SALINAS, Calif. - Dog owners are putting what they learned to good use after the SPCA for Monterey County put on a lecture about dog fighting on Tuesday.
This comes just a month after pit bull in Pacific Grove was stabbed to death after police say it attacked another dog.
The SPCA says dog fights never just happen out of the blue. They say it is up to you to observe your dog and others at a park and pull out early if necessary.
"The main thing is watching the dog's bodies, learning about dog body language, learning when dogs are comfortable, when they're not comfortable," said Wendi Newman, a certified dog behavior consultant at the SPCA.
Like humans, dogs show signs when they are stressed, and the SPCA says it is up to the owners to know when it is time to leave.
"I think they're not watching their dogs. I think they're on their cell phones in the dog park," said Newman.
Some obvious things to watch for: growling or whining. But more subtle ones include a dog's ear position, lip tightening and if you can see the whites of their eyes.
"We have a boxer. He is two years old now. He is a good dog, but sometimes he's so excited he like to play a lot," said Angkana Greenwell, a Monterey resident who came to the lecture.
Excitement can sometimes be taken as aggression. In March, police say a pit bull attacked another dog in Pacific Grove. The other dog's owner stabbed the pit bull to death to try and break it up.
The SPCA says they hear about dog fights at parks about twice a month, and they offered up some different ways to deal with these fights on Tuesday.
"So the main thing in a dog that's latched onto your dog is you have to stabilize the situation, you want to stabilize the dog that is aggressing," said Newman.
You can throw jackets over the dogs' heads to confuse them. Or you can use a number of tools like spray, horns and bite sticks.
The SPCA for Monterey County will host more lectures on various topics in the future. Contact the SPCA for more information.