Going to a dog park is a great way to get out of the house and get some exercise — for you and your dog. However, a trip to the dog park can turn into a nightmare when your dog gets into a fight with another dog.

Here’s how to handle yourself and your dog at the park if that happens, according to one dog trainer:

Recognize your risk of a fight. Young, male dogs (under two years of age) are the most inclined to end up in fights. They are typically still under-socialized and may respond more aggressively to another dog’s antics. You can often avoid fights just by keeping your dog out of the range of other people’s dogs.

Use a stick or a board rather than your hands. If two dogs are in a fight, the smartest way to separate them is to put a long piece of plywood or a stick between them. Do not try to separate the dogs with your hands or feet. Doing so is a sure way to end up bitten.

Enlist help. Other dog owners can come to your rescue when there’s a dog fight. Surrounding the fighting dogs will keep other dogs from joining in. Use loud verbal commands to tell both dogs to stop, sit or lay down. Don’t attempt to grab your dog’s collar until they are calmer.

If you do end up being bitten by another person’s dog, you may be in for a long recovery time. Bite wounds can be very deep, are prone to infection and often need plastic surgery to prevent scars. If that happens, you may have a right to seek fair compensation for your losses, including any lost time at work and medical bills.