It's happened to many of us dog owners. Whether it's a loose pooch while you're on a walk or an angry encounter at the dog park, Casper's Metro Animal Services says they get several calls a month about people who are bitten while trying to break up a dog fight. In an effort to keep both owners and animals from harm, Metro is has offered some tips on what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.

First of all, stay calm. Officials say most dogfights last for only a few seconds and your best advantage is to keep a clear head. The best thing you can do, according to Metro, is to try to startle the dogs enough to distract them. Also, in almost no circumstance should you get between two dogs that are actively biting. The dogs will mistake you for another target in the confusion, and you will get bitten.

Here are more helpful hints for breaking up a dog fight, from Metro Animal Services:

"Resist the urge to grab your dog by the collar. This might be your first impulse, but when dogs are really fighting, they may whip around and bite instinctively, even without any past aggression.

 

Make as much noise as you can. Dogfights don't last long, so use whatever you have at hand. Yell, shriek, stomp your feet, and clap your hands — whatever you can do to attract the dogs' attention. If you have metal dog bowls or garbage cans nearby, you can bang two pieces of metal together.

 

Hose them down. Water — as much as you have — can really get a dog's attention. Douse the fighting dogs with a hose, a bucket, or a cup of soda if you have to. No harm done, and in most cases the dogs will walk away, a little wet but not worse for wear.

 

Throw a blanket over the dogs. Some dogs will stop fighting when they can't see each other anymore. If you have a large blanket, a tarp, a jacket, or another piece of opaque material, try tossing it over the fighting dogs to calm them down."