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Intervene in dog game: When game becomes serious


Most dogs like to play and romp with their peers for their lives. However, if a dog game becomes a dog fight, you must intervene as the owner. The difficult thing is that you have to recognize whether an intervention is really necessary or whether the fur noses cannot regulate the situation themselves. Dogs often regulate problems among themselves - but occasionally it has no purpose and dog owners should intervene - Shutterstock / Ksenia Raykova

A dog game can sometimes look very gruff, it is scuffled, hunted, raged, rolled and (playfully) bitten. In the guide "Dogs and their behavior: different styles" you can find out more about playing with four-legged friends. You can usually tell when a dog fight becomes a dog fight by clear signs - often even before there is a first contact between two dogs.

Before the game: recognize signs of "risk game"

You can try to "read" the situation before your dog and another dog start to play. These body signals are not good signs:

  • • Frontal, very careful approach with tense posture
  • • Staring and lurking with gaze fixation
  • • Direct barking and growling
  • • Slow movements and stiffening (straight legs, raised tail, etc.)
  • • Constant defense against snooping

If you can detect such signals, it is almost certain that no game will develop from them. Regardless of whether your dog is the one who drives the antipathy towards the other or the foreign dog - do not force the two to play (in general, you should never force dogs to contact their peers). Retreat with your four-legged friend or continue walking together.

Then a dog game becomes a dog fight

A balanced and harmonious dog game takes place under constant change of roles. As a rule, dogs alternately play the part of the hunter and the hunted in a hunting game or alternately submit to each other in a row. The dogs have fun, are excited and respect each other. Even if things can get going and bites and attacks are hinted at, none of the game partners usually get injured. Playful barking and growling also only serves the game. However, it can always happen that the game becomes serious and you as the holder have to intervene or interrupt the game. Signs that make cancellation necessary:

  • • The dogs fight seriously and bite properly
  • • A dog has an injury
  • • A dog howls and is in pain
  • • A dog escapes to the owner or owner (never send the dog back!)
  • • One dog depresses the other longer
  • • A dog stiffens and freezes in motion
  • • One dog keeps shielding the other, blocking him and cutting off the path
  • • One dog constantly drags and pisses the other
  • • A dog shows clear signs of stress and fear (makes itself small, shows appeasement signals such as yawning frequently)

Should you notice these and other signs during the game, you can assume that it is no longer an exuberant dog game. At least one dog is no longer enjoying it and the game should end immediately.

Dogs and bullying: When the dog harasses others

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End dog quarrel: stay calm

If your dog is being mobbed, bullied, or attacked by another dog, first try to get your dog to call you back. If that doesn't work, go and get your dog out of the situation. At best, the partner's owner or mistress also goes to the four-legged friends, so that both can be separated in peace. If your dog is very scared or very stressed, create a so-called "safe haven" by crouching down and taking your fur nose between your legs.

Under no circumstances should you roar or scream if you notice a dog game escalating into a dog fight - this would make the heated situation worse. If dogs notice that the people around them panic, this will escalate. You can find more information on how to intervene in a dog quarrel, for example in the guide: "Dog quarrel on a dog meadow: How to behave correctly".