How to Separate Dogs From Each Other

by Sandra Ketcham
    Frequent fights may mean an underlying behavioral problem.

    Frequent fights may mean an underlying behavioral problem.

    Fox Photos/Valueline/Getty Images

    It's urgent to separate fighting dogs to prevent serious injury. It's also sometimes necessary to separate dogs each time you leave the house due to problems with destructive behavior or fighting. Whether you're trying to stop or prevent a fight, proper handling of the situation is key. Frequent fighting may indicate underlying behavior problems. Take your pooch to the vet for a complete exam and consultation. You vet can advise you on long-term solutions.

    How to Separate Dogs During a Fight

    Step 1

    Yell "stop!" or a similar command at the first sign of trouble. This may be enough to break up the fight if tempers are not yet out of control.

    Step 2

    Spray both dogs with a water bottle or hose to separate them in the beginning of a fight. Keep your distance to avoid injury.

    Step 3

    Try a commercial citronella spray designed for use on dogs. These sprays are unpleasant to dogs and may distract both dogs long enough for you to split them up.

    Step 4

    Break up fights between two small or known dogs with the help of another, trained person, if other methods have failed. Grab the rear legs or tail of each dog, lift upward and then pull the dogs away from each other. Steer one or both dogs into a crate or onto a leash to keep them apart.

    How to Separate Dogs While Away

    Step 1

    Allow your dogs to become accustomed to daily separation by placing them in different rooms or crates for an hour or so at a time while you are at home. Let your dogs know you are still around and available if they begin to get upset.

    Step 2

    Crate both dogs or leave one loose while you crate or confine the other. If you choose to confine only one dog at a time, rotate days so each dog is allowed to remain loose at least a few times each week.

    Step 3

    Place a comfy sleeping area and sufficient food and water in the room or crate with each of your dogs. How much food and water you need depends on how long you plan to be away with your dogs confined. Make sure water bowls are in a secure location where they cannot be knocked over onto carpet or furniture.

    Step 4

    Provide stimulation for separated dogs, especially if they are used to the company of another animal. Offer durable chew toys or leave a television on to keep your pups amused.

    Step 5

    Find an alternative method of separating your dogs if you are away from home for more than a few hours at a time. It is not healthy to confine dogs for long periods of time, according to the Animal Behavior Society.

    Items You Will Need

    • Spray bottle
    • Hose
    • Citronella spray


    • If you choose to crate your dogs, make sure the cage is large enough for your dog to comfortably lay down, stand up, and turn around in.
    • Your dogs may do very well crated in the same room of your house, or you may need to separate them completely. Try both options to determine which works best.


    • Serious dog fights can lead to severe injury for you and both dogs involved. Seek professional help in these cases. Do not attempt to break up the fight on your own.
    • If there is a clear aggressor and victim in the dog fight, do not restrain the victim. This will leave him vulnerable to the more aggressive dog.

    Photo Credits

    • Fox Photos/Valueline/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."

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