If a 'Squatch goes after my critters, I still think I'll have to shoot. But I bet that if I pegged him with a beer he'd back right off, so I'd try that first.
In all seriousness though, I hope no one will try to grab hind legs and pull. I'm sure it CAN work at times, but I don't think it's very good advice, especially for those not well trained in observing behavior and reacting quickly. Your face is just too danged close to the danger doing that.
I'll stand by those words. I'd not recommend it. Ever. Better to let your own dog get torn apart than have your face or hands ripped off breaking up a dog fight.
What I find interesting among the "poor poochie" people is that they don't seem to understand that dog "play" is entirely preparation, training, or imitation of the kill (when it is directed towards prey animals, like rabbits, sheep, horses, small mammals, even cats, other species). In wolves and dogs, the puppy "play" is all for teaching about bait and harrying, attack and kill. In many dog breeds, puppy play is still a part of an adult dog's makeup, but it is still the precursor to stalking, attacking and killing. In any adult dog, what naiive dog owners see as play is practice and testing for taking down prey. In many of these dogs, the actual taking of prey is never "turned on" because they never experience that act, or they never see another dog do it, or they never are allowed to continue the behaviour until they do, but it is there in every dog to one degree or another. When dogs "pack" or get together in numbers, this instinct is turned on more strongly, often than if the dog was on his own.
When a dog jumps around a rabbit hutch, he is egging himself on about the prey animal and it is not harmless "play". Play around a prey animal is potentially dangerous. You never know when going after the prey animal will happen and it is foolish of any dog owner to think allowing their dog "harmless" harryment or engagement with a prey animal is safe. Yes, some dogs grow up with a cat or rabbit as a co-pet and think of that animal as part of their pack or family, and won't hurt them, but they can always turn on an unfamiliar animal of that other species, if allowed the free rein to do it undeterred.
Any dog chasing a horse is testing his instinct to hamstring them unless he is specifcally bred and trained to herd and not harm them. Even shepherd type dogs who chase and herd sheep are using their wolfly instinct to chase herd animmals and bite at their heels. Their breeding and training may be such that they guard and don't actually harm or kill them, but its the killer instinct which is being used and redirected through breeding and training.
I can't think of anything more foolish that seeing a dog getting at a rabbit in its hutch and claiming it wanted to"play" with the rabbit. The person saying that may well be right - they may well want to "play" with the rabbit. That's how the kill starts with domestic dogs. Its all fun until somebody looses an eye.
ETA: Although now that I've grown a brain, I've given up the chows and wolf hybrids for border collies and a Brittany. So I imagine my chances of survival have increased dramatically. :)
*Oh, wait, I take that back. Actually I did have an elderly lab who died later at the vet's of shock after I kicked the Great Dane off her. And there was a borzoi who died of complications after being attacked by my chow's sire. We had to break that one up by jamming a waterhose down the chow's throat and holding his nose shut. He finally let go when he started losing consciousness. The chow was fine - indestructible little beasts - but the borzoi died later of infection. The chow's teeth pierced the borzoi's salivary glands and even with antibiotics and aftercare we couldn't keep the infection out of such a wet environment. Only two in fifty years, though.
a) be a woman (only works with men bigfeet)
b) leave out a jar of peanut butter (works with all big feet, but especially women bigfeet and kidsfeet)
c) drive your car down a lonely dirt road in the mountains (they're all like "Dang, where's one of those cars with highbeams when you need to make your way across the road into the deep woods, oh, hay, here we go...")
I have waded into fights between two bitches, shouting and kicking, but I have come to recognise 1) I. Was lucky and 2) their rivalry was new and not that serious.
Given a couple of months of those dogs unsupervisedervise l would have had no hope of breaking up a fight Between them withou getting seriously hurt
I shot a golden retriever who was chasing horses at my barn...one horse being chased ran into another horse and broke his neck. Young girl's horse killed by this dog...hung the dog on the fence between the two properties and called the sheriff...and yes, the dog's owner had been warned repeatedly about his dog..he was a city jerk who owned a country house and said, "My dog has a right to run around". Zero tolerance for any dog chasing livestock, including my own pet carnivores.
The chow wasn't mine. He sired one of my chows. But yes, his owner kept him and kept breeding him. Back in the day, temperament wasn't a high priority for chow breeders. I was handed several ribbons with blood on them over the years.
And the temperament was definitely an inherited trait. I had to watch the son like a hawk the entire thirteen years I owned him. He never killed anything while I had him, but it wasn't for lack of trying on his part. That said, he was the most pleasant dog to live with I've ever owned. :) I still miss him. I liked his dad, too.