How do you handle the dogs that chase you down the street?
How do you handle the dogs that chase you down the street?
I am not that brave..Especially when there is more than one dog..
I have had very few incidents but if I can't outrun them I get off the bike and yell at them. If they keep coming with that look of bad intent I pull out my pepper spray. Have never had to use it thankfully. My two dogs stay put thanks to Invisible Fence.
What bruce19 said. Most of the time they are just into the chase for fun. I usually laugh and talk softly to them.
I've had one time where the dog was really trying to bite me. I ended up beating him with my bike. Pepper spray is more effective in those cases.
Here we go again... not that there is anything inherently wrong with new discussions of old topics... but this one always brings out a whole lot of bad advice based on poor understandings of animal behavior. People that have the most success dealing with dogs are those that try to understand their behavior, and who act in ways that encourage good behavior in the dog. Those that do not want to understand, or who try to manage dogs the same way they would a human, generally get poor results.
"If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."
Here are several relatively recent threads that have covered this:
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
I know nothing about dog psychology. If it were a herd of cats, I could probably outsmart them somehow.
But for dogs, I carry this:
It's Mace duct-taped to a visor glasses thingy. The Mace I use squirts out in a long orange stream. I've only fired it a dog once. He saw it coming at him and he turned tail. The Mace never even made contact with him. It was a win-win situation.
I've used Mace before and in my opinion, it's just too brutal. There was a German Shepard that gave cyclists trouble on a popular cycling route when I was in college. I mentioned this to my father in law (at the time) and he "loaned" me his Mace (not sure how he got it).
So a few days later I was out on the above noted route, Mace in jersey pocket, when the German Shepard came after me. I waited until he was about 8" away from my right chainstay, then let the dog have it with a (very short) squirt of Mace; pretty much a direct hit to the face.
The effect was immediate. The dogs front legs folded under and the head hit the pavement, pretty much face first. The dog rolled over into the ditch and just stayed there, not sure how long. So yes, far too brutal. But . . . to the best of my knowledge that dog never chased a cyclist again.
Rick / OCRR
A squirt from the water bottle generally has the same effect as mace. When the dog sees something, anything coming their way, they go form the offensive to the defensive and break off the chase.
Anything up to a medium size dog I can outrun. Large dogs, My first defense is retreat; if I see a dog down the block and can turn around to avoid it, I do so and go to the next block over. If that isn't feasible, I monitor the dog. They usually don't chase, but if they do, I do the water squirt thing. Worst comes to worst I get off the bike and face the dog down. I don't see 100% of the big dogs, but I see most of them. With a bit of experience and vigilance, it becomes second nature; I have "dog radar".
Note that most of my riding is urban. Rural dogs might be different, but the few experiences I've had with them isn't too different.
Hitting a dog can be a far bigger danger than getting bit. Getting off the bike and keeping it between you and the dog is the best option, in my opinion.
I have been bitten only once....many years ago. Strapped in (not clipped) on a long climb. Got to a hairpin turn and a German Sheperd came running down the hill, and clamped unto my leg. Fell over, and managed to undo the straps. Then I kept the bike between him and me. Shortly after this, a mother and child came walking down the road. I can only think that the dog was protecting his family. Mom was none too pleased about the holes in my new jeans. In the years since, I have out sprinted a few dogs (intervals are good), and have used the water bottle on one occasion. The latter worked wonderfully.
This is one of those topics like flat tires. I'm afraid of responding for fear of jinxing myself.
I have never been bitten while riding a bike. When riding with Mrs. Grouch on our tandem, she talks baby talk to them and the dogs generally trot alongside until we leave their territory.
On one occasion I was riding on the tandem with my 12 year old son and about 5 other riders who were on single bikes. As we passed a farmhouse a pack of five dogs came running out at us. Each of the single bike riders grabbed for their weapon of choice - a pump, water bottles, one woman had some kind of high tech ultra sonic thingie. My son and I did NOTHING. When it settled out, each single bike rider had a dog barking at their heels while my son and I were ignored.
My conclusion is that dogs can, indeed, smell fear. The more fearful of dogs you are the more likely you are to be harassed.
I hope that I didn't just jinx myself.
A Chihuahua on my route to work, when he's out (unfenced, unleashed, I'll roll his feet if he gets too close), likes to chase me aggressively for the length of his property/territory. I usually laugh at him. Once in a while, I'll just stand up and dust his little short-legged self.
Another time, a LARGE, UGLY, beastly mutt was loose, normally secured; people were INSIDE their houses, staring out the front doors at him. I rode by him at about 40 feet separation; he circled behind me, and started to pursue, barking with a loud and aggressive, throaty bass. I stood, turned my head, and OUT-BARKED that mutha, to the point of hurting my throat. He immediately came to a halt, and I rode on.
I do mostly rural riding and have found 90%+ of the dogs that chase me are just having fun. Took me some observation time to confidently predict which the 10% are. One last year wasn't fazed by pepper spray, scary one there, came right up to the bike while I was dismounted and showed every intent to attack, even with a face full. Next time I came that way, I had a BB ****** and let him have it, very painful but not strong enough to penetrate skin. Never saw that one again.
I think I have my worst problems with the smaller ones, have come pretty close to running a couple over. If you have time, the water bottle works.
Just a few days ago a neighbor's dog came up and nipped the cuff on my hoodie. I immediately blasted it with Halt. It went and found something else to do.
more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.
I spray the larger dogs, have done it many times. They don't seem to
interested in the chase after that, mainly rubbing their face on the
The smaller dogs I just kick the living crap out of them. Never had
one come back for more.
Sport horn works well. They don't like loud noises.
We have an absolute leash law. No dog is allowed to
be loose at any time. Fenced or leashed period. If
your dog causes damage you are responsible.
You can trap, club, spray or what ever any stray
dog on your property.
Last edited by BHOFM; 01-24-12 at 08:30 PM.
I was once chased down the street by a dog, until I realized the sound was a little too familiar. I turned around, and realized it was my own dog . She was motivated by the chase aspect, she had been around bikes since she was put in a shelter and I adopted her. I went back home, got the trailer, and brought her along .
In most cases, follow six simple rules
1- Stop the chase by stopping your bike . In some cases, this ends the fun for the dog
2-Keep the bike betwixt yourself and the dog. This makes you a more complex problem for the dog .
3- Command in a loud voice- Now you are another yelling human , not much sport there .
4- If there are 2 dogs, target the alpha. He/She will call off off the other for you . Not always the obvious one, either. Look for eye contact and behavioral cues.
5- Study dogs, their motivations, behaviors, and habits. Know your opponent .
6- These stratigems don't always work . Good luck
Here's what I've found works in an escalating order scenario:
1) Try saying in a high pitched voice, "Hey, boy!" or "Hey there girl!" If they react positively, the say, "Gooooood Boy." or "Goooood Girl, in a lower, soothing voice.
2) If 1 doesn't work, squirt with a water bottle (but be forewarned, I once had a dog that doing this sent into a full-tilt vicious rage).
3) In the old days, the next level was to whack them with a frame pump but nobody uses those any more.
4) Kick them in the chops. Make sure you are accurate or you may get a punctured calf muscle.
5) Last resort (only if a single dog): get off bike and keep it between you and dog and use the bike as a shield and/or a weapon.
Kind of like the dogs didn't expect it. They would stop and most would turn tail. Some would hang back and I would repeat myself 'GO HOME!!!!" They would snuffle and eventually turn back. After awhile they didn't bother chasing me as we had an agreement...
the only dog that ever scared me was a little ankle biter than just came at me, no barking. Thankfully I could outrun him but I never went down that road again. Big dogs don't scare me.... those little guys give me the shrivers!
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I have two dogs on my route that like the case. One thing I learned by working for the phone company here in MO is to keep dog treats with me. Now those two dogs and all the dogs i run into at work are happy to see me! Damn dogs have learned my schedule and are always waiting for their treat.
It seems the worst injuries from cyclist/dog interactions are always due to the crashes dogs can cause. If I'm even the slightest bit uncertain about being able to safely out run them, I'll stop. I can handle any dog, even a group of them better on my two feet, than I can with one under or in front of my wheels at 20 mph. Dog rule #1: Avoid a painful crash!
Have Bike, Will Travel