Skip to Content

How To Prevent Dog on Dog Attacks

how prevent dog on dog attacks

A trip to the dog park is an ideal opportunity to let your dog off leash and play with other dogs. However, what would you do if a dog started to approach yours that did not look so nice? 

Imagine this dog approaching yours at speed. It has that intense, focused look in its eyes, the hair is standing up on the back of his neck, and its movements are stiff. You know this animals intentions are not those of a dog wanting to have a romp and some fun. 

This is a full dog on dog attack developing, and your dog does not have a clue what is about to hit him. What do you do? How can you defend your innocent little hound from the approaching danger?

Just Walk Away

In most situations, the best course of action is to call your dog to you and put him on the lead. Then simply walk away from the troublesome dog showing confidence and purpose with every step you take. If your dog is a small animal, you could even pick him up and walk away with him in your arms.

When your dog comes to you give him a treat or distract him with a toy. You want his attention to be firmly focused on you. As you walk away, make sure your dog ignores everything but you until you are out of danger (this is a skill you should practice at home during training sessions). 

Use an Umbrella or Walking Stick

An umbrella or a sturdy walking stick can be a very useful aid whilst out walking your dog. An umbrella will protect you from the rain and a stick can help you walk over difficult ground. However, few dog owners realize that they can also be a very good way of defending your pet when another dog attacks.

The wrong way to use an umbrella or stick is as a weapon to beat the aggressive dog with.

Instead, get in between your dog and the attacking dog. Then, face the attacking dog, and push the umbrella release button. The shock of an umbrella suddenly appearing will stop the aggressive dog in its tracks. If it does not stop the other dog, then you can use it as a shield to protect your dog from harm. 

With the stick, your aim is to fend off the attack by getting it in between the attacking dog and your dog. Use the stick to keep the two dogs apart until the attacking dog stops its attack or you can safely recover your dog.

Pepper or Citrus Spray

Many dog owners recommend using pepper spray or citrus spray to break up dog on dog attacks. When the dog attacks, they squirt some spray into its face. This acts as an irritant causing him to stop the attack. The effects soon wear off and do not cause any long-term harm.

Personally, I recommend that you do not use pepper or citrus sprays. There is always a risk that the wind might blow the spray back at you and your dog. It can also sometimes lead to the attacking dogs owner becoming aggressive towards you. They argue that you have just attacked their dog, and however unfair it may seem; they could have a valid point.

Much less controversial would be to squirt the attacking dog with water from a water pistol. Another approach is to shine a bright light in the dog’s eyes to temporarily blind him. Alternatively, you could sound a loud air horn to frighten the other dog away.

Yell Commands

Putting your hand up in the stop position and yelling commands such as “GET,” “NO,” and “SIT” will sometimes stop an approaching dog from attacking. To add more force to your commands take a step towards the oncoming dog when you give them.

Throw Treats

Throw Treats

When walking with your dog, keep a bag of dog treats handy, the smellier the better. If another dog attacks, throw some treats behind or to the side of the aggressive animal. The other dog will chase the treats giving you a chance to rescue your dog and walk away.

Dog on Dog Attack Takeaways

  • Call your dog to you and put him on the lead. Then simply walk away.
  • Use an umbrella to get in between your dog and the attacking dog.
  • Do not use pepper or citrus sprays.
  • Yell commands such a “GET,” “NO,” and “SIT”.
  • Throw some treats behind or to the side of the aggressive dog.

Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Got Questions? Video A Vet 24/7, Any Time, Anywhere 🌎

Vetster connects pet owners to thousands of licensed veterinarians ready to provide the best online vet services through video chat

Book an online vet now