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  1. #1
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    Dogs--what to do?

    I get really terrified when I see a dog running towards my bike as I'm always afraid of being bitten or hitting the thing and perhaps hurting both of us. Yep, I've gone down with my bike, but it's not as scary if there's not a dog involved. Can anyone give me some pointers on handling these situations?

  2. #2
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    About a year ago there was a neighbor dog that used to chase me. I didn't do anything, just out-ran it. One day it jumped in front of me from some weeds and I hit it. The crash broke my collarbone and now I have a plate and nine screws in my shoulder.
    Since then, if a dog chases me I spray it in the face with Halt. After one or sometimes two applications a dog won't get within 50 feet of me.
    If a dog comes out and doesn't seem aggressive, I will stop and let the dog come up to me and smell my hand. My other hand will be holding the Halt. This has kept some dogs from being interested in chasing me. Other dogs are more aggressive and they need "the treatment" before they quit chasing me.
    I no longer just let them chase me. I either make friends with them or squirt them. The Halt seems to dumbfound them more than anything.
    I live in a rural area and people routinely leave their dogs to run at large, even though there is a leash law which is not enforced.
    I have no problem hitting a running dog square in the puss with the spray while pedaling my bike. I have tips for accomplishing that if you need them.
    Last edited by sknhgy; 09-14-09 at 07:45 PM.

  3. #3
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktytrfan View Post
    I get really terrified when I see a dog running towards my bike as I'm always afraid of being bitten or hitting the thing and perhaps hurting both of us. Yep, I've gone down with my bike, but it's not as scary if there's not a dog involved. Can anyone give me some pointers on handling these situations?

    A friend of mine rides in the country a lot. He found some website that sells law enforcement supplies and bought a SERIOUS riot control pepper spray canister. This is not some little thing a lady would carry on her key chain, but, in fact, it fits his second water bottle holder perfectly. He can ride by the same place months later and the dogs might bark but they keep their distance.

    For example: http://www.galls.com/style.html?asso...SD089&cat=3031 or http://www.copsplus.com/prodnum4659.php

    Don in Austin

  4. #4
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post

    A friend of mine rides in the country a lot. He found some website that sells law enforcement supplies and bought a SERIOUS riot control pepper spray canister. This is not some little thing a lady would carry on her key chain, but, in fact, it fits his second water bottle holder perfectly. He can ride by the same place months later and the dogs might bark but they keep their distance.

    For example: http://www.galls.com/style.html?asso...SD089&cat=3031 or http://www.copsplus.com/prodnum4659.php

    Don in Austin
    Might there be legal issues in some localities with carrying law enforcement-strength spray?
    (I carry Halt! on rural rides)
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  5. #5
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Let's see - 3 replies + this one, I bet we don't get past another 5 before the pack'n crowd comes in with the "real man" weapons.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  6. #6
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    I am interested in this conversation. There is a Labrador Retriever who zeros in on me on my exercise ride. He is in a cage most of the time but he was not today.
    I screamed at him and that stopped him but my HR was way up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Let's see - 3 replies + this one, I bet we don't get past another 5 before the pack'n crowd comes in with the "real man" weapons.
    Wow! From the obvious "tone" of your post, you must be one of those liberal *** grabbers who know what is best for the rest of us. That sounds like I made a generalizational observation about you doesn't it? Much in the same way as you did when mentioning the "carry crowd". I am an firm supporter of my second amendment rights and a licensed permit holder. I carry most of the time. It has saved my life and that of my wife. Like most responsible *** owners, pulling a firearm is a last resort. I carry pepper spray for dogs, a ******* for idiots who refuse to back off.

  8. #8
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    Two of the guys I ride with regularly carry very loud whistles. They work great. Another simply yells "NO" at the top of his lungs. Most of the time this works too. Pepper spray takes too long to use and is hard to get aimed, etc. when you're at speed. The risk that you might spray yourself or someone else you are riding with also seems to be great. A Glock 9mm also works, but carries similar risks.

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    I'm considering the Halt stuff myself. I'm fairly familiar with most the of the dogs on my various routes and made friends with the chows atop my favorite mountain; however there's some sort of retriever on my the-wind-is-out-of-the-north-today, after-work route whose behavior is going to get one or both of us in trouble. I don't think he's wanting to sample my flesh, but he enjoys running out in the road and on occasion crossing in front of me. Generally, he abandons the chase at the boundary of his territory.

    I carry too much junk, but I believe I'm going to add some Halt to the collection. A fellow cyclist told me it works pretty well.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CollectiveInk's Avatar
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    Again, as one who rides in the country where dogs are allowed to roam free.... I've found two things to work.

    1. Yelling "NO" or "STAY" in a loud, commanding voice (even a woman can muster this - just don't go high pitched)

    2. Getting my water bottle and spraying them.

    In either case I slow down some. Dogs are chase animals. If something runs from them, then it's prey. By slowing down it gives you some time to get ready and react. Also, I'm not above unclipping and giving it a kick in the jowls.... but usually the first two things work.
    Tim
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  11. #11
    Senior Member arkansasgal's Avatar
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    I do a Saturday morning ride with a bike group. We had a problem with two dogs at one house chasing us on one of our routes and I reported it to the Sheriff's Department, thinking that no resolution would be forthcoming. I could not believe it when I got a call back the same day from the Deputy I had spoken with earlier that morning. He told me he made a call to the owners and "suggested" they might want to do something about the situation, and they were agreeable to that. We did a bike ride past their house three days later, and they had installed an electric fence around a large part of their property to keep their dogs in. We ride in rural, low-traffic country, and I realize this was an unexpected, good outcome to this problem.

    My point is: Report it and you may have a good outcome.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Several things have worked, like yelling:
    'Get off the couch' or 'Go home!'
    Point at the and yell 'No!'
    On our tandem my wife blows a very shrill whistle which seems to interrupt their thinking and chasing.
    Also had one dog that insisted so I rode straight at him and yelled; he backed off.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    So far all I have done is sprint away hoping I could drop them, I did too. It is a scary thing as I have been bitten before and I would not want to again.(bitten not on a bike though)
    The Halts sounds like something I might look into though but I never even thought about using my water bottle, that might work pretty good.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktytrfan View Post
    I get really terrified when I see a dog running towards my bike as I'm always afraid of being bitten or hitting the thing and perhaps hurting both of us. Yep, I've gone down with my bike, but it's not as scary if there's not a dog involved. Can anyone give me some pointers on handling these situations?
    Try a Mini Horn.
    Quite effective with packs or just one dog.

    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  15. #15
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Try a Mini Horn.
    Quite effective with packs or just one dog.
    that's a good idea!

    i wonder if it works for snowbirds?


  16. #16
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    Since I've never been bitten, I'd have to say that most dogs are just out to chase a bit. My biggest concern is having one stick a paw or nose in the front wheel and the resulting crash, not getting bitten.

    I don't encounter chasers often enough to even think about getting good at hitting them with a spray while riding, let alone keeping said spray close to hand. A shouted command like "No" or "go home" does two things: commands the dog and, hopefully, let's the owner that you are not amused with Pup's antics.

    IMO, something to watch out for is when there are two or more dogs out. Pack mentality takes over and these are the most dangerous situations.

  17. #17
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    I have had enough time to learn dog psychology. Indeed, many of they not only wish they could ride a neat bike, if you have a chat with the many dogs along the way here and never talk down to them after a while they tend to know who you are and calm a bit. A couple actually pace and wish I could play...can't though and I don't tend to interact unless their owner knows I'm there. You must respect the owner if you respect his dog. Some dogs stop barking or bark less when they hear my voice acknowledge them.

    Now, I am fully aware that you might not be able to do that in a large city or area. I have seen dogs that were just cranky and I have stood those up and made them back away and yelled at them some. I basically gave that dog the you ought to be ashamed speech and walked at him until he retreated back in his yard and his owner was aware and let the dog in.

    The police did come over later to ask me what happened...it seems that some of the children were being bugged by it and they ended up having a hearing over the dog as the owner would let it out to go without a leash.

    Most dogs I encounter are little guys and I mother them back to the yard and tell them not to get run over. I guess that sounds silly but I like dogs and really don't like to see them get hurt. I notice when they're gone. Don't have my own so I adopt the neighhood dogs unofficially.

    Dogs here tend to be timid and if you take control they tend to back off. You have to be a bigger dog.

    Maybe slightly crazy too. I just won't let most dogs do that.

  18. #18
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Try a Mini Horn.
    Quite effective with packs or just one dog.
    +1 My nephew just returned from a cross country trip and said they got a mini-horn and it worked great.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  19. #19
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    If you have time, dismount so the bike is between you and the dog and stop. Most often, that stops the chase. When the dogs settles down, let it sniff the back of your closed hand and start walking away. No quick movements. Talk to it in a stern voice. Once it loses interest carry on with your ride.

    If the dog insists on attacking then you have the bike as a defensive weapon. Yell and growl at it loudly so as to assert yourself as the alpha. Even try to pin the dog to the ground with the bike.

    As a last resort, try to put a boot to it's nose. That will normally stop the aggression. If it doesn't, mace or pepper spray would not have helped anyways. It is very rare for a dog to continue the attack.

    Yes, I was a dog handler at one time so it isn't just internet jibber jabber.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux_author View Post
    that's a good idea!

    i wonder if it works for snowbirds?
    No. Tell them "We have no poutine here" and they will go away.

  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Fear kills.

    All of these work sometimes. You have to learn to figure out how the dog chasing you will react.

    Ignore the dog.
    Slow down and talk calmly to the dog.
    Firmly command the dog with "No!", "Stop!", Get back in your yard!", "Bad Dog!".
    Spray water in the Dog's face",
    stop and talk to the dog's owner about the law suit his dog is setting him up for.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 09-16-09 at 06:24 AM.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  22. #22
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Even though my trail is clearly marked "bike trail" with a number of signs, Sunday mornings are apparently "pit bull training day" and the path is littered of people with their pit bulls. I know, I know, everyone knows a pit bull that is sweet and lovable, but they scare the snot out of me, especially when they are on a leash with an 83 lb. woman on the other end. I avoid the path entirely on Sunday mornings. It's all fun and games until one of them decides I might make a tasty breakfast. I do like the water bottle method, though.

  23. #23
    tcs
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    (I wrote this several years ago, and since then I've found it in a number of local cycling newsletters with someone else's name in the by line. I was flattered.)

    Dogs. Man's best friend. Yeah, right. Now, don't get me wrong, I like dogs. Or at least the ones that don't chase cyclists. Dogs are interactive with humans, which is why they are such good companions and pets. This is also why they can be so annoying, threatening, and even dangerous to cyclists. Dogs are not likely to change for the better or worse, either, so if you want to coexist, you will have to modify your knowledge base and actions to adapt to any situation that presents itself. Because of
    this, I encourage all cyclists to work out ahead of time what to do when the inevitable happens.

    Like all cyclists, I've experienced those ineviatblities. Out of hundreds of dogs I've seen as I rode along over the years, I've only been chased by a few dozen, only felt threatened by probably a half dozen, and only been hurt by one. I had a Doberman lunge at me; the spikes on his collar cut my knee. The owner ran out, called the dog's name and grabbed him. While I'm standing there, bike between me and the dog (#8!) and with blood running down my leg, the owner looks at me and says, "I'm sorry my
    dog scared you." I think it was Barbara Woodhouse who said, "there are no bad dogs, only bad owners." As cyclists we unfortunately only interact with the small percentage of dogs whose owners allow them out on the public thoroughfares.


    Over the years I have collected a number of strategies for dealing with dogs who chase cyclists, and tried out most of them. The best method for a given situation depends on the dog (big, small, fast, slow), the dog's attitude (playful, protective, aggressive), present company (alone, you and the owner, riding in a group), and familiarity (you know this dog's modus operandi, strange dog). Size up the scene, and then execute your preplanned action. Please realize that you are statistically in far greater danger not from being bitten and/or mauled, but from crashing due to the dog hitting your front wheel, crashing into another cyclists while avoiding the dog, or hitting a car/ ditch/ tree/ etc. maneuvering away from the dog. Therefore, the dog doesn't have to threaten you to endanger you, nor does a dog have to be large to cause serious injury. Of course, you might be bitten; that is why dogs evolved all those teeth. Plan accordingly, and be aware that some of these actions have consequences beyond the immediate. Here, then, are some techniques among which to choose:

    1. Sprint. Obvious, but size up your dog carefully. Miniature dachshunds top out at 3 miles per hour, but a retired racing greyhound can best 40, and is trained to chase things besides. Most dogs seem not to be hunting you or angry, but just want you to leave their territory. The quicker you get to their territory's border, the sooner they return to the porch. For a good example of this technique, see the movie "American Fliers."
    2. Squirt the dog with your water bottle. Another old standby. Stops some dogs dead in their tracks, doesn't throw you off balance, won't cause any one else to crash. Wastes water, which can be precious in summer. And some dogs, like Labs, absolutely love water in their faces and will quickly learn to chase you to get some.
    2a. Squirt the dog with a water/ ammonia mix. Much more reliable than justwater, but you have to carry a special delivery tool in a handy place. Mix about 50-50 and aim for the eyes. A water ****** requires good aim, a spray bottle can cause the ammonia to blow back into your's or another's face. Doing this is not supposed to permanently hurt the dog.
    2b. Spray the dog with "mace". Actually, pepper gas is supposed to work betterthan real mace, CS or tear gas. Best case scenario: this stuff can stop a small pack ofrabid pit bulls. Worst case scenario: you spray this stuff, miss the dog, it blows up in your face, you're instantly blinded and can't get your breath, you crash and burn there in the road, dog runs up and marks you as his territory as a kid films the
    whole thing for America's funniest home videos. This method isn't one of my recommendations.
    3. Yell "Go home." Works well on non-"alpha wolf" dogs. Won't cause you tocrash. Nice first step, easily followed up with another technique.
    4. Call out, "Dinner time." I had this method recommended to me as being justthe ticket on farm dogs, but I've never had any success at getting a dog to break pursuitand go back home to eat by doing this.
    5. Say softly, "Saint Lazarus, go home." Lazarus is the patron saint of dogs. This
    is not the Lazarus raised from the dead by Christ in the ninth chapter of John, but the one from the parable, see Luke 16:19. Works well on Catholic dogs like Irish wolfhounds, Italian greyhounds, and St. Bernards; and fairly well on Episcopal dogs like Jack Russell Terriers. Does not work on salukis (Muslim), atikas (Shinto), mixed breeds (Unitarian) or blue tick coon hounds (Southern Baptist.)
    6. Inform the owner. Works best on the official letter head of a charity bike ride. This is a civilized, adult, respectable way of handling the problem before or after ithappens, and as such will probably be completely misunderstood in modern America. Aword of caution: some dog owners have dogs because of the power projection of the dog.To inform that kind of owner that their dog is chasing cyclists might prompt them to acquire more dogs. To pursue this topic further, see Dog Law, available in most public libraries.
    7. Drop a dog biscuit. The late, wonderful Dr. Clifford Graves passed along thislittle gem as his method of handling the same dog that chases you every time you rideyour training circuit. Safe, effective, fun. Be sure to toss the biscuit to the side of the road so the dog doesn't get hit by following traffic.
    8. Dismount, place the bike between you and the dog, maintain eye contact, walkaway. If you can't out sprint the dog this is actually a very good technique: I never heard of any one who wound up getting bitten, and it keeps you from crashing. Can becombined with pump waving, see below. Still, in the highly unlikely event that the dog is rabid or a trained fighter, this is not the way to go. Other disadvantages: takes nerves of steel, no good for tandems (dismount "routine" is too slow) and puts you out in the road where you can get hit by another cyclist or motor traffic. Not recommended if there are multiple dogs.
    9. Hit the dog with your pump. Another classic. Dogs intuitively understandwhat you're attempting to do. In hundreds of attempts I've only seen one dog get hit, though. Second highest on the instant gratification scale after number 15 below. Throws you off balance and gives you almost no chance to recover if the dog makes contact with your front wheel. If you want to go this route, the new 6 inch long high tech pumps areworthless: I'd recommend a metal bodied frame fit Zefal pump with a locking lever on the business end. This works better (in drive to the right countries) if you're right handed, by the way.
    10. Try to run over the dog. Most dogs also understand this one. Very likely to cause you to crash, and not recommended I did, however, see this work to perfection once as a group of guys on off-road bikes taught a collie never to chase bikes again. I can think of very few things that would engender more hostility to cyclists as a group thatsomeone observing cyclists running over a dog on purpose. Consider: the dog can't help behaving in an agressive way, hopefully you can.
    11. Try to kick the dog. Easy to attempt, requires no additional equipment, highon instant gratification scale. Prevents you from sprinting, throws you off balance, offersdog your foot, chance of connecting with dog is low. Not highly recommended
    12. Put another rider between you and the dog. Very useful on group rides, this is an application of an old standby: making it someone else's problem instead of your own. Increasingly popular. Something to laugh about at the rest stop. A good way to getthe air let out of your tires as you use the facilities.
    13. Ride a recumbent, hit the dog in the nose with your fist. No kidding! The godfather of the recumbent, Dr. David Gordon Wilson, said one of the things he liked about recumbents was that when he was chased by a dog he could just reach out and "crack" the dog in the nose. Just wondering: who would you rather ride with, David Gordon Wilson or Clifford Graves?
    14. Ride a tandem. Not only does the tandem's greater speed limit exposure, but the captain can concentrate 100% on not crashing while the stoker can deal with the dog. In The Tandem Scoop by John Schubert, there are cartoons about this on page 6 and on the back cover.
    15. Shoot the dog. The ne plus ultra method, and highest on the instantgratification scale by a wide margin. One hundred years ago when it was more generally believed that people had a greater intrinsic worth than animals this was socially acceptable. There were even small, light *******s marketed for just this purpose, including one in its own proprietary caliber of "5.5mm Velo Dog Revolver". Dervla Murphy, in Full Tilt (1963), has an exciting account of shooting wild dogs that attacked her in a snow storm during a cycle tour through Yugoslavia, and many of the touring accounts from 100 years ago list small pistols as items bought along. Modern day negatives include ricochets into populated areas and other cyclists, lawsuits, anti-discharge ordinances and the proverbial shooting yourself in the foot. Local laws vary wildly. I wouldn't recommend this if all you're worried about is dogs.

    HTH,
    tcs
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  24. #24
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdon View Post
    If you have time, dismount so the bike is between you and the dog and stop. Most often, that stops the chase. When the dogs settles down, let it sniff the back of your closed hand and start walking away. No quick movements. Talk to it in a stern voice. Once it loses interest carry on with your ride.

    If the dog insists on attacking then you have the bike as a defensive weapon. Yell and growl at it loudly so as to assert yourself as the alpha. Even try to pin the dog to the ground with the bike.

    As a last resort, try to put a boot to it's nose. That will normally stop the aggression. If it doesn't, mace or pepper spray would not have helped anyways. It is very rare for a dog to continue the attack.

    Yes, I was a dog handler at one time so it isn't just internet jibber jabber.
    Yes, dismounting stops most dogs from chasing. You can't get knocked off your bike by the dog running in front of your wheel, either. They'll still come up and bark. Squirting is effective, but I have trouble hitting the dog with the water while riding.

  25. #25
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    There are a couple of dogs who will give chase on my regular ride. I live and I ride mostly in the country. I have sort of gotten to know what to expect from the dogs who do chase and will act accordingly.

    One of the dogs will just run along side of me, with an ear to ear dog smile. I pretty much ignore him. Another dog, while he doesn't seem aggressive, goes pretty much nuts and will cross in front of my wheel. That puts me in danger. I maced that dog once and have had no problem with him since.

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