with a neighbors dog and done $1,400 damage.

In the mid 1990's I wrote an article on How to Break Up A Dog Fight - that article is still on my web site. This 52 Minute podcast is an update of that article. The information in the podcast has more details on making the decision of even trying to step in to break up a fight, it discusses many methods used to break up fights and it tells how to break up a fight when you are alone. There is an also extensive section on preventing dogs fights.

Our GSD KILLED our Daschund last night:

Something very terrible happened last night. Our 2 year old Female German Shepherd killed our 4 year old miniature daschund. The GS has always been a aggressive dog but a very good dog. Mellow, and lots of fun. Why would she do this? We are so hurt and don't know what to do. My husband said we MUST get rid of her as she can't be trusted. My 11 year old son got in the middle of this trying to pull the smaller dog away and got bit and had to have stitches. I am going to try find a home for her with no other pets and no children, although she has always been very good to my son. I don't think she would really ever harm him, but at this point I just can't be sure. I would love to keep her, I am so torn. The entire thing is just a sad deal.

Any advice?


Hi Ed,

I enjoy reading your articles on dog training and aggression on your web site. I am having trouble locating a solution to my problem.

Here is my situation:

I have a wife, an 18m old son, and two female dogs(boxer/mix and choc. lab).
The lab has an aggression problem with other dogs when out for walks. The other morning, my wife was walking her with a halti collar (I know you don't recommend it), and a smaller white terrier started approaching her (not on a leash). To make a long story short, the pressure of her pulling released the snap on the halti and she attacked the terrier. The owner of the dog and my wife, separated the two dogs and my wife then attached the leash to her regular nylon color. These people live four houses down from us and when my wife reached our next door neighbors house the terrier had run out toward our lab. Again, the strength of her pulling released the snap on the collar, and they got into again. My take is that we are both responsible for the fight because our lab was not properly trained and because their dog was not on a leash. So therefore, we have decided to pay for half of the medical bills to their dog ($1400).

My first question is can she be trained using the methods you describe for bringing a new dog into the home, when I have a wife, a 18m old son, and another dog in the house?

My second question is am I correct that we should pay half for their medical bills? Seriously, I tried to find an answer on your web site. but since this is on odd situation I couldn't find a direct response.

My wife and I were about to settle on getting rid of her but when I read your articles I felt that I can change her.

Thanks so much for your time posting those articles I now have something to refer to!!


Dog Fight
Photo by Jinn Sabarika


Well, I just have to say thank you for writing and sharing this article. I am sorry to say I found it a day too late, as I sit here writing to you with both hands bandaged. I was trying to save my sheltie from a 90lb. Golden Retriever, who I was fostering. She was a sweet Golden, owner surrendered at 7 yrs. old because she attacked a friend's Lab. She showed no signs of aggression at my home for almost a week, except for fighting back when the other dogs got her for getting too close to their food. Then last night, she was looking at something in the dark and the Sheltie went to investigate, and she full on attacked her. I did everything you said not to do. I tried for the collars, but couldn't get it. Then I tried to grab the Golden and tried to get her to let go. The Golden jumped again and landed on top of me with the Sheltie in a death grip. I reached right in and tried to pry the Golden's mouth off, meanwhile, getting the crap bit out of my hands. I am sure it was my own dog, the sheltie, and she had no idea who she was biting. It was dark and I was out there alone screaming, bleeding, and losing the battle I was trying to stop. My husband heard the screams and came out and saved us. Neither dog had a single puncture wound. They were, however, sore from the beatings that my husband inflicted. He thought both dogs were attacking me! It was a bad experience. So looking for information on dog bites and what to do, I found your article. I have saved it, and will share it with the other fosters in my rescue if you don't mind. Wish I had found it before. Hopefully I will get it to someone else and save them from having the same experience. Thank you very much.

North Carolina

Dog Bite
A dog bite received when the owner tried to break up a dog fight between her own dogs.


I'm from Australia and I came across your site while searching for how to break up dog fights in a safe manner. We have a 14month old male Pit Bull x American Staffy (Tyler) and a 16month old male Boxer x Staffy (Chino). We got both dogs at 8 weeks of age and they have lived and played together happily for nearly 12months with only minor dominance problems and a few small half-hearted fights which end before they really begin. These fights are usually initiated by Tyler - obviously the dominant one. However, in the past two months Tyler has attacked Chino twice and instigated a huge fight each time. Chino tries to get away but Tyler won't let up, so Chino ends up fighting to protect himself. Strangely, both times Chino has done more damage to Tyler than Tyler has done to him. Luckily injuries from both fights have been minor for both dogs, mostly scratches on the head and ears, which is amazing considering the viciousness and loudness of the fights. The evening before the second fight, Chino had injured his leg while playing, tearing the muscle away from the bone. He was therefore limping quite badly and was unable to get away from Tyler's attack. We are concerned that the fighting between the two dogs will get worse and after reading some of the other stories on the site, quite bluntly we don't want to come home to a mutilated or dead dog.

However for the majority of time we have no issues. When separated, for example when walked separately or if one dog is taken to the vet, the dogs pine for each other and are very excited to be reunited. They sleep together at night and through the day, and quite often Tyler sleeps with his head on Chino's body. We have spoken to a couple of vets, who aren't concerned with this behavior, believing it to be a normal occurrence between dogs who are reaching maturity and establishing their position in the pack (family). Chino appears to have been quite accepting of his role as the submissive dog, and is quite content to stand back and wait his turn, allowing Tyler to receive first pats, attention, treats etc.

I'm just curious as to what your opinion is on this, and whether you agree with the vets, or think the issue is more serious. I realize that your answer can't be overly specific due to the limited info supplied in my email, but any advice on training and avoiding fights etc would be appreciated.

Thanks, Mel.


If you don't change the way that you live with these dogs, your problems have not even begun yet. What you are doing is so wrong it borders on dangerous. Either separate these dogs permanently or find a new home for one.

You need to read my articles on Dealing with the Dominant Dog, and Groundwork to Becoming Pack Leader. You should also read the Questions and Answers on Dominance and Aggression. I am confident that you have not done that yet.

I have owned extremely tough dogs for 35 years. There is an excuse for one fight. There is NEVER an excuse for 2.


Mr. Frawley:

Warning: this is a long e-mail with lots of history. I hope you can help me with some advice. We have made up our mind that one of our two dogs must go, so that is settled. What is not settled is which one to keep. I'll give you the background, with the disclaimer that we were totally clueless and did everything wrong. Nearly 5 years ago, we adopted a 10-month old shitsu/terrier mix named "Mollie" from the SPCA. She had already been owned by two different people before we got her, and they warned us that she had some issues, but if we worked with hard with her, she would be a wonderful dog in a year or so, after she got to trust that we would not abandon her. The people who owned her before said they could not train her or potty train her. Other than a few puddles the first few days, we had no trouble potty training her. She had issues with abandonment, though, and would hide whenever she sensed we were going to leave the house. She also would stand on the bed (I know--bad move) and just stare at us, giving little gutteral barks and demanding attention. She was terrified of brooms. She seemed to alternate in her demeanor between being very passive and being aggressive--mostly aggressive for attention. We worked with her and a trainer, and with lots of work (and not letting her sleep on the bed anymore) we were able to break her of some of her strange behaviors. She never was crate-trainable, but all in all, she improved considerably and began to trust us. She walked well, sat, down-stayed, etc. She from the beginning was very sweet, and became sweeter and sweeter. She never barked (in fact we wondered if she had a voice, except for her ability to growl when playing tug of war with a toy--I know, another no-no). There were some bad behaviors that continued--she would sometimes try to force us to pet her or pay attention to her, wanted to be held a lot, would sometimes frantically jump at us or nip at our feet when we came home, etc. But we told ourselves that she had come miles and miles from where she started, and we could not expect her to be a totally normal dog.

Then one morning at 6:00am a frantic woman from down the hall banged on our apartment door. She had just been mugged at her car in the parking lot and needed help. We let her in, and my wife was holding Mollie as the woman told her what happened. My wife's heart began to race, and Mollie sensed her fear, and for the first time ever, began growling at the intruder, even barking a bit. This was the first time Mollie had ever done this. She had never before even barked to go outside, let alone at noises she heard or visitors. Since that morning, every sound she heard, every visitor, every passerby, Mollie has barked at and flung herself against the doors and windows in aggression. We also noticed that Mollie had a tendency to give "corrective" little nips when we would touch her or manipulate her in ways she did not like, and she once nipped lightly at a strange looking old lady who passed by our door just as we were leaving the apartment for a walk. After we had had Mollie a little over 2 years, we adopted a young cat. They hated each other the first two days, but then became friends who played and even sometimes slept together.

Then we moved to a single family home with a yard. Mollie took to it well, and calmed down a bit. She still barked at passersby and visitors, and still had the jumping and nipping issues, but seemed happier and calmer. So, we decided to get a second dog. The doctors had told us we could not have children, so our family would be animals! In the summer of 2003, we brought home a puppy named "Lucy". Lucy's mom is a big short haired hound dog, but she looks like a terrier mix with black poodle fur, so not sure what her dad was--maybe a mini poodle or something? Lucy grew up to be a 25 pounder (Mollie is 16 pounds) and much better behaved than Mollie, because we had her from a young age and were able to work on her. She does not demand attention, shows no aggression towards us or any visitors, minds well, is crate trained, etc. We made very few mistakes raising her, but we made all sorts of mistakes introducing her to Mollie. When Lucy was a pup we would scold Mollie heartily whenever she would attempt to correct Lucy with corrective bites or growls. We thought we were doing the right thing, but realized later that Mollie was trying to assert her dominance over Lucy. Because we scared Mollie so much yelling at her when she did this, she became sort of meek/passive-aggressive around Lucy. Then Lucy grew older and bigger than Mollie. Mollie was a daddy's girl but Lucy was a Momma's girl. She loved my wife and hardly noticed me. We started to notice as Lucy grew up that she showed some jealousy. She would stand between Mollie and my wife to keep her from getting attention. She began to also growl at her. She then started getting between her and growling and nipping or biting Mollie if she tried to come up to either of us. Mollie would sometimes go away and hide from her, and other times she would just stand her ground. At around 9 months old, Lucy was doing this very close to Mollie and Mollie would not leave. Her lip curled and she started a growl. Then they both rocketed into a vicious fight at our feet, and it was very hard to get them apart. This was the start of the nightmare. As Lucy got older, we had a few more of these incidents, until one in January of '04 that sent Mollie to the animal hospital for stitches. Every time it was hard to tell who started the fight, but Lucy was certainly the one who could have ended it if we had not intervened by dumping ice buckets on her or spraying her with a hose. We worked with both animals to try to make them mind better and be less distracted, and we got to be able to tell when they were getting in that mode where a fight might erupt and so were able to keep them apart at those times. Lucy got older, calmed down, and the fights ceased. Only occasional nips would occur. All in all, they were best buddies. We sighed with relief, but not complete relief. We could not help but worry--it seemed like they had never really worked out the pecking order. Lucy was certainly an alpha between the two of them, but it did not seem like Mollie had really accepted that. Also, Lucy continued (and still does) to constantly assert her dominance over Mollie--nipping at her to keep her from us, never letting her go through doorways ahead of her, etc.

Then 11 months ago, our baby girl was born (the doctors were wrong!). Neither dog has showed any aggression to her. Mollie tolerates her touching her a bit more than Lucy. Lucy just mainly tries to avoid her, but has shown a bit of an increased interest and less fear lately. If she starts to bother either of them, they just walk away, though I sometimes worry that Mollie may try one of her corrective nips. She has not yet nipped our daughter, but has looked like she was on the verge a couple times. Obviously, we are very careful, always watch them with her and her with them, and minimize contact. The only real change we have noticed is that Mollie sleeps under the bed a lot during the day (she never did that before) and we have started to see some occasional pee stains on the carpet. We have never caught Mollie doing it, but we think she's the one who started it, given her personality and past history. We did catch Lucy peeing a few weeks ago, but we are pretty sure it's because she smells Mollie's spots (but we may be wrong). Obviously with a baby in the house, neither dog (nor the cat) is getting as much attention as before, but they seem to have adjusted well.

Now we come to the reason for my e-mail. Just yesterday both the dogs were in the back yard and we were inside. I heard every dog in the neighborhood start to bark and whine, and heard Mollie's yelps. I ran outside and saw Lucy on Mollie, pinning her down and repeatedly biting and growling her and shaking her in her jaws. At this point, Mollie was not fighting back--only yelping in pain and trying to get free. I sprayed water on them and Lucy was startled long enough to let Mollie loose. I had to grab Mollie fast, as Lucy, now recovered, was trying to go after her again. I have no idea who started it, but Lucy was determined to end it. Mollie had to have stitches in 4 different places and a drainage tube on her leg to avoid infection in a particularly deep bite. She is re coving in a private room away from Lucy. Lucy has no marks on her other than a slightly reddened eye. This tells us that Mollie was much more passive in this fight than previous fights. In previous fights, while Mollie got more injured, she fought back and gave some teeth to Lucy--more than just self defense.

With a kid in the house we just do not have the time or money to deal with these issues, and are worried for our child's safety should another fight like this break out in front of her. Our first thought was that Lucy should be the one to go--she is the one who is aggressive toward Mollie and hurt her so bad. If she is capable of doing that to Mollie in a fit of rage, what could she do to Sarah? And Mollie didn't even fight back really.

Then we started comparing their behavior with humans. The only bad behaviors Lucy has she learned from Mollie: She barks at strangers if Mollie does, and she jumps up on people sometimes, though not nearly as much as Mollie. She does not growl at people, lets you take a toy away, lets you manipulate her to the point of hurting her without protest, sits and stays real well, etc. Mollie nips, barks at everyone other than us (even at us if she wants attention), jumps up on you, growls if you try to take a toy away, nips your feet and jumps up when you come home, etc. Both listen well and do the sit and down-stay real well. Both are loving and sweet. Both seem to do OK with the baby so far. Further complicating our decision was that when my wife picked up Mollie from the vet, a trainer/behaviorist talked to her about our problem, and said that she thought we should not get rid of Lucy, that Mollie was the one who we needed to work with on training. She said that it takes both dogs to start a fight and that Lucy was dominant and Mollie had not accepted this and was doing something to make Lucy fight with her. She of course thought we should keep both and enroll us/mollie in training with a behaviorist.

We have been down this road, and as hard as it is, we have decided that we cannot handle having two dogs in the house now that we have a baby. The question is, which one is the best bet to keep? Is aggression aggression, or is there a difference between Lucy's deadly aggression towards another dog and Mollie's mild passive aggression (if that's what it is) towards humans? Is it too late for Mollie to learn to be a better behaved dog? Is Lucy the one to keep since she minds so well, or is she a ticking time bomb? I need your advice. Sorry for the long e-mail, but I wanted to give you as much background as possible. Thanks in advance for your help.


P.S. - FYI, both dogs get along well with the cat. Each of them asserts dominance in their own way sometimes, though. Lucy will chase her out of rooms sometimes (seems to be for fun) and Mollie likes to occasionally hump the cat (which I find very odd, since they are all females). Mollie is 5 years old and Lucy is 2.5 years old.


I think that you fall into a category of nice people who, because they don’t understand pack behavior, have failed their dogs. Don’t feel bad there are many, many people who do this.

I could probably write a chapter in a book on what has been done wrong and what should be done. I just don’t have the time. I will provide you with some reading material and you can then make up your own mind.

I recommend that start by going to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

I recommend reading the article I wrote on corrections.

The fact is these dogs are not well trained. If they were you would be able to stop them from jumping up on people – you cant do this so this translates into an untrained dog. If these were my dogs I would be using dog crates for both dogs. The older dog has you conned into thinking you should not put her in a crate. If she could talk I would guarantee that she would opt for the crate over being sent to a new home.

Keep these dogs separated – all the time. Its not difficult. We have 5 dog crates in our home – only two dogs get along and those two are out at one time. In your case only one can be out at one time.

Read the article titled Dealing with Dominant Dogs. You will see a lot of your issues in this article.

Read the article I wrote on Preventing Dog Bites in Children.

You may want to read the article I wrote on GROUND WORK BEFORE OBEDIENCE TRAINING. I guarantee this is what I would be doing with both of these dogs – along with working them on a prong collar and taking them both through my Basic Dog Obedience program. (read the description and what people have said about the tape)

Because of the aggression in the younger dog I would follow that training with a remote training collar – probably an Innotek ADV 300 (read about it on my web site. I have a DVD titled E-collar training for pet owners.

Bottom line is even if you find a home for one of these dogs you are going to have to change the way you live with dogs or you will continue to have problems.

I have a saying that I tell people – it goes like this "Everyone has an opinion on how to train a dog – just ask you barber, your mailman and your neighbor” The problem is very few people have the experience to back up their opinions. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out So people like yourself need to figure out who has the experience to warrant listening to.

You have already been exposed to this problem in that the people you got training information did not deal with pack behavior.

So with this said – if you care you can solve your problems. Training is not that time consuming – 3 minutes at one time 3 to 5 times a day is not that time consuming.

Dog Fight
Photo by Jinn Sabarika

I have read the dominance article and all of the questions and answers about dog fights on your web site. I found a lot of useful information but I need help on a couple of questions.

My situation is that I am trying to start a small breeding program but I want my dogs to be family pets also because I want them to have happy lives not just stuck in small pens all alone. I have 2 female Smooth Fox Terriers and one male. I also have 2 female Whippets and plan to get a male soon. The first dog I got was a female Fox Terrier. She is 5 years old now. I bred her and kept a female puppy. Then I got a 7-month old female Whippet, and later, a 10-wk. old female Whippet.

The mother Fox Terrier was the alpha dog. When her girl pup was about 7 months old and I was away for the evening, the mother and daughter Terriers attacked the older Whippet and tore big gashes all over her. She had to stay in the hospital for a week. She has recovered now and gets along great with the mother Terrier. But the daughter Terrier will attack the Whippet if she gets a chance and I now keep them separated at all times.

Then, when the younger Whippet became about 7 months old, she got in a fight with the mother Terrier. I broke up the fight with the help of my daughter with no serious injuries but the Whippet now thinks she's the alpha dog. I keep her separated from the mother Terrier during the day when I'm gone but let them in the house together in the evening while I'm home. The Whippet stands over the Terrier and growls. The Terrier growls too and they have gotten in one other smaller fight. The Whippet is very persistent in her domination behavior and does it repeatedly through the evening.

None of the dogs are dominant toward me or anyone else. They all sleep in crates in my room and stay outdoors in large fenced yards during the day-the Whippets in front and Fox Terriers in back. They often run up and down the fence line barking at each other. The Fox Terriers take it very seriously while the Whippets think it's just a fun game.

My questions are these:

1. What can I do to help the dogs settle into their pack roles and stop fighting?

2. Should I scold the Whippet when she shows dominant behavior toward the mother Terrier or will that just make things worse?

3. How can I get the daughter Terrier and the older Whippet back together?

4. Should I make a "no-dog" area between the front and back yards so they can't run along the fence line?

5. I have even wondered about wrapping the dogs' legs and necks, etc. so they wouldn't get hurt and just letting two of them fight until they settle who is boss. Would that ever be an option?

5. Are my dogs happier being free even though they live with the threat of fights and even though they may have to stay outside when others come inside?

I'm realizing that my dream of me and my dogs being one big happy family is not as easy as it seemed. Thank you so much for your help.



Ed Frawley's Philosophy on Dog Training

Ed Frawley's Philosophy on Dog Training eBook



Hello ED,

My name is Raechel and I came upon this site today after trying to break up yet another dog fight in the house. After reading all the information on properly breaking up a dog fight I realize I did everything wrong. Which would be why I have a nice size bite on my arm. My question is about the two dogs. I recently got a 5 month old male black lab who for the most part in very gentle besides the puppy energy. My roommate has a 2yr old female Border Collie who is not fully trained. She is a very shy dog and will lay on her back when you walk up to her. neither dog is aggressive by themselves and are fine together everyday. However this is the second fight in a week. The female Border Collie starts it. I was reading through the scenarios on why dogs fight and it said it wasn't common for a male and female to fight much less for the female to start it. The lab is still a puppy (a 35lb puppy) and, after seeing these two fights and pulling her off of him, is not very good at defending himself. I saw that muzzles were recommended for introducing a new dog into the home. Is this always a good idea? Are there any cons to using them? How often should they be used?

Any help would be appreciated


A picture of Rachel's arm bite that she got trying to break up her dog fight.

That's a quarter on her arm so you see how big this bite was.


I wrote this after reading about the Merseyside child killed by a dog recently. What a Christmas tragedy! Maybe you can publish it somewhere on your web page.
I prefer the described dogfight-procedure to grabbing hind legs because the heads of the dogs remain under control throughout.
By the time you get to the scene, one of the dogs usually already has a firm grip on the other. Pulling them apart by their hind legs worsens the severity of the wound.
The timing of a simultaneous leg-grab is difficult en the odds of being bitten are higher because the teeth of both dogs are snapping freely.
You can also easily end op with two dogs dangling from one set of hind legs, which also worsens the severity of the wound.
Please let me know what you think.
What can bystanders do to rescue a child or person being attacked?
If a the dog has a firm grip it will not let go easily and will probably be shaking the victim or trying to drag the victim.
Here's what to do:

If the dog is wearing a collar, grab the collar, pull tight and twist, thus choking the dog. It will let go as soon as he has difficulty breathing. Don't release the choke hold or collar too soon: the dog might attack you next.

If the collar is too broad or stiff or too tight for twist choking (it often is), place your hand from behind over the snout of the dog while holding the collar tightly in the other.
Push the upper lip on both sides firmly over the teeth of the upper jaw: there will be a good-sized gap. The dog will instantly let go when he feels his inner lip pressing against his teeth (it feels like he's biting his own inner lip). The release is instant en almost no force is required because the inner lip is extremely sensitive).
Your fingers will not be crushed: it's protected by the sensitive inner lip ''sandwich."
Jerk your hand away as soon as the dog opens his mouth and stay in control of the collar. If there is no collar use the scruff of the neck.
You can practice "open wide please" with your own dog(s). You will need the trick eventually, for instance to remove a bone caught in the bridge between the upper teeth or to separate your own dogs if two of them should tackle each other.

Pulling a bone stuck in the bridge between the teeth forward will only wedge it in firmer. Push it towards the throat with your finger.

Kicking in an effort to separate them must never be tried. Dogs feel little or no pain when in a fighting frenzy and you will in effect be joining the fight -- and they always bite faster than you can kick.
Never try to separate fighting dogs on your own: you WILL be bitten, even if it your own dogs. Two people are needed and action should only be taken after one dog has a firm hold on the other.
One person grabs the underdog firmly by the collar or scruff of the neck. The other person grabs the collar of the other dog and then executes either the collar choke or "open wide" procedure.
Then hold on to both dogs to prevent a new fight starting and release them elsewhere.

Ed's Response:

Thanks for writing but I have to seriously disagree with what your advice. This is very dangerous work and what you say to do makes it far more dangerous. I have trained police service dogs for over 30 years. Trying to grab a big dog by the collar and twist the collar or grabbing a large dog or pit pull in this manner is going to result in a handler attack more times than not.

While your advice is well intentioned it reflects a lack of experience. While it may work on the occasional dog there are more strong dogs that it will not work on.



I went to your web site today and found your address. Hopefully you may have advice for our dog. My husband and I usually walk our 3 dogs in the morning. Today he was unable to walk so I took them out. On the way back home I came across a dead gopher. The oldest dog, female Izzie (age 9) was on the leash and she wanted the gopher. I kicked the gopher off the road and Sara (age 7) went towards the gopher. Izzie flipped out and started fighting with Sara. I could not get them to stop fighting. Izzie pulled off her collar and continued fighting. I eventually wrestled her to the ground and tried to calm her down with talk but she got up again and jumped on Sara.

I finally got them apart ....long after I should have. Neither was listening or obeying commands. Both sustained bites on faces, and bodies. I put them into separate yards and have scolded Izzie each time I see her this morning. Now then...What do I do with these dogs?

Sara has always been the least dominant dog and she got the worst of it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I know this would not have happened if my husband were there.

Thank you for any help you may provide.



If this had happened to me I would back up the way these dogs lived with me. Obviously some mistakes were made and I can't tell you what they are from a short email.

These dogs should not be going on walks together or in my opinion they should not even be loose in the house together. One should be crated while the other is out. If they do walk together they should have appropriate muzzles. (NOT CLOTH MUZZLES THEY CAN SUFFOCATE A DOG).

I believe that the DVD I recently finished could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.

This DVD is 3 ½ hours long. You can go to the web page and read the outline of what’s included on the video. My DVDs are not meant to be watched one time. The fact is anyone who needs this information needs to watch it several times because every time they watch it they will pick up something new.

There are a lot of training articles and free eBooks on my web site. Read them. You may find others you need more help that just that DVD. I don’t know what your level of obedience training is.

But with this all said, if you choose to ignore this advice I would recommend my free eBook on HOW TO BREAK UP A DOG FIGHT WITHOUT GETTING HURT.


Hi Ed:

This is a puncture wound I suffered while trying (stupidly) to break up a fight between my 7-month-old English Bulldog bitch and my 14-month-old English Bulldog bitch.  The fighting just started about two weeks prior.  Up until that point, they were fine.  As of this writing, I am almost two weeks into recovering from the bite.  It may not look like much but the puncture wound became infected and has required two rounds of antibiotics, 3 injections of antibiotics and a tetanus shot. This week I see a hand surgeon to operate due to the sheath that covers my tendon being nicked and causing not only LOTS of pain, but tracing problems.  To date I am about $500.00 spent in co-pays and medications.  I have certainly learned my lesson.

San Jose. CA

Hand Bite Hand Bite Hand Bite


Hi Ed! We have three setters, all spayed senior females: An irish setter named Casey, a red and white named Laci, and a gordon named Bonnie.

Anyways, we read your 'wheelbarrow spin/leash around the loins when they're fighting' tip and I wanted to say that sounds like a really great idea! When Casey and Laci get into a rumble (Usually over Casey's food bowl that was forgotten to be picked up) the scene usually plays out like this: Laci checks Casey's bowl after Laci and Bonnie (They eat out in their separated crates on the porch) are let into the house in the middle of dinner when Casey in usually finished with her food (We all eat at the same time) Bonnie wanders off to lay down/hang out in my parents bedroom.

Casey goes to see what Laci's doing. Laci shows what we call 'lip' (Lips raised to show teeth) Fight breaks out, I yell 'fight!' Laci is usually the dominant member of the three so she's on top. Bonnie stays out of the fight, She's our oldest and has a hip problem so she usually stays where she is.
My dad stands up, I move out of the way of the dogs fronts and most 'dangerous' spot. My mom gets behind me ready to lend a hand. Casey doesn't fight back and lays there waiting for it to be over. I grab Laci's collar, coming in directly above her and pull straight back so she has no front footing to get to Casey. I move her to my side where my mom drags her out onto the porch and leaves her out there, closing the sliding glass door. My dad picks up the dog bowl and moves it up out of the dogs sights. Casey, seeing that danger has passed, gets up. We check to see if there was any blood shed. By then Laci is uninterested in fighting and is let back in and checked for (usually no) damage. She hightails it out of the area because she knows she's in trouble. That's the end of it.

Well, we saw your article and are going to have a leash on hand to pull Laci off of Casey next time, instead of using my hand on her collar! Thanks for  saving my hand from possible bite wounds!



I think it might be easier to keep the two offending dogs separated since it appears that the fights break out in a predictable manner. 

You know what the triggers are, so I would make sure the environment is controlled from now on and hopefully the fights won’t be an issue.

Knowing how to break up a fight is important, in any case, but managing the dogs properly is better and safer for everyone.

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the first issues to deal with whenever you have problems with existing dogs.  We are taking orders for a new DVD that extensively covers the way Ed and I live with dogs in our home.


Mr. Frawley,

Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I am seeking your advice for the continued steps in training and/or new tips for my 18 month old neutered male German Shepherd.

I have purchased three of your videos: Establishing Pack Structure, Basic Dog Obedience, and Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs. Love them. We are  guided by dog behaviorist/trainer Dr. Carmen Childs, VA, to incorporate these training techniques.

I'll try to describe this as briefly as possible. We purchased our puppy,Tiki, from a reputable breeder, who primarily breeds for good temperament. Carmen knows the lines and was most impressed with another of her dogs that was in her class. The breeder suggested waiting for neuter until 12-18 months for physical development, etc., Carmen very much against this. We made the best decision possible at the time and chose to wait and watch his behavior. He was neutered at 12 months with strong encouragement by Carmen, as Tiki was not able to be in obedience class, esp with other dominant males, he reacted to their aggression, hair up, staring, unable to focus on training, growling. So, we left group class and initiated your pack structure training.  Huge improvement in about 2 months.

Now, we have done lots with him, ie crate lock down and establishing pack structure as guided by your videos, and one-to-one classes with Carmen. We have no people aggression, and he gets along very well with our second dog. Our walks in the neighborhood are the biggest challenge. Tiki become zoned in on other dogs, hair up, and whines, looses control somewhat. He does not lunges or growl, but I do keep him at a distance, and attempt refocus by turning and walking in other direction and making him look at me.

Individual training with Carmen now consists of walking on leash, and then she  brings in one of her stable dogs, to slowly introduce my dog to a positive, non threatening experience.

My question/concern is, when or how will I be able to get Tiki back in a class for further obedience training, hopefully, get his CGC, and move on to hopefully tracking training with him. He's extremely intelligent, and great pet as well. What has been your experience with this situation, given the very limited amount of information I provided.

Thank you for your time,



I don’t agree with the approach you are taking with this dog. You may want to re-think your plan.

It is obvious that other dogs upset this dog. As a pack leader it’s your job to protect your pack members from things that upset them. It’s also your job to establish your pack leader rules. (I.E. no unwarranted dog aggression).

So how do you go about this?

1-Read my eBook on WHO PETS MY DOG – it’s on my web site. The concepts in this article also apply to dogs. Your dog need to understand that you are not going to allow other dogs near it. Over time he needs to know that you will not push non-pack member dogs on him because you step in front and block the encounter. To the extent of driving a stray dog away.

Unfortunately because of the things that have been done you may be past the point where the dog is able to appreciate this concept.

2-The dog aggression like this is best solves with a remote collar and HIGH LEVEL stimulation. The stimulation is applied the instant the dog sees another dog  - not when it works itself up to tizzy. That’s often too late. The very instant he looks at the dog you stimulate him and you don’t do it with low level.

With time and experience you will find you can back off the level you start with.

If you were to make the mistake and start low and work to high level you run the risk of teaching a dog to fight through the stimulation.

My DVD Remote Collar Training For the Pet Owner teaches people who to do normal off leash training with remote collars. It teaches low level stimulation. You can still use this information for your normal work. I us a DOGTRA 1700ncp on my 18 month old GSD

3-Redirecting the dog to you, turning and walking away are things that do work with some dogs. But there are also many dogs that these techniques are simply not going to change anything. Your dog falls into this category.

I cannot tell you if this dog will every be able to pass a CGC test. I don’t know the dog well enough. It will depend on your consistency and the effectiveness of your training.

By the way – I assume you know you were mislead by the breeder on neutering. It should have been done at a younger age. But that’s water over the dam now.


Your advice sounds good but what happens when the attacking dog (with some pit in him) just won't let can drag them apart and take the other dogs ear with you. PLus, in the heat of the fight, like the one I saw yesterday, the owners are most likely to panic and not work as a team. In this case, what do you suggest?


You then call the police – or you shoot the pit

No one said this was easy or it worked in every circumstance.


Dear Ed,

You have my sincere admiration and respect. Your no nonsense, common sense approach to dog training is refreshing and effective.

I just finished reading your article on breaking up dog fights without getting hurt and was humbled by your method of picking up each dogs hind legs. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of trying that! After breaking up more fights over the past 40 years than I can count, I sincerely thought I had learned the most effective and safest way to do this. Most were between my own dogs and each time I learned another way of what NOT to do. After reading the emails you've received and seeing the photos I realize that I've been extremely lucky also. The 2 times I've received bites were in situations where I was alone and didn't keep my cool. My only goal at the time was to save the weaker dog from being seriously injured by the stronger one which put me in the wrong place, at the wrong time, without concern for my own safety. I'm fortunate to have learned the importance of being the pack leader early on but in these particular situations my emotions got the better of me. The anger and sheer outrage that came over me the time two of my younger dogs, literally, "tag-teamed" the older one, caused me to position myself over him and punch each one in the face when they made a grab for him. Unfortunately, the old boy wasn't totally defenseless and decided to snap at the same time I threw a punch and caught my hand instead of his attackers face. The other time my 3 yr old female rottie, (who was always in her own separate yard) managed to get into my 10 yr old female labs yard and ripped her head open down to the skull. Getting in the middle of that fight got me a deep puncture wound to my shin with enough psi's to leave a permanent dent in it, not to mention the $1300 dent in my wallet for the vet bill.

Most of the time though, there have been friends present that were capable of following my lead when I told them to take hold of a tail on my count of three and then pull steadily backwards. Much like your leg-lifting method but not nearly as safe, (or as effective when one dog is a rottie, sans tail!). If another situation ever presents itself, I will work smarter, not harder and use one of your methods.

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and reminding me that I am not too old to learn some new tricks!

Best Regards,


dog bite

That's the best picture I got of it. I saw the fight happening, and went to grab the attacking dog around the neck like an idiot. Instead, I just put the elbow section of my arm into the dog's mouth. I got two punctures (with a lot of bruising around them), and few cuts from her fangs. The marks down toward my wrist are scratches.

Dog Fight:

Hi Ed,

Since reading your article on how to break up a dog fight, I’ve just so happened to have to break up 2 dog fights involving unneutered male pit bulls attacking other dogs.  The first time it was my own dog and  yesterday I just happened to be in the right place at the right time as a pit bull (possibly the same dog) was mauling the thigh of a dog on a leash.  The leashed dog’s owner was screaming, the pit bulls owners, 2 boys  who had been trying to catch it, were hitting it with a belt, and another neighbor was just about to try and pry the dogs mouth off the other dog. I ran up and was able to end the mauling very quickly. 

Thanks again!


P.S. love your training videos too – my Rottweiler, Maisie, is the most awesome, fun, and obedient dog ever, and this is a dog I wasn't sure if I could handle at first - so many thanks for that too!

Dog Bite:

I've been lurking and saw that you want photos of injuries as a result of breaking up a dogfight. We took in a 6-7 year old Great Dane that had been running the streets. We already had 3 other Danes. One day Cass (the new girl) decided she didn't like Annie, our 2 year old blind Dane. This picture was taken right after the fight. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days on IV antibiotics. We still have her and that is how I found your website, looking for a 'humane' muzzle.  


dog bite


Hi, I ran across your web site and I had some questions for you if it is okay. We have a momma dog, a daddy and two babies - a boy a year and a half and a girl a year and a Chihuahua. The daddy and son got into a BIG fight today and I was here alone. My husband hurried home but it takes him twenty minutes to get here from work. I didn't know what to do, so I let them fight it out. I thought they were going to kill each other but I hit them with a big stick and the next thing that I knew, they were done. I might want to say they are pit bull Rottweiler mixes. We are going to get them neutered on Monday should I still use muscles to keep them from fighting in the future. This had never happened like this. They have only had one other fight over a stick. I love my dogs and they are my children. I just don't want to worry about them fighting when I am not here what should I do? Thanks for your help.



This is 100% your fault. This happened because of the way you have chosen to live with these dogs.

Dogs are not humans and people who treat dogs like humans have problems like this.

I will 100% guarantee you that neutering these dogs to eliminate dog fights is a complete waste of money and effort. It’s not going to happen. Neutering a dog after its 8 or 9 months old does nothing for aggression.

If you want to fix this problem get dog crates and keep these dogs in dog crates or individual dog kennels. Keep them separated when you’re gone. 

You need to learn something about pack structure and dominant dogs.

If you care to do that you can get the information you need from the following DVDs:

Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
Basic Dog Obedience
Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner

If you want some good advice, take the money you would have wasted on neutering and spend it on these DVDs and dog crates.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley

Dog Bite:

This happened while trying to break up a fight between family dogs. My mother-in-law and I both got bit by her dog. I was trying to grab my puppy which is not a small dog and not timid and pull her by her collar. I got pulled down by the two dogs and fell between them. My shoulder got bit and my right hand. I now have to go for surgery to correct the thumb nail, that may never grow back correctly, and the bone broke also.


thumb bite thumb bite

Dog Bite:

I recently rescued a pit bull mix. She's about 1 year old. Yesterday my 3 year-old male beagle walked by her and growled and the pit bull attacked. They've gotten into quite a few scuffles before and I've easily separated them but this time was much different. They fought for a good five minutes. The pit bull is very strong and was picking my beagle up by the neck and swinging him around. I thought for sure he was dead because of the amount of blood. I kept trying to pull the pit off of him but her jaw was locked. At one point I gave up and started screaming and crying because I was horrified. My brother heard this and ran downstairs. He pulled the beagle and I pulled the pit bull by the legs and we got the separated. However, the beagle who was clearly losing ran back at her and started the fight again. I pushed him away with my arm and he latched on and started shaking it. When he realized it was me, he ran away and I put the pit outside. She had very minor cuts and gashes but my beagle, Toby was soaked in blood. I've included a picture of his neck. My brother called 911 and the paramedics were there very fast. My arm was gushing with blood and my finger was black/blue and swollen. We also had to rush Toby to the animal emergency room. It was an awful day.

Anyway, I wish I had known your techniques before I tried to intervene like that. I panicked and I didn't know what else to do. The bite was worth it because I don't think my beagle would have made it through if I hadn't tried to stop it. However, next time I'll definitely know better. We've given the pit to someone else. And Toby is quarantined by animal control for ten days.


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Ed’s Answer:

Thank you so much for taking the time to send this.

I will post it to our web site with the hopes it will help others learn how dangerous breaking up a dog fight can be.

Best of luck for your beagle.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Mr. Frawley:

I have two male weimaraners one is 7 years old and the other one is 14 months old. Recently someone gave me the 14 months old at 8 months. The two dogs got along ok but the older dog is jealous or is the dominant dog because he was here first and this is his home. Recently I had the older dog neutered and he has changed some but not a lot. The day before I was to have the 14 month neutered they had a big dog fight and my older dog broke a side of his jaw and some minor cuts, the younger dog had a few cuts. I had surgery on my older dog jaw and I have keep them apart for 3 weeks until I could get a muzzle for each of them. I ordered two Muzzles from your Company last week and was not going to breed the dogs and also want to keep them both because I love them dearly.
I spoke with a trainer that will help me some in 35 days after he has some surgery, he said to get the Muzzles and I have 2 shock collars.
Can you tell me how long I would have to train these dogs with the Muzzles? I am looking at buying your Dominant Dog Collar and Video Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.
This is a new experience for me because I have never had two male Weimaraners at one time. I have worried about what to do . The younger dog is playful and the older dog takes it serious.
Will these dogs recognize what is going on with the muzzles? What happens once I take the Muzzle off? Will I know when to take the Muzzle off of them to be around each other? I just have some unsure questions and you as a trainer and using you products thought you could give me some dog advice.




This situation is a mess. It’s also a fight waiting to happen (AGAIN).

Your Vet should have told you that neutering a dog older than 9 months seldom changes the dogs aggression. This reflects a Vet who lacks experience or a Vet who is more interested in your wallet than your needs.

Having the dogs wear a muzzle does not solve the problem. It only stops the dog from biting one another. They can still go at one another with muzzles on. Just so you are aware, a police service dog in a muzzle can break a humans ribs.

I also don’t recommend trying to use a remote collar on two of your own dogs to try and eliminate aggression. If you over stimulate one of these dogs with the collar (especially a dog that has not been conditioned to training with a collar) the dog will think the stimulation came from the other dog and this will trigger a fight – not eliminate one.

If you want to keep these dog, get two dog crates and use them. Only one dog should be out at a time. Once dogs fight the way these dog have fought it is very unlikely that you will ever condition these dogs to be loose together.

With this said these dogs do need training and you should learn more about what you are dealing with. Here are the DVDs I would recommend:

Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog

Basic Dog Obedience
Remote Collar Training for the Pet Owner

I would recommend that you study these DVDs – the information in these DVDs will tell you if you need help from a professional. It will also teach you enough to know if the person you are talking to is qualified to offer sound advice. The problem dog owners like you face is that anyone can call themselves a professional dog trainer when in fact the vast majority of so called pros lack experience and are unqualified to deal with aggression problems – and you most defiantly have a problem.
You actually have a very dangerous situation.

You may want to read the article I wrote on How To Break Up a Dog Fight Without Getting Hurt. But even armed with this information, breaking up a dog fight is a dangerous thing for novice trainers.

Kind Regards,

Dog Bite:

I have a attached a photo of my left hand, bitten as I tried to separate my two boxers from fighting. I lost my pinkie fingernail and the bone was fractured. Could have been a lot worse so I guess I was lucky. Feel free to contact me for any info.

I’ll give you a little history on my clan.  I was home alone on  Monday evening with all 3 of my boxers, Bella 3yr old female, Bishop 2 1/2 yr old male and Brinks, their son who is now 13 months is already the largest of the 3 dogs weighing in at 68 lbs. I usually have no trouble with them but will admit they totally listen to my husband more than me.  Bishop is a small boxer at only 42 lbs and was trained by a local trainer in protection by Dogs RRR Us.  When I came home from work I directly went into the kitchen and put my purse etc away. I greeted Bella and Bish and at this point Bish was already carrying my shoe from the front hall. He does not chew them up but carries them around doing the boxer “kidney bean wiggle” for awhile.  I proceeded to our “dog room” where I crate Brinks during the day. I let him out and he followed me down the hallway. Right away he went up and smelled Bish with my shoe. I don’t know which one of them actually started to growl first but that’s when the fight started. They ended up in the kitchen still fighting and at which point the was blood everywhere. Brinks had Bish by the inside of his mouth and I thought I needed to do something. I started to drag brinks by his back legs closer to the door to the backyard and figured I could call Bish off. At this point Brinks did loosen his bite but then Bishop lunged at him and that’s when I got bit because my hands were still too close to Brinks. I wasn’t expecting Bishop not to listen but looking back on it should have been able to tell that they were both is such a drive that I shouldn’t have tried what I did. This happened on Monday and we have kept both dogs separated. When Bishop goes by the baby gates he looks like he wants to attack Brinkley.

I’m not sure if you time to answer a lot of personal e-mails but I am at a loss of what to do now. My husband had suggested we could find a home for Brinks but I still haven’t decided. We have been feeding them apart for months and are only given bones to chew on when they are separated. Brinkley became protective of his toys pretty young and had gone after Bishop before so I was aware this might happen and feel at fault.  I can take his toys, bones etc away from him with no problem and they are all very loving dogs but don’t know what the next step is. There is no children in the home yet but I do have small nieces who come by and think for now both dogs will have to be muzzled. Look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you for your time,

dog bite dog bite

Ed's Response:

Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope photos like this will help convince people how dangerous dog fights can be

Kind Regards,

Dog Bite:

Guess I should've read your page first!

dog bite dog bite

Ed's Response:

Thanks for sending the dog bite photos. Can you tell me the details of what happen. Maybe the story will help others.

Kind Regards,


Hi, Ed.

The new pictures are my wife's hand, resulting from the same incident.  These pictures are 10 days old and don't look as bad as they really were.  The picture of the top of the hand is the healing of a fingernail that was entirely torn off. The other one isn't very descriptive but, portrays the swelling (less now) from the crushed bone in the tip of the finger. Due to that bone, the injury bled for nearly 36 hours. I tried to send X-rays but they didn't work too well.

Our incident revolves around 2 adult female dogs, a weimaraner (107 lbs) and a husky mix (48 lbs). They are the youngest and oldest, respectively, of 4 and the shortest and longest time with us, respectively. They have issues.

The older dog has always had problems with strange dogs and, because she lives in a fenced yard, snaps at our other dogs, by proxy. The 2 others blow it off and walk away.  We got the weimie a year ago and, while they get along for the most part, the weimie thinks the husky is seriously trying to fight. 

We've had 1 fight over a dog coming up to the fence.  The fight which caused the pictured injuries happened when the weimie approached the husky's bowl. She likes to eat outside in her kennel and she doesn't like to be bothered.  We can't let them kill each other so we tried to break it up.  It took 15 minutes or more to break them up and resulted in 2 hours in emergency.

Thanks for your interest and web page.  Hope this helps someone else to not do the same thing.  It sure helped us to see your article.


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I'll try to make a long story short. Found your site while looking for info on why my 8 year old shepherd has started eating my clothes, sheets blankets etc. Found no answer but thought you could point me to an answer on one other problem. I have 6 shepherds. 5 female and 1 male.

Great dogs, good temperaments, very kissy and cuddly, they love when company comes over etc. My husband is an over the road trucker and I feel safe here alone. If some one broke in my dogs would let them in no problem. BUT don't raise a hand to hurt me or my Samantha would I think hurt you seriously, I think she would die for me but guess that's not the real problem. The real problem is this. I have a fenced in area off the back kitchen door. I don't let my dogs run loose although everyone else in the neighborhood does. When I open the door to let them out to go to the bathroom in the morning I have noticed that they have been gradually getting worse jumping and barking on top of each other especially the 2 younger girls ( 4 year old sisters) jumping on the male. It has steadily become worse to the point I dread letting them out. I have over come a lot of obstacles with them including when I adopted #6 and there were a lot of fights I broke up especially with Samantha and #6 Lexy. I wish I had read your site then! But I got it worked out and they now sleep together. Seven or eight so called dog trainers told me I would have to re-home Lexy but I thought that info was wrong as My dogs could not dictate the number of dogs I have.

Anyway that was 3 yrs ago and it has been good. I am the stricter one with the dogs then my husband and I have no qualms throwing my dogs on the floor if they are on the couch with me and they growl if another dog walks over to me, and don't get me wrong I love my dogs but with that many in one house by myself I have to nip it in the bud or you'll be posting my bite photos. Anyway I feel the dogs are getting out of control when I let them out and I need to stop it now. By the way, as soon as I close the door and they can't see me, the jumping on each other and the barking stops so I think that is a clue. Thanks for any help. Sorry this is so long. Patti


These problems are 100% a pack structure/rank problem. There is no question about this. These dogs are telling you something in what is happening in your pack and you need to listen to it and make changes. If you don’t you could very easily have a dead dog or dogs.

When you have a dog pack like this (and it is a dog pack) the pack issues are magnified. When dog fights break out they can be very very serious because they can turn from two dogs fighting into 3 or 4 dogs all fighting the lowest ranking dog and that dog gets killed. I have a folder full of emails from people who have had this happen.

In my opinion you need a dog crate for every dog. You need to run these dogs through a pack structure program (Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog) Part of this work will be controlling who goes outside and when. They should never be allowed to go out at the same time like this.

I have had GSDs my entire life (I am 61) , bread them for over 33 years. I would never try and do what you’re doing. It simply is not worth the risk.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Hi Mr. Frawley,

I just wanted to write you a quick note of appreciation for your article on how to break up a dog fight. I had to pick up the chow by the tail and throw him over the fence into the neighbor's yard. I have a 9 year old chow mix who got into a fight with my 10 year old Mastiff/Shepherd mix, and I was able to use your tip to great satisfaction. These dogs had never fought before but became aggressive to each other after a neighbor's child threw only one dog biscuit into their yard. They have now been reintroduced to each other after 6 weeks apart and are doing well. The fight resulted in an arterial bleed on the mastiff. My husband pointed out that neither must have been "really fighting" or I would not have been able to pick up the chow and pull him out of the mastiff's jaws. (But keep in mind my husband did not try to do anything to stop the fight, it was me in the midst of it all with the dogs, which I realize was not all that smart).

Incidentally, I found the chow mix on the highway when he was about 9 months old, and he is everything you described about chows in your chows article. He is also the lucky dog to be living with me, who let him know who was in charge straight away. My dad was a MP who worked with shepherd in the Army during the Vietnam era, and he taught me a lot about dogs when I was a kid.

Two male aggressive breeds and one female handler doing fine here in Savannah, GA! So far so good.


Dog owner speaks following alsatian death horror

Owner of the dogs, Jason
Owner of the dogs, Jason

Published Date:
04 May 2009
A SHOCKED neighbour told today of his horror at seeing a dog-attack victim covered in blood just minutes before he died.
Andrew Walker, 21, was trying to separate two alsatians fighting in the back yard of his home on Reads Avenue, Blackpool, when they turned on him.

The neighbour, who did not wish to be named, described seeing "blood everywhere" when he looked out of the window after hearing screaming and shouting coming from the back yard at around 8pm on Friday.

He said: "I heard a dog barking and the couple who live there were screaming and shouting. They were panicking.

"There was blood everywhere. I could see one dog covered in blood, it was just walking around."

Police said the victim had been bitten by both dogs, which were owned by another man who lived at the address, and banged his head when he was knocked to the ground during the attack.

Police said they are now treating the matter as "a tragic accident" and have passed the case to the coroner.

The neighbour added: "I feel sorry for the boy. I saw him walking from the shed to the laundry room, he had blood on his shirt. I can't believe he's died. We would see him cleaning the dogs in the back yard."

The dogs' owner, who would only identify himself as Jason, managed to get the animals under control and called an ambulance after Mr Walker collapsed.

But despite paramedics' efforts, he died shortly afterwards.

Jason said: "My dogs weren't nasty. What happened, I can't get over. I've pulled one of the dogs off the other, Nico off the other one, and tried getting Andy out of the way but he wouldn't move. He was trying to assist me."

Unemployed Mr Walker, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, had been living in Blackpool for a year.

Paying tribute to his friend, Jason added: "We had a laugh together. He was always there for me. No matter what I needed he was always there."

Det Insp Sue Cawley, of Blackpool CID, said Mr Walker's grieving parents had visited the resort on Sunday to identify their son.

She added: "It was a dreadful incident. We have investigated fully with the RSPCA and it appears to have been a tragic accident.

"His parents are devastated and the police are offering whatever assistance we can. It seems he has heard them attacking each other and has gone to intervene when they have turned on him.

"He knew the dogs and had always got on fine with them in the past. He has sustained puncture bite wounds around the torso and a head injury which we believe came from a fall during the attack.

"The dogs were probably well-known to neighbours but have never come to the attention of the police. It appears the owner has kept them responsibly and they had been adequately treated.

"We will wait on the results of a post mortem when we should know more about the cause of death."

The dogs, aged three-years-old and 13 months, were destroyed at the direction of the owner.




I appreciate your website and articles. I of course found your site after the fact as I searched for information on how to prevent future dog fights. Here is my story; I volunteer at a local Humane Society and have for 3 years now. In the three years I had only seen and gotten involved in one dog fight between two dogs. The fight was very minor and I was able to break it up quickly without injury to the dogs or myself. I have also experienced a dog bite but it also thankfully wasnt too bad and was only because the dog had aggression issues. Needless to say I had been very fortunate with my days as a volunteer and did not have the knowledge of how to handle a serious dog fight if it arose...and it did. On Easter Sunday of this year I picked up an extra shift at the shelter because the other person could not make it. When I arrived I went through my usual duties which included letting all of the dogs out (we only had 6 at the time), cleaning their runs, filling food and water, as well as letting the cats out of their crates to play in their cat room. After my duties I always go outside to play with the dogs and give them affection. It was a beautiful morning! I went outside, ran down to the yard ( when you walk outside we have stairs that go down to a fenced in yard, there are no crates just a big fenced in lot with a 'door' at the end of the stairs that separates the stairs and yard.) And started playing with the dogs as usual. I run with them, throw balls, ect. I had just thrown a ball and was admiring the dogs as they went after it when one of our collie mixes, a  quieter, smaller dog jumped up on me for some lovin, so I started to pet him on his head. At the same time our fat terrier mix jumped up in the same manner for some attention (yes I know letting them get up on me is my first mistake!) as I petted both of them something inside the terriers head set him off and he growled and snapped at the other dog. The other dog returned the growl and instantly they started viciously attacking each ot her! I was horrified, scared, and shocked. As the other dogs heard the commotion they came running over and two more jumped in, the three started attacking the smaller dog that originally jumped on me for affection. I knew not to yell at them but I couldn't think of what to do to stop them.I tried to breath deep to keep my heart steady so that they wouldnt feed off my energy, I clapped my hand, attempted to grab the terrier ( who seemed to be tearing the other guy apart), nothing worked. I ran up the stairs to go inside and find something to use to get between them, a broom was the first thing I saw. As I ran back down to the yard my stomach was in my throat and I wanted to scream and cry(but I didnt!), why on earth were they doing this, and why wont they stop is all I could think. By the time I got into the yard, two of the dogs( the terrier mix, male. and a hound shepard mix, female) had the collie mix pinned by the throat to the ground, his fur was covered in blood. I honestly thought they were going to kill him and I couldnt bear to have that so I stuck the broom in between them all and began using it to 'push' the two aggressors back. This worked for a second, long enough to create space between the dogs. It was happening so fast I didnt know what to do so I grabbed the terrier while still using the broom as a separator well that was not going to happen and he continued trying to get at the other dog ( the hound mix at this time is staying still waiting for the terrier to make a move) when I realized I couldnt hold him back anymore and the smaller dog wasnt able to run away I quickly let go of the terrier and simultaneously grabbed the collie mix and lifted him as high as I could and began to run toward the stairs. The other two dogs jumped, ran, and tried to bite at the dog I was carrying. They managed to knock me down and I dropped the poor dog. As they were tearing into him they also managed to bite my leg, I knew I had been bit but my adrenalin was pumping and I was determined to get this poor guy out of there alive so as I was getting up off the ground I swooped him back into my arms, I still had the broom and began trying to use it again to get between them, I managed enough space to shut the door to the fence that separated the stairs and the yard. now how bad is this guy injured is what I thought. I got him inside, called the shelter director, looked for all of his wounds, tried to clean him up best I could, then sat on the floor wishing I had a shot of vodka!! I let the other dogs in and put them all in there crates, the terrier was covered in blood and his ear was split down the middle. I also felt my own leg swelling and dripping with blood. What a day!

It felt like it went on for hours but the whole thing start to finish was about 10 minutes. I dont understand what triggered it, and I wish I had been better equipped with how to deal with it. All the dogs are doing okay now, and as bad as I thought the terrier was going to kill this sweet collie mix, he actually got the worst injuries in the end. Thankfully they are doing fine, it seemed like it was going to be so much worse. The director of the shelter came out and got the dogs stitched and checked. The two main ones involved went to foster homes, the other two that had been involved were perfectly fine. My leg is alright now, a  couple of nice scars. I didn't even intend to give the full story, I apologize for such a long email!

My questions to you are these, when there is one of you and 3 or more dogs involved in the fight, then how do you break it up? Also I am a big animal lover, I still volunteer at the same shelter, but honestly I have a fear that I've never had before. I get very tense and scared when a dog growls at another or if I sense any type of jealousy or aggression toward each other. How do I get over this?? I do not want them to sense my anxiety therefore making them nervous and possibly causing another fight. I love the dogs and I do not want to have any type of fear toward them but after seeing such intense aggression and fighting, I do.

Thank you sincerely for your insight,

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The answer for me is simple. I would not put myself in a position for this to happen again.  I don’t put multiple dogs that I don’t know together, ever. It’s an accident waiting to happen as you found out. I realize that some places operate this way and put dogs out in groups together but in a shelter situation where the dogs have little to no training or relationship with me as a leader I wouldn’t do it ESPECIALLY as an unpaid volunteer.  

We have a section on the website about how to break up a dog fight, but it would be very difficult to do with more than 2 dogs. It’s actually difficult to do with only 2.

Your fear is something that is giving you feedback to stay out of a dangerous situation. I wouldn’t shut out your fear, I would pay attention to it and educate yourself on pack structure and dynamics. The best advice I can give is to give the dogs one on one attention with you, and nix the idea of letting groups of dogs out together when you are alone. I’d also recommend you do some studying of pack behavior and body language and learn the subtle signs dogs display before things escalate. The fact that one of the shelter dogs jumped up on you for attention (a dominant behavior) and you rewarded that by petting shows me that you need more education. You then let the second dog jump up and YOU became a resource for the dogs to fight over. If you understood a bit more about dog psychology, behavior and body language you may have avoided the whole scenario by forbidding the first dog to jump up on you in the beginning.  Either way, I’m not trying to be overly critical because I know you are trying to help these dogs out and I commend that.

We have a number of books on our website about canine body language.

Canine Body Language

Canine Behavior

You may also be interested in these videos. 

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

I believe that this DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.

Your Humane Society should purchase these training materials for their employees and volunteers, in my opinion.


Dog Bite:

Hello there,

I am writing for the second time. I sent you a picture already of what happened to my left arm when I tried to stop my female pit by wrapping my arm around her neck/shoulder area before the fight started. That time I only had two punctures and bruises. I see you put the picture up on your second page. After reading your article, I didn't know if I had the strength to stop a dog fight, but I swore to myself I was going to use your method should I ever have the need. Unfortunately, I never really received the chance.

It was New Year's Day (2009) and about 5 of us (family, friends) were signing karaoke. China (6 year old female pit) was sitting next to me on the couch... which, after reading a lot of articles and books, I know now is not good when you have a dog with a dominant personality. Well, she is very skittish too and someone knocked over something in the hallway outside of the room. Sadly, Pudge (12 year old male pit/lab mix) came into the room to investigate and came right up to China. She immediately took after his face and got a hold of his ear area. There was nothing I could do. I was prone and the two dogs were practically in my lap. The men in the room absolutely freaked (having no experience for this situation) and made it so much worse. They started yelling and tried to pull the two dogs apart by grabbing their middles. Well, they succeeded but China was in such a frenzy that her head whipped around and -- bam! There was my (left, again!) arm in her mouth.

She crunched down and I remember just staring down at her and my arm in disbelief. I didn't even yell or anything -- just stared down at her. My husband grabbed her once he realized what was going on and she jerked her head like she was going to start thrashing. I screamed out, "No! Leave her alone." He did and then China realized she had a hold of me and not the other dog. She instantly let go upon the realization and took off in a run to another room.

The end result: 5 puncture wounds, one very large deep gash, a minor gash and cuts, $3000 in medical bills, 2 1/2 month healing time and I have no feeling in the top of my thumb to this day, but plenty of nasty scars.

I was told that if one puncture wound was deeper or more to the right side of my arm, I would've had to have surgery to repair the tendon because at first I couldn't use my thumb at all and I couldn't turn my arm over.

I am writing this because I think it's important for people to know that in the right situation (like two dogs fighting in front of you on a couch), you can get bit no matter your knowledge. I also want people to know that their dog is not the same during or seconds after a fight. China is not aggressive toward people at all. She is only dog aggressive and bit me because she was so hyped up. Thirdly, it's important for a person to know their dog. In my case, China is skittish and the reduction of loud noises and commotion has done wonders, but in order to achieve that, I had to give her away to a friend who knows her history very well. My friend is currently working with a vet to desensitize China. So my very last point is... Sometimes, you and the animal are not meant to be. You can't have your dogs keep fighting, and especially not when you have other dogs that are far too old or simply unable to defend themselves properly.

I am really, really hoping that I will never have to send you another email. Thank you for your wonderful site and advice. When I decide it's time for my family to bring another dog into our lives, I know the first place I am going to be getting information from is your site since you have such wonderful articles.

--- Amy

Dog Bite Dog Bite
Dog Bite

Ed's Response:

Thanks much for this email – I agree it will help others realize how seriously it is.
You may want to read the article I wrote on how to break up a dog fight without getting hurt. It is also in the form of a free eBook on my web site.

I would recommend the following DVDs to stop this from happing again:

Preparing Your Dog for the Helper
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog

I am afraid if you don’t make some changes your going to have more fights.

Ed Frawley


Hi Cindy & Ed,

I read your newsletters frequently, and today noticed the pictures of the dog bite. I want to thank you for the information you provide about breaking up dog fights.  I have a male black lab who has a very sweet temperament. When he was about a year old, we were visiting my in-laws, who owned his father, who was a wonderful older black lab, very sweet dog, who had severe arthritis and limited mobility. The two males (both intact) got along extremely well, until one day I went to feed them. I was not thinking and went to feed them both at the same time. I don't know which dog started it, but the two went after each others' necks. It happened so quickly, but I had read your article about breaking up a dog fight so I grabbed my dog's back legs and dragged him off of his stationary father before any damage was caused (to me or either dog). Thank goodness I had read your article, thank you. After that, I have kept my own pack to ourselves during feeding time. Thank you for all the information you provide, it has been very helpful for our family. Even my husband, who was once a skeptic of the importance of pack structure, has seen the wonderful benefits of sticking to your program. We have a very well-behaved member of the family now, who could have been a terror had we not made our family a pack, with the dog at the bottom!

Thank you!

Dog Fight:

Pictures from my dog bites from my Jack Russell while separating her from attacking my Pitbull 2 times.


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Dog Bite:

I greatly appreciate your article on the correct way to break up a dogfight. I wish I would have read it a few months ago! I am currently fostering 2 pit half-sisters. They got along great as pups, I knew the time would probably come when I would have to keep them separated (unfortunately, they both come from a strong dog-fighting line)... but wasn't expecting it to be quite so soon at not quite 6 months old! I did the wrong thing by trying to pull one of them apart by their collar -and of course got bit. Not a bad bite, but quite the nasty bruise on my thigh. I wanted to send it to show how much damage just a quick snap from a cute, little puppy can inflict!

Thanks again for the informative article. I can't wait to read the rest of them!


dog bite bruise Dog

The sweetest dog in the world -as long as no other dogs are around!

Dog Fight:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

Let me begin by sharing my story to those that might benefit from this hard lesson that I've learned. I own 6 German Shepherds at present. Been owning and breeding these magnificent dogs for over 15 years now. I've always been lucky with avoiding dog fights (occasional pack of strays but mostly errant irresponsible owners who let loose their aggressive dogs because they're just too damn lazy to exercise their pets responsibly) while walking my dogs. In fact, I was forced to walk my dogs in pairs (younger ones) or one by one for the bigger adults in order to maintain control when faced with unpleasant confrontations from other dogs during our walks since I'm a petite person. All this safety measures and I ended up getting bitten by my one of my own during a nasty fight. My own 2 females broke out into a fight when one managed to escape her pen and enter into the one where my helper was cleaning with my older female. Though they do not ever show any signs of aggression in my presence, it was a whole different scenario with my helper. I heard the commotion and went to the scene. I talked my helper into the right way of separating the dogs. While I managed to give the release command to the dog I was to drag away, my helper was preparing to drag the younger one away when she did. It worked but unfortunately for me (my terrible luck) the leash buckle broke & the younger dog was free again to pounce on the dog I was holding. I had to let her go again to enable her to defend herself as she would be losing confidence in me as her leader to protect her in such a situation or WORSE, think I'm ganging up on her with the other dog. The 2nd round of attack was of course more severe and during this time I became desperate as one of the dogs caught hold of the other's throat. So in my desperation to save the dog and from the unreliable leash and helper, I did the unthinkable. I put my left hand to the locked jaw of the older dog and pried it open while I yanked the other dog free. Of course I instructed my helper to hold on to her dominant collar as I did this to restrict her movements somewhat. Well, suffice to say it worked except my dog decided to clamp down shut onto my hand. Despite the searing pain, I stayed completely still (mind you while holding the second dog in my right hand) as I continued giving her the Release Command in stern voice. It took her sometime to regain herself to come around while regripping her bite into my hand as the offending dog is still less than a foot away. But staying completely still as I left my hand in her jaws I just kept repeating the command at least for 4-5 times before she released my hand. Once I was free I told my helper to drag her out while I took the other dog back to her pen with my injured hand gushing blood. The result of that whole episode, I ended with 3 surgeries to repair severed artery, damages to the nerve (perhaps permanent) and to fix broken 5th metacarpal bone with plate & screws (palm bone connecting to last finger).

Now my question to you Ed is, will the dog that bit into my hand for a good period of time and drew so much blood have the tendency to challenge me or attack me in future should there be any chance for her to feel the need to? I'm very aware that she did Not attack me but simply reacted in defense to an external intervention in her fight BUT I've been told by various sources to give her up as she has "tasted my blood" and that she's a risk to me, how far is this true? Bear in mind, I have broken up fights with her involved few times before with much success but this last episode has left me somewhat nervous around her when my mind recalls the trauma. I'm worried she would sense that in me. I've had her for 6 1/2 years now and she's one of my favorites. Your input and experienced advise is much appreciated.

Much Thanks in advance.

Kind Regards,

Dog Fight:

Hi Ed,

My name is Alex and I'm a 25 year old woman owner of 2 pitbulls (male and female). Ever since my ex left the household I never had any major problems with dog fights (besides the fact or their natural stubborn personality) until last night when I made the terrible mistake of leaving visible a rawhide that the female (2 y-o/youngest) did not feel like eating earlier, after the male (4) had already ate his. This started a horrible fight. I found myself all alone trying to figure out how to break up this fight. I started thinking back when my ex used to use a broom stick to unlock their jaws, but of course it didn't work. Once again I made the second terrible mistake of tackling the dogs and trying to break it up with my hands, by the way I don't know what I was thinking. Finally I gave up and they eventually they started to get tired and that's when I rushed up and picked up the male and took off running to the garage and shut the door to stop the the female from coming after him. At this point I'm considering in keeping only one of them because I'm so scared that it would happen again, but maybe I should try your muzzels. I really don't want get rid of one of them, because besides the fact, their are very loving and protective dogs and like you explained I don't feel like my dog was directly attacking me, I just happened to be on the way. Your information educated me a lot and hopefully I would not have to use your break up techniques in the future, here are the pictures. Thanks

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Dog Fight:

This is a picture of me from breaking up my two female huskies- there really should be more information out there about them becoming so mean to each other after their first heat cycle. If I knew this in advance, things could've been handled differently. Now I need to find a new home for one of them. It's kind of like finding a home for one of your children-not easy.

Best regards,

Dog Bite

Dog Fight:

I have pit bulls and 2 of my babies got in a fight and this is my arm after trying to break them up... I am open to any suggestions how to make them get along! I have 2 that I rescued... PLEASE HELP! Any advice is appreciated... Thx, Deanna

dog bite

Ed's Response:

Thanks for sending the pictures.

In my opinion you’re not going to get these dogs to get along. All you can do is manage their time. One in a dog crate while the other is out. If you don’t do this you have better get used to getting bit. 

They are nice dogs but just because you want them to be buddies does not mean you can have that.

Ed Frawley

Dog Bite:


I have 6 dogs that do not always get along.  In my attempt to break up a fight between 2 Shibas, my 4 year lab came to my rescue and pulled me out of danger.  I ended up with over 80 stitches from my ankle to my butt.

That picture should make people take notice.


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Ed's Response:

Thanks for sending this. Can you provide a little more detail on what you tried to do and how the dogs came to bite you? Did you have their collar or how did this happen?

I do think it would help people.

Ed Frawley

The Story:

I have 6 dogs (8 year old  F cockier spaniel (THE BOSS),  a 5 year old M black lab avoids conflict at all costs, 3.5 year old F Shiba, 2.5 year old F Shiba and last but not least 2 -2.5 year old M Shibas.

The 2 male Shibas cannot be within sight of each other. They will fight to kill (Teddy is 22 lbs and Joey is 35 lbs). They each have bedrooms with cages in them as they will try and go through a regular door.

Joey was at the door to Teddy's room and Teddy was not secured in his cage. I took my tennis rackets and wedged them between Joey and the door. Once I got him back he turned on the other dogs. I jumped on him and covered him with myself.  I was bit from the butt all the way down my leg, little bites though. I put Joe in his cage and tried to calm the situation. I called my sister and she left work and came over, when the remaining "shibas" heard her in the garage they started to fight. At that point I grabbed a comforter to try and cover them and split them up.  At that time Scout (110 lb lab) grabs my leg pulling me away from them. This is where the severe bites occurred. The ironic thing is he is my dog with me everywhere I go and he tore my leg up. The paramedics came and scooped up the inards of my leg wrapped it and so on.

I know I am insane, I still have all 6 dogs. I have attached several pictures of the wounds.

The Shibas are the only ones with collars.

If you would like any other info please let me know.  Also any recommendations, other than putting me in a nut house.


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Dog Bite:

A stray dog ran up to me and my dogs while on a walk. I am 9 months pregnant and my dogs reacted in a protective manner. They have never been in a fight in the 4 years I have had them. Silly me tried to break it up. Luckily it was my own dog that accidentally bit me and he instantly stopped the fighting.

Dog Bite

Cindy's Response:

I'm sorry that you were bitten, but your dogs getting in a fight almost certainly had nothing to do with you being pregnant. This is one of those myths that gets passed around, there is no truth to it.  It probably had more to do with the fact that you didn't offer them leadership and guidance about what to do when faced with this stray dog. 

Ed has written an article about being attacked by stray dogs.

We also have an article about how to break up a dog fight without being hurt.

I hope your wound heals up quickly,


Dog Bite:

I had two dogs That both were not neutered. I had Grizz, a 15 pound Shiba Inu since he was 3 months old. When Grizz was 3 years old I introduced him to a new puppy who was never quite right (I thought he was abused). We named the new puppy Alamosa. I also had 3 other dogs that were all Shiba Inus, but they were neutered or females. As Alamosa got older he challenged Grizz. They were trying to establish who was alpha. I broke up one fight that was not that bad. I had a pretty good bite on my arm and finger. I kept the dogs separate till I could get the dogs fixed. On July 4th the little Shiba Inu, Grizz got out of the room. He started to run to the back door, Alamosa thought he was coming after him. He picked Grizz up by the neck and started swinging him in circles. I panicked and didn't know what to do. My 50 pound dog was going to kill my 15 pound dog.. At first I picked Alamosa up and he dropped Grizz, but then Grizz jumped and was biting Alamosa I lost balance and fell. Then Alamosa again had Grizz by the neck.. I had Alamosa in a head lock and my hand in his mouth to keep him from biting all the way down on the little dog. I was hitting Alamosa in the head to get him to release, but he only fought harder. I also tried to pry his jaw open but it would not budge. I ended up pulling the little dog from Alamosa's mouth and throwing him out the front door. Alamosa did not try and go after the other dogs nor did they try and interfere. Alamosa did not have a scratch on him. My other dog was covered in blood. I thought it was his blood. I did not even know I was bleeding until I got to my parents house and realized my meat was hanging out of my arm. My dad drove Grizz to the Emergency Vet. Grizz had a superficial wound while I had to get five stitches. It would have been more if they stitch all dog wounds. Not only did I have a good 60 bite marks on my arms and hands but I also got bit on my foot and ribs. 

I had Grizz stay at my parents and Alamosa with me. I got both dogs neutered thinking this would solve the issue. I moved and my friend took Mosa. They had him 4 months. I went to check on Alamosa and he was starved and who knows what else. He was always a shy dog and was never social (even though he was always around people). I took Alamosa back and continued to keep him away from Grizz cause they would still challenge each other through the glass door. Then yesterday Alamosa was in the back yard and Grizz managed to get out. Alamosa went straight after Grizz. My mom had Alamosa by the hind quarters trying to pick him up. He would not release Grizz. I tried to pry his jaw open and it didn't work. I then put a metal stick in the back of Alamosa's jaw. He bit it in half. I had to hit Alamosa with a 2 by 4 for him to let go. We separated the dogs and they were both fine. They bit through one of my moms nails, and I have 5 small bites on my fingers. Now I feel I have to put Alamosa to sleep. I have tried to get him used to other people but it doesn't work. He growls and snaps at everyone. Even people he once knew. It is hard cause he is a GREAT dog, but only with me. He knows tons of tricks and is obedient with me. I can't trust him with other people or animals and can't take the risk of him hurting anyone or anything else.   

Dog Bite Dog Bite
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2 Weeks After

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Ed's Response:

Many people (vets included) feel that neutering an adult dog will change its dog aggression. They are 100% wrong. This is born out by the fact that a lot of very good police service dogs come from working dog breeders and are only sold because they have one testicle. These dogs are neutered after they are 2 years old and do not lose any aggression.

The only way neutering has any effect on aggression is if it is done around 6 months old.

In your case the safest way to manage dogs like this is with TWO DOG CRATES. One dog will always have to be in his crate when the other is out. Locking them in separate rooms is too dangerous. It’s too easy for one to slip by when you or someone else opens the door – but then you already found that out the hard way.

Your dog that growls and snaps at people needs to learn that this is inappropriate behavior. You can counter condition the dog through the use of markers and jackpotting high value treats every time a new person is around. This gets done to the point where a new person means good treats for the dog. Of course no on touches this dog – or looks at the dog or talks to the dog.  This work can be practiced on your walks where the dog encounters other people.

If this approach doesn’t work then you will need to work with our dominant dog collar.When the dog shows inappropriate aggression his front feet are lifted off the ground and he is told to “KOCK IT OFF.” This is explained in detail in my DVD titled Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

I hope this helps.

Ed Frawley

Dog Fight:

Hi Ed,

I took my three dogs for a walk down to a school yard on Sunday, I have a 95 lb. female GSD, a 4 month old GSD and a Chihuahua.

I have been taking daily walks to the school yard which is only two blocks away for the last 15 years. When we got to the South side of the school, I let them loose so that they can run and play as usual, as we proceeded to walk to the backside of the school yard, the Chihuahua was ahead, then the female GSD and the puppy GSD was next to me, all of the sudden here comes a Pit/mixed dog in full charge toward my Chihuahua, my GSD sprung and intercepted the charging dog, the fight was on and the Chihuahua ran to me and I held the puppy GSD, then two more dogs came and joined the attacked on my Dog!!

I felt helpless to help my dog because I was protecting my other two, these were three big dogs and my GSD put on a good fight but one got to her back side and ripped her skin, I was yelling at the dumb owner to get his dogs off my dog, I finally found a porch nearby and tied my two dogs there and went to help my dog.

I remembered your site on how to break up a dog fight and I grabbed one of the dogs by the hind legs and pulled him off and threw him toward his owner, he got to him and held him. I then went for the other one but he let go before I got to him and ran away, my GSD then fought off the other dog and he ran toward his owner.

I got a hold of my dog and noticed that the ripped skin was hanging on but it was a bad torn skin. I went to tie her up next to the other ones when I noticed that this Jerk was running away with his pack of aggressive dogs, I yelled at him to give me his name, but he ran toward his vehicle, I ran to catch him before he pulled out of the parking area and I got his License plate number and what he was driving, I made a report and will seek justice.

I took my dog to the emergency vet clinic and she had a 3 1/2 hours of surgery. She is in recovery mode right now and hope all goes well and we don't have to do any skin grafting later. Was I at fault here and do you think I have a case against this Jerk and his pack of vicious animals? My GSD saved the life of my Chihuahua but she paid dearly for it. Thanks for your time Ed.


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Ed's Response:

I hope you recover your medical costs from this ass hole.

I would be interested in hearing the end of the story. I am glad that my methods helped you. Best of luck with your dog. Maybe carry some of the bear spray on your walks from now on. We sell it.

Ed Frawley

Dog Fight:

Hello my name is Duna,

My dog Mylie, who is a German Shepherd, was playing in her backyard with my friends dog, Malibu, who is a Bit Mix. They got excited and my dog being a puppy went for Malibu's neck and Malibu started  attacking my dog. I grabbed the dogs by the collars and Malibu bit my forarm. I just read and watched your video, now I know how to brake dog fights apart and I will never try this by myself again! The dogs are fine, I got the worst of it! I thought I would share my Bite picture with you! Thank you for all you do!


Dog Bite

A Forearm NOT a Knee:

This was within seconds of getting fight broken up and I had a jacket on when bitten. This looks like my knee cap it is the forerarm below elbow.


Dog Bite:

I was walking my dog, a 40 lb male. His leash slipped out of my hand and he ran over to a 70 lb husky male that was also on his walk. The lady walking the husky started screaming instantly -- before the dogs had even come near each other. They started sniffing -- and fighting as I ran over. The lady backs away, pulling on her leash, screaming. I was alone and tried to grab my dog's legs and kick his jaw off. He had a grip on the other dog's neck at that point. 

I told myself I wasn't going to put my hands in the middle of it and went to grab my dog's leash to attempt to pull him off since my other tactics weren't working. It was laying on the street and I grabbed it quickly. The husky was faster though -- and reached over and put his 2 canines into my forearm and quickly released. I yanked the leash for about 5 seconds and then they both released each other. 

The 2 punctures were on either side of my forearm -- and nearly connected in the center (very deep -- as his entire tooth went through each hole). The doc loosely put one stitch in either hole since they were gaping open -- but in a way that they would drain and breathe properly.

My male had been in a fight with a very territorial female 5 months before this. The female initiated when he got close to her. Since then -- if I'm not present to control the situation and correct him when he encounters other dogs -- he fights. It happened another time when he bolted out the front door that wasn't latched properly and started fighting with a male beagle about his size who was walking by the house. 

We have another dog -- a 65 lb female that he plays with great. She is very gentle and will ignore him and walk away if she doesn't want to play. Sometimes, however, if she has a bone he wants, he whines and is scared to go near her and retrieve it. (Makes me question his dominance).

I walk them daily -- they both walk by my side. I'm frustrated with the male's aggression in uncontrolled surprise encounters. If you have any tips or insight for me -- I would greatly appreciate it. I'm very inclined to take him to a trainer for professional help -- but money is tight.

In the house, and in situations where other dogs aren't present -- he is HIGHLY obedient. He knows if I don't approve of his behavior and rolls on his back in submission when I simply approach him and give him "the look." He has never shown any aggression towards humans. 

He is easily trainable and I try to be consistent and work with him often -- but still he fights with dogs in uncontrolled situations. I recently watched a chihuahua in our house for 2 weeks and he would sniff curiously -- but avoided him besides that. There are a pair of female St. Bernards that they meet with and they surround him and he shows no aggression towards. They are unleashed and my dogs are leashed. 

Thank you,
Take care,


Dog bite dog bite
dog bite dog bite

Dog Fight:

My boyfriend and I took our Jack Russell/Pug to the dog park where he was in the pen with about eight other dogs and they were all doing fine. A large Pitt-bull/Terrier mix came into the pen with his owner and three children. It happened so fast--the attack, that my dog would have been killed if Chris, (my boyfriend) did not intervene. I know that Chris almost lost his thumb while saving my dog, but my dog, Tucker,  would have surely been dead if he hadn't. I think Chris was extremely lucky that he didn't lose his thumb or experience much more serious injuries as once the jaws lock it's impossible to get them open. I'm not sure why the dog let go but Chris pulled our dog, Tucker up off the ground by his harness and that's when he got bitten. The dog was trying to latch on to our dog again after Chris got him off the ground. I was reading your advice on the web about breaking up dog fights and in retrospect it all makes sense. However, what doesn't make sense is going to a dog park in the first place because you never know what type of dog you'll encounter. That was surely Tucker's last trip to a dog park and ours as well!!!

Below is a picture of our little dog, Tucker (22 lbs.) who was prey to the larger aggressor who had to weigh about 130 lbs. Big dogs and little dogs don't mix...


Let me know if you need to know anything else. As of now we aren't sure about the prognosis of Chris's thumb--nerve, tissue, ligament damage etc. as it just happened yesterday. They gave him about 8 stitches but now we are learning that you aren't supposed to stitch dog bites. However, since this went down to the bone--they had no choice.

Dog Bite
dog bite dog bite

Dog Fight:

Enclosed are two pictures: the first, is a bite I had from a pit-bull three summers ago. I was trying to keep my dogs away from an iron gate where the pit was, and made the mistake of giving the pit-bull my back! He grabbed my leg, but didn't tug nor pull (thank God). The moment I felt him clasp down, I ever so slightly, moved forward, that's what tore my leg! It had to be simultaneously, because as soon as i felt it, I turned and opened his mouth with my hands, he immediately let go!!! The second, is a picture of my dogs at "play!" This is not the first time that I've been bitten! I actually had an encounter with an Akita when I was 9 years old! He was biting into my scull for more than 30 minutes!! Not more than three months later, that same dog bit me again, this time on the face!! All together, I've had 85 stitches from dog bites!! Being the resilient male that I am, I'm truly a pack leader now and everyone who sees my dogs with me, can tell.


Dog Bite Dogs

Ed's Response:

Not many emails of dog bite make me cringe anymore – yours did. You are a tough SOB.

Thanks for sending these photos. I will include them in my newsletter. Too many new dog trainers underestimate the potential for injury when handling dogs and dog fights. You learned this lesson the hard way. I believe your story will help others.

Ed Frawley

More of the Story:

I thought that will get a cringe out of you! It was a big ordeal! the cops showed up before the ambulance did and they kept wanting me to show my leg to the new arrival of cops! They where just as astonished as you were! What made them freak out, was the fact that I was totally cool and calm! I was joking around flashing them my leg and laughing at their reactions! Needless to say that my adrenaline was off the charts!! I was just soooo happy that "hammer" the pit, let me go!! I was expecting the worse! I could have been really hurt, you know?  But like you said, I am a tough SOB!

Ed's Question:

Did you have to have surgery? How did they fix that – I can't imagine they just flushed it out and stitched it up???

How long was your recovery?

Ed Frawley


A plastic surgeon did stitch me up and flush it, but thank god it wasn't a long healing time. I was on crutches for three weeks and i even put out a fire at school, running on one leg to get the hose from the stairway!!! The scar healed up amazingly, I must say!

Dog Fight:

My two border collies got into it and I was dumb enough to get in the middle. Three stitches later I am ok.  Luckily there was no serious damage.


Dog Bite Dog Bite

Dog Attack:

We did everything wrong in bringing a new dog in to our pack, and, apparently, weren't living correctly with that pack anyway. A massive 4 way dog fight ensued, one was almost killed, and we got the living sh*t bit out of us breaking it up. Now we are starting from scratch with the "Establishing Pack Structure" video. We also will watch the "Dominant and Aggressive Dogs" video as well. We wonder if the dogs can ever be left alone together outside, presuming we actually work your program? Cindy said no, and like a patient trying to find a doctor to tell them what they want to hear, I'm asking you. No disrespect to Cindy. Right now they are all sleeping quietly on their assigned pads in the living room. But I never know if a big blow up will occur. We are keeping them separated during the day, walking them all together at night, and have totally regulated their behavior in a way we never did before.

Rhae Leigh has healed beautifully, she's minus one ear, she nearly died at one point! Now she's running around like it never happened. $7,000.00 later.

Photo quality a little crappy for your website, just included for your info. Of course, you've seen it all before.
Thanks to God my hand healed, I'm a surgeon. I KNEW not to stick my hand in there, but the wheelbarrow trick didn't work. They were locked on to Rhae Leigh like a vice. If push comes to shove, we could re-home the new guy, we never had trouble prior to that. But, as you say, it was our fault, not his. We thought we had a good pack structure, but we were really not all the way there. And yes, we are Cesar fans. Now I don't know what to think of him. That acupuncture crap just made me wonder if he has spent WAY too much time in L.A.


Dog Bite dog
dog bite dog
dog bite dog

Ed's Response:

Cindy is a better dog trainer than I am I suggest that you follow her advice on keeping these dogs separated for life and running them all through pack structure.

Ed Frawley

Dog Fight:

Hello Ed,

One of my puppy purchasers called me in hysterics yesterday. Her 2 year old male german shepherd had just been attacked by a pit bull while she was visiting her daughter. Because she had visited your website, she was able to tell a neighbour who came to help to grab the pit bull by the hind legs and pull him off her dog. Fortunately the neighbour was a big strong man, and the pit bull let go as soon as his hind legs came off the ground. The pit bull was in the red zone and we are sure without the right intervention, her german shepherd would have been killed. It could have been much worse. Attached are photos.

I always provide my puppy buyers with your DVD, Your puppy 8 weeks to 8 months, and suggest they visit your website to have a look at various articles, such as how to break up a dog fight. Fortunately she took my advice and your website was there.

Once again, a big thank you from a very grateful dog owner and the breeder for all your hard work and dedication.


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Ed & Cindy,

Thanks for all the great information you have provided me through your website and online store. I’ve purchased you "Establishing Pack Leader" and "Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs" which have really taught my wife and I a lot and helped our three year old GSD behave like a gentleman.

When we first got our male GSD at the age of seven months old, he had absolutely no training and showed signs of what we were told was fear aggression toward dogs and children. His original owners told us that the only time he even wore a collar was to go to the vet. The family gave us a sob-story about allergies and had to give him up. We believe a seven month old GSD with no training was just too much for them to handle.  

Upon bringing him home, we immediately purchased a prong collar and put him in training. A woman in our class turned me on to your website and we purchased your DVD’s shortly after. Marshal (our GSD) is now a Canine Good Citizen, certified Therapy Dog and is working on his Rally Excellent and should receive his third leg of his CD next weekend. 

Anyways… last week, our neighbor’s dog (who has very little training and is not fenced) crossed over our invisible fence and Marshal started to "scrap" with him. As soon as I heard what was going on, I called him to me.  He came to me immediately and the other dog took off back into his own yard.  Neither dog was injured and it appeared to be a lot of trash-talking. 

Shortly after that, I was walking Marshal on lead and the dog got loose again and charged us. 

I did two things to defuse the situation. The first… which as I was doing it thought to myself "this is wrong"… was to get my leg in between the two. While I knew it was wrong, my brain didn’t talk to me leg fast enough and I got bit (by my own dog). It wasn’t bad and just barely broke the skin – barely enough to even send you a picture. I know it was completely my fault and do not blame either dog. I’ve watched your video and read your newsletter and I know better. 

The second thing I did… after pausing for a milli-second was to think…"What would Ed do?"  I remembered your instructions is how to break up a dog fight and yelled…as loud as I could "Marshal… SIT"  and to the other dog "Get the h*ll out of here" (I think those were your exact words from the video). My dog sat… and the other ran away back to his house. I was amazed that it actually worked. 

I went back home, cleaned my wound and reminded my wife what she should / should not (I showed her my leg) do if that ever happens again.  

Your newsletters, podcasts, DVDs and articles are all great. I commend you for the work you do with dogs and the information you make available to other dog owners. Now if you could only find a way to make all dog owners wake up and follow your advice…

Dog Fight:

Our pittie mix (a rescue from the dog rescue where I volunteer) has been best friends with our grown daughter’s pit for a year now. The other day, they were outside with a bone and began a vicious fight. Our dog and our daughter were hurt pretty bad before we were able to break it up. I wish we had read your website so we would have known how to handle the fight without getting hurt. My daughter was hurt pretty bad (see photos) during the fight when our dog bit her. We were very upset, ready to have her put down, even though she had never been aggressive before. I can’t have a dog that bites people with my grandkids around. We read your website and realized that she was not trying to hurt our daughter. Thank God, and you, that we now have tools to handle a fight if we should ever experience that again. My daughter and I are going to keep our dogs muzzled (both purchased from your site) any time they are near other dogs just to be sure this never happens again.

Thank you!


Dog Fight:

Because I stayed calm and used your method of breaking up a dog fight, I avoided being one of your gruesome photos on your Dog Bite site.

While I didn’t execute the break-up perfectly, I surely did things in a much safer manner! I have 2 Aussies that are siblings. I feed the female (the aggressor) in the kitchen and the male in the living room, mostly so the female doesn’t go after the male’s food. He normally submits to her.

Well, I’ve started using the Honest Kitchen raw dog food and they both really love it! This time when the female tried to raid the males bowl, the male said no way and their first real fight ensued. I have to say, my first instinct was to reach for a collar, but then I stopped, collected myself and went and got 2 belts. I slipped one belt around the female’s back hip area and basically dragged them both over to a door. I secured the belt to the door handle. I then put the 2nd belt around the male and pulled him up off his feet and he let go. There was some blood but nothing too bad.

I work in the aviation safety business and a rule of thumb is, in an emergency, your brain will take you back to the last training you had. This was the case for me. So please remind all your readers to LISTEN TO THE SAFETY BRIEFING and look for your exits when you get on board an aircraft. You’ll be the one that knows how to get out!

Best Regards,

Dog Fight:

October 20, 2011

Thank you for the great article about HOW TO BREAK UP A DOG FIGHT.

This photo was taken just after the doctor finished some loose stitching both inside the wound and outside, leaving the drain to do it's thin.

The circumstances were that a very aggressive 45 lb. dog broke away from its owner's hold on the leash, circled around in front of my 85 lb Black Lab/Cane Corso mix and blocked our way barking and showing all its teeth - practically foaming at the mouth.
My dog is very alpha so his hair immediately went up on his back and he readied for a fight. As I held him back by his leash, a third dog (from the aggressor's pack) pulled the owner towards the scene and sunk his fangs into my leg just the owner pulled him away thus tearing deep into the leg and god for a five inch tear - exposing the muscle.

The dogs never fought.

Moral of the story: keep aggressive dogs as far away as possible from other dogs and make damn sure you have a tight grip on the leash.

dog bite - leg

Dog Fight:

October 26, 2011

This is from breaking up a fight between a shepherd and a golden retriever. The shepherd bit me.

Dog Fight:

November 10, 2011

So glad to find your article after being bitten by my Old English Bulldogge when trying to stop a fit with my other dog Pointer/Pitbull mix. The bulldog grabbed my arm and would not let go. You don't see the 5th puncture wound on the back of my arm.

dog bite Dog bite

Dog Fight:

November 22, 2012

My family has been involved in rescue for almost 20 years. Not until recently I have recently have we had an issues with 2 of our dogs. I have a 6 year old female Aussie Mix, Quinn and a 4-5yr old Pit bull mix, Scarlett. Both of which are very loving and friendly dogs that we have had for years. They were always together in the yard and in the house. Within the last year, they have become vicious towards each other with no apparent reason, to the point where on sight, they attack to kill and we must keep them totally separated. This becomes an issue as I have 4 other dogs who they both love to play with. The last time that they got into a fight was in my kitchen. My mother let Quinn out of her room thinking that Scarlett was locked in my bedroom. As it turns out Scarlett was in the front yard with the rest of the dogs and needless to say a terrible fight broke out as soon as they saw each other. My 17 year old brother had attempted to break them apart and ended up getting the tip of his middle finger on his right hand bit off, (hanging on by a thread). Believe it or not the Aussie was responsible not the pit (bit through the bone).

My brother has made a full recovery but I feel as if this is being put off just for another time for another incident. I feel that there is some way to work through this without having to get rid of my dog who I consider a part of my family. I have a male Saint/ Newfoundland mix, a Great Dane, a Pug and a female Patter dale terrier that both of them play fine with. I am despite for any help with my situation. I would not feel right finding either of my girls a home with their history. And the alternative to getting rid of one is not an option for me.

dog bite

dog bite

Dog Fight:

July 5, 2012

I was reading your website about what to do in a dog fight (a little too late). Here is a picture of my arm after trying to break up a fight between my 2 dogs.

My husband and I were walking my daughter's dog and our two dogs (using a double leash). A man with a pitbull came down the street so we stepped aside to let him pass. Instead of walking by, he stopped and had his dog sit and it appeared that he wanted his dog to appear that it was challenging our dogs. My two dogs started fighting and when I tried to break them up, I got biten. These two dogs (one a pitbull/yellow lab and the other a german shepherd mix) have gotten into several fights recently.

On one hand, they walk together on the double leash and are fine. The next minute, they are going after each other.

I thought you might want to see the bite and hear the story. What should we do? We love them both and don't want to part with either one.

Dog Bite

Cindy's Response:


I'm so sorry that you were injured, I hope the bite heals quickly.

If you spend some time reading this section on dog fights, you'll see that your problems are very common. I've received 6 or 7 emails just today from dog owners with very similar problems. If you don't teach the dogs your rules, they can't possibly behave how you want them to.

I would not walk them on a double leash, I would walk each one separately with one person handling a dog.

I would recommend dominant dog collar for them and the videos Pack Structure for the Family Pet and Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

I also would not allow these dogs to be together unless you had physical control of them.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top right corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it's very likely you'll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

Dog Bite:

August 27, 2012

Sorry for the graphic pics, but it tells the story better. Our jack Russell got into it with my year old lab. Rather than have a dead jack I intervened, ( misteaks) she was in a different place in her mind, bit me to the point of canines about an inch deep in 4 places. The jack Russell did all the biting on me. I am buying a co2 extinguisher, sounds like an awesome idea. It will be a week before I can move my wrist! Hope this convinces some people to stay out of it.

dog bite on arm and hand

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