Breaking up a fight with 2 or 3 dogs

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Breaking up a fight with 2 or 3 dogs

Postby Red » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:07 am

Do we have a sticky somewhere?If not I think it could be helpful so those who might be in those ugly situations can be helped by some information easy to find here.I will share my methods, for what they are worth, and others will have some good advice to keep available.

Three dogs are much harder to deal with then two, especially if one is alone.The following works for two although an experienced person will handle two faster and with less work.
I have 5 dogs here and as a general rule no more than two can interact with each other at a time because I am often alone and, truth to be told, two are enough to deal with.In the yard especially, because they have much more room to move than inside the house.And they move fast
If two of your pit bulls somewhat end up in someone else's yard (big no no) or in contact with someone else's pet don't loose your mind and get over there without nothing.A breaking stick, or parting stick, can work when there is a solid hold and pit bulls are involved.If two pit bulls get in contact with another dog and one starts a fight, the other one is not sitting back watching the show eating popcorns.If he hasn't jumped in he will most likely do it.Even if at least one of your dogs is generally mellow don't count on this to be a rule, given the circumstances.

The first thing to do is to get two leashes.Keep extras leashes and several breaking sticks around the house and in the yard so no matter where you are you will find them quickly.Get your stick, the leashes and go to the dogs.Yes, you might hear the screaming of the dog who is being targeted, especially if he is of a breed different than a pit bull and can't stand up for himself.You waste precious time trying to deal with the situation without nothing.Think before you move and get something.

Get to the dogs and determine which one has no hold, if there is one.The reason is that while you use your stick on the dog who is holding, the other is free to move and can also get a hold.Put a leash on the moving dog and drag him by the fence as fast as you can.Don't be worried about being nice or yell "go away", it won't work with most pit bulls.Unless it is the beginning of a scrap and the dogs are not in full fight drive.You may yell a "enough!", loud but without panicking, and the dog might give you the time to run to them before things escalate.If the fight is serious drag that dog and secure him to a fence or whatever is available.I keep all my dogs with collars, for that reason.
Once that dog is restrained go take care of the dog who is holding. Practicing where to insert the stick is a must.You can't waste time figuring out in between what teeth it has go into when they are killing each other.Before you do that put the leash on and wrap your legs slightly in front of the stifle/hind quarters.Most of the power comes from the rear.Do your best to avoid for your dog to shake, because shaking will cause tissue damage.On a little dog it can be devastating.Put a hand on the collar to hold the head in place and insert the stick .Turn it like it was a motorcycle throttle and open the dog's mouth enough to release the hold.Do not drag a holding dog, it will tear tissues.Breaking teeth is not the issues right now, do what you have to do.Breaking sticks are generally made of soft or medium wood and won't brake teeth if inserted correctly.If you have to use a bit more force so be it.You have to "work it in" a little.If you can't really stick it in, for whatever reason, get that stick inside the collar.One hand on each end.Twist it and cut air supplies.Only as much you need it for the dog to let go for a moment, then pull him away.You will have the leash on already so you can drag him away.
Don't let go of the dog no matter what , because most likely he will try to go back and grab again.

Drag him away and secure him far enough from the other pit bull.In the heat of the moment they might get on each other, still in fight drive and arousal time.
When this is done focus on the non pit bull and move him to where he is safe.Smaller dogs go into shock rather fast so they might collapse on the ground, without fighting back.Others, if no seriously injured, might try to get at your dogs so keep your eyes open.

Other breeds are not as safe to handle as pit bulls and will lash out, getting whatever is in the way, because they are in pain, panic and redirect, which includes targeting you or your hands.Evaluate the situation and keep your hands away from dogs who panic and you do not know so well.A breaking stick is not for those dogs, they usually don't hold but bite and release and it is not safe to mess around their mouth while they try to survive.

If all this happens inside you home, shove one dog after the other into a room and make sure you close the door.It is still best that you at least secure one of them since they won't give up the fight so easily.

There is another device that some folks keep around, which can stop any dog without permanent injuries, and it is only to be used in a real emergency.It has been advertised by some pit bull folks (and not only) and, although I own a couple for extreme emergencies, I don't feel to promote it on here in a wishy washy way.Many people stop being careful about the management and rely on it.Management and breaking sticks are the first choice.I carry it on my walks as well.While I do not have problems handling my own dogs in a fight I am not going to stick my hands near the mouth of a 100 pound rottweiller or other large breed dog who is not giving up and try to kill my animals.

Where to insert the breaking stick? Some people stick it in the space behind the the molars but there is also a very small gap behind the canines, before the first premolar.At times it works there as well, with thinner stick.
Here is the anatomy of a dog's mouth, so you know which teeth we are talking about:


There are a few website that offer breaking sticks.PBRC being one.The money go to homeless pit bulls so it is for a good cause if you buy them trough them.They are out of stock now but will be back soon:

This is what they look like:


If you know of other reliable websites for purchase please post them.I am looking for something smaller to carry on walks so I'd appreciate the info.
If you are handy enough you can make your own, choosing the wood you prefer.Not something too hard, or it might damage teeth.All it is is a hammer handle-sized piece of material with handle end and a flat, wedge-shaped end.What you insert is the flatter part.The length is generally 5 to 8 inches, width 1 to 2 inches.It is inserted up to 1 1/2 inches in the dog's mouth.Impact nylon is also another material that can be used.

Probably needles to say, but if you carry a breaking stick on walks please do not stick it on your jeans back pockets like some folks like to do.It is responsible of you to carry one but nobody really needs to see it unless you in the position to have to use it.The average Joe does not realize that our dogs defending themselves should have the right to do so.Somehow they are always blamed so we are the ones who have to do damage control.Use a fanny pack, or something.

Also needless to say (or not?)...they are bulldogs you own.Even your pet buddy, no game bred, rescued, from breeders of show dogs, back yard bred dog, found in the street and what not still has a certain background.Please understand that while a fight is something ugly to witness, anger gets in the way, we might be scared, and don't know how to deal with our emotions right away, we still chose to own a breed that is not for everyone.There is a reason for that.Don't blame your dogs for being what they are.The choice to get them was yours.

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Postby ChickOStick » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:16 am

I hope that I never need this information, but if I do....THANKS!

You people amaze me all the time with all of your good info!

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Postby BabyReba » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:31 pm

thank you for posting this, red. it's absolutely fantastic information.

all i want to add to it is, it is very easy to panic and start screaming and freaking out when dogs fight. but you really need to keep a clear head and think while you work to separate the dogs. it will be hard and it will be scary, but your dogs' well being depends on you keeping cool and doing what needs to be done.

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Postby kcalbat » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:09 pm

sticky sticky sticky!

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Postby BabyReba » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:11 pm

i'm trying to figure out how to make it a sticky, and then it will be one. be right back once i figure this out!

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Postby turtle » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:37 am

Yes, the main thing is to keep a cool head and keep calm. Screaming and yelling and hitting the fighting dogs does no good and can make things worse.

Here is a classic article on how to use a breaking stick by Howard Heinzl who was a well known old time breeder and bulldog enthusiast: ... e-one.html

"What is a breaking stick and how do I use one?"

written by Michael Bur as per Howard Heinzl

"In the late 1970s through the late 1980s I lived down the street from
one of the most famous APBT breeders of all time, the late Howard Heinzl.
Those of you familiar with the breed will immediately recognize his name.
It was he who first showed me the use of a "Breaking Stick". Other folks
call it a "Parting Stick". If you're around the breed long enough you
will eventually witness an accidental fight and it was one of these
occasions where I was introduced to the "Breaking Stick". I was visiting
Howard one day when one of his bitches, (in heat), got out of her kennel,
ran over to one of the other bitches on Howard's yard and YEEHA, they
started to fight. Howard calmly walked into the house, came out with
what looked like a contoured door stop and tossed it to me. I said,
"what the heck is this thing?" He had one too. He said "it's a breaking
stick" and that I should quit talking and get my ass over to where the two
bitches were trying to kill each other. With a 5 second tutorial from
Howard I was able to help him break the dogs apart in about 10 or 15
seconds and that, my friends, is considered slow! I became a believer
in breaking sticks from that point on.


There comes a time in the life of every dog, be it a small terrier
or the powerful APBT, when it will get into some sort of a scrap.
Those of you who frequent dog shows for the APBT will no doubt
eventually be witness to dogs getting loose and starting a fight.
So, what happens when they are serious? Well, each dog will bite
the other, take hold and start to shake its head punishingly.
It is so serious that in most cases nothing you do will cause the
dog/bitch to give up that precious hold! Nothing! Choking, shocking,
etc...It just doesn't matter!


Known by both names. It is a very hard piece of wood or some
other material suitable for the purpose of spreading a dog's
jaws apart. It is usually about 5 to 8 inches in length,
wedge shaped and contoured to prevent injury to the dog's
lips. Its width is about 1 to 2 inches.


Okay, imagine two dogs engaged in serious combat and each
one has a very good hold on the other. Now, I'm assuming
there are two of you and you are both right handed.

STEP 1) Walk over to the dogs and as simultaneous as possible
step over, straddle and then lock your legs around the
dog's hips just in front of the hind quarters. Make sure
your legs are locked securely around the dog.

STEP 2) With your free/left hand grab a handful of skin from the
back/nap of the neck and pull upward as if you are a mother
canine picking up a young puppy. A strong grip on the skin
is needed here. We are accomplishing two things, one
is to neutralize the mobility of the dog by locking
our legs around it's hips and the other is to neutralize
mobility of the front torso by way of a skin hold on the
back of the dog's neck.

Before I continue with STEP 3, let's review what has now happened.
Not wanting to let go, the dogs are still holding on to each other and
each handler has his dog in a tight leg squeeze just in front of the
stifle/hind quarters while at the same time holding the dogs front
section by way of skin on the back of the dog's neck.

Sidebar: When looking in your dog's mouth notice a gap where the
teeth do not meet. This 'pre molar' area is why the breaking stick is
so effective.

STEP 3) Each handler inserts his breaking stick in the pre molar
area where the gap is found. Sometimes you need to work the
stick just a bit if your dog is biting real hard. The
stick should be inserted from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches into the
dog's mouth.

STEP 4) Now, as if you're twisting the throttle of a motor cycle,
so too you must twist the breaking stick. This is the action
that spreads the dog's jaws far enough apart so that you can
now pull back with the other hand. Viola, the dog is off!
I like to also use my legs for those big dogs when pulling
them off.

It is that simple.

Now, I have a few comments about the mechanics of a dog fight. The
first is that ALL dogs use their hind quarters for both leverage and
mobility and it is the most important place to start when stopping a
fight. Once you remove the back end from the equation you've stopped
75% of a fight. It's amazing, most of the time you'll see the
dogs quit shaking and moving as soon as they feel their hind quarters
locked by your legs. They almost freeze! Once their movement is under
control it's super easy to grab the neck and insert the stick.

Holding the neck with your free hand helps prevent a dog from biting
you while stopping the fight. I've broken lots of accidental fights
and all those times I have never been bitten by an APBT. But, I have
been biten by other breeds because of the way they fight.

My final comment is that with a little practice you can stop a
serious dog fight in about 5 seconds, on the average. It's so easy
you can't believe it, straddle/grab/break and you're finished! No
unnecessary damage due to pulling, beating or whatever else one
might employ!

So, the next time you're playing with your dog, open the mouth
and you'll see the GAP I mentioned. Then, when you get your 'stick',
just play tug-o-war or have the dog grab something and try your
breaking stick then."


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Postby kcalbat » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:13 pm

aaaaaaaaaannnd I win.

great great info. Hope Ill never need it.

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Postby pinkcow » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:48 am

A water hose works great, if you have a fight in your yard, etc. I foster a lot and sometimes when my dog is playing with the foster dog, until I get to know the foster real well, I am out there with a water hose, ready to break up a fight.

Definately panicking, screaming :po: , HITTING, crying :crybaby: , only ESCELATES the situation. You are feeding into the dog's hightened state.

If there are two people available, I heard that taking dogs by their back legs or waist, each on one dog, and pulling them away from each other works. Does this work on pitbulls? If one has a bite hold on another would it let go or are you making that bite cause damage? has breaking sticks for sale I believe, last time I checked...

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Postby KadillacGrrl » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:46 am

pinkcow, you got lucky. water and a whole lot of other things like that will not deter a bulldog intent on REALLY fighting. It might stop some half assed scrap or a cur, and most other breeds. I have a friend who has thrown two dogs gripped on each other in his swimming pool (that worked, they don't want to drown).

You can sometimes break up dogs (again, usually other breeds or pit bulls that aren't real serious) by the "wheelbarrow" method. You have to be really careful not to twist off a dog that's got a good grip because you'll tear the other dog up more.

The smartest thing you can do if you are alone is get one of the dogs tied off to something solid, so when you do get them apart they can't just run back at each other. One of my Badrap compadres tied one of her dogs to her piano!

I bought my breakstick from Badrap. It's a nice hardwood axe handle tapered in to a wedge with a string on the end to hang it up with.

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Postby pinkcow » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:44 pm

thanks KadillacGrrl.
My pits aren't serious fighters and most of my fosters haven't been very DA so I am lucky. I have a million leashes everywhere, just what happens when you do a lot of rescue, so that's good!
My only question is this:
So you have two pits fighting and one has a really strong grip on the other one's neck (for example). They are in the middle of the yard with nothing close you can tie them to. You want to use a column near your backporch but that is 20 feet away from the fight.
So when you go to tie one of the dogs, how do you do this? Do you grab the one biting from behind and drag him/her 20 feet? Or the one being bit? And does that cause the bite to create more damage? Do you use the break stick first then drag the dogs? The only thing I am confused about. Any tips would helpful, thanks...

I do need to get a breakstick, and a pool would be nice too. ;)

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Postby Red » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:16 pm

So you have two pits fighting and one has a really strong grip on the other one's neck (for example). They are in the middle of the yard with nothing close you can tie them to. You want to use a column near your backporch but that is 20 feet away from the fight.
So when you go to tie one of the dogs, how do you do this? Do you grab the one biting from behind and drag him/her 20 feet? Or the one being bit? And does that cause the bite to create more damage? Do you use the break stick first then drag the dogs? The only thing I am confused about.

Get your stick (get at least one asap) and break the two dogs off.Then good luck dragging one away safely.You will have to do your best to keep one dog by you and the other far enough not to come in contact.At least till you can secure one of them.I would not suggest to pick up a dog and carry him to the column.The other can grab a leg, face, knock you over, and then you have to start all over again.A leg, or other tissues, with the body weight of a dog pulling down on it, due to gravity, is not going to do any good.Are you a woman, pinkcow?Perhaps a tall and strong man can hold one of the dogs above his shoulder and still keep the other away.I am 117 pounds, 5 foot and 4 inches tall and have dogs that can jump way over 6 feet so is not going to work that well.I leave both dogs on the ground, unless one is injured enough that he does not move fast, or is in shock.
The reason why I keep something else for emergencies is that two bulldogs in full fight drive are not always that easy to stop, when one is alone.They do their best to go back at killing each other, if it was that serious from the beginning.

Some folks believe that the breaking stick is the only way for bulldog owners. "If dog fighters used them for years then that is all you need..".Circumstances can be different and therefore what needs to be done.
There were two handlers in the box during a match, and sometime during yard fights.Quite an important difference.In that case, yes, all that is needed is a breaking stick.And smart handlers.One handler per dog ends up things quickly.In a fight between pit bulls there can be two holds at the same time as well, from both dogs.Just to add to the "fun", when one is alone.

Pinkcow, something that might come handy when two dogs are fighting in the yard are chain set ups.I keep two, one in each yard (my back yard is divided in two parts)They are in the middle of both areas, which can be helpful when alone and two dogs are out there.If they are near the chain pipes then I can have one tied there.If they are by the fence I can use that.Kennels in both areas as well, so I can just shove one dog in.
If you have nothing at all in your yard I would leave a leash (or short cable, whatever) on your column.And collars on your dogs.And maybe a crate out there.

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Postby Red » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:24 pm

Maybe some video might help those who have never used a breaking stick.
The videos are of one of my females playing on the flirtpole.A breaking stick is used to make her release.Of course this is a lighter situation than a real fight but you can get an idea of where the stick can be inserted and how to "work it in".The tug toy is rabbit fur so it is especially valuable to Tigger and when she grabs she is not wiling to release.Sometime she holds it with her front teeth and sometime the tug is all the way to the back of the mouth.
I pull the toy up, so it is easier to see the stick.Of course, there is no pulling done in the case of a fight.You will see that it takes me only a few seconds to open her mouth so the stick can be a useful tool.
I have some video of Tux on the flirtpole and he tends to shut his mouth even closer when he sees the breaking stick.There is very little room to work with and it might be helpful to see.As soon as I upload the videos I will post them.
Hope it helps.

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Postby akaspaddero » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:18 pm

CARP~! I can't get the video's to load.

Any suggestions?

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Postby pblove » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:06 pm

akaspaddero wrote:CARP~! I can't get the video's to load.

Any suggestions?

I have dial up and they won't load for me either?

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Postby concreterose » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:21 pm

a lot of times quick time is have to give it a while.

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