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Old 10-07-07, 07:52 PM   #1
csr
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Arf Arf: pesky dog critters

Relative newbie here.

I have some routes I can usefully bike a lot, on which the only dogs are behind fences, at least so far, or, so old that they probably can't catch their own tails. Nonetheless dogs represent a difficulty for the cyclist. As I become more adventuresome, I daresay I will encounter some.

What percentage of the time does a friendly cheerful "Hi doggy" kind of thing work?

What percentage of the time do you find it necessary to dismount, put the bike between you and doggy, say "GO HOME", etc.?

Have you ever tried contacting animal control? Leash laws are pretty straightforward. Once out walking I was surrounded by two or three of some family's beloved pets. A quick call to animal control, and I never saw dogs there again. Heard them, for a while, but never saw.

Thanks for any feedback. I hope this topic hasn't been discussed 1x10 ^ 500 times already.
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Old 10-07-07, 08:37 PM   #2
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I have come across a few out and about but have not had a dog chase me in years. I figure...ignore them, out run them, run them over, or mace them are the best options depending upon size, speed, and intent. If there was one that was a reoccurring problem, I would probably call animal control.

The only time I have ever been scared when chased by a dog was about 20 years ago on a rail to trails path that went through some farmland. I was able to outrun him - was able to get out of his territory before he caught me is probably more accurate - but I am not sure if that would work as good now that I am older. lol

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Old 10-08-07, 12:52 AM   #3
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From my experience, being chased by dogs is a relatively rare occurance. It might happen half a dozen or less times a year.

The first thing I do is to slow down and yell, "Go home". This usually alerts the dog owner that there is a problem, and either the dog goes home, or the owner comes out and gets the dog.

If that doesn't work, I yell again, louder, and I move my arm like I'm throwing something at the dog. Generally, that works. The dog either thinks I am throwing something at him and runs off, or thinks I'm playing and goes to chase whatever it was I threw.

However, on the odd occasion when that doesn't work, I'll sprint. Dogs usually have a certain area they are protecting, so once I've sprinted out of that area, they stop chasing.

Once I got off and stood there staring at the dog with my bicycle between me and the dog. I was climbing a hill and knew there was no way I could sprint. That worked ... the dog went about his business.

A few times I've been chased by 2 or more dogs ... those are the scary situations because they use some very clever hunting techniques, and you can't stop. I've out sprinted a couple pair on a couple occasions. On another occasion I sprinted through an intersection once I determined there was a car coming (it wasn't going very fast). I got through just before the car went through, and the car came between me and the dogs. They were distracted enough to leave me alone.

BTW - my dog encounters are farm dogs out in the middle of Absolutely Nowhere. There are no leash laws in the middle of Absolutely Nowhere, and these are beloved pets, they are part of the farm crew. They are usually Rottweillers, German Shepards, some other very large type of white dog with a very loud deep bark, or most common around here, Border Collies.
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Old 10-08-07, 01:48 AM   #4
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I'm not sure I can sprint to speak of. Knobby tires, not a lightweight bike. Only beginning overall conditioning. Planning to commute and do errands more than anything.
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Old 10-08-07, 02:03 AM   #5
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I'm not sure I can sprint to speak of. Knobby tires, not a lightweight bike. Only beginning overall conditioning. Planning to commute and do errands more than anything.
Depends on where you live... I live in Denver Metro area... I've only been chased 4 times in more than 15,000 miles.

Some things to yell:
NO
BAD DOG
GO LAY DOWN
GO TO BED
GET OFF THE COUCH! (Every indoor dog knows that one!)

Most dogs are chasing out of instinct... if you stop, they'll stop. Keep your bike between you and the dog, and yell at it. Maybe get some pepper spray if you're really worried... (Make sure you get the stuff that sprays in a STREAM, not a cloud!)
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Old 10-08-07, 11:33 AM   #6
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Or maybe, "DO YOUR BUSINESS". That might distract it for a moment or two!
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Old 10-08-07, 11:57 AM   #7
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....get some pepper spray......
That's what I carry in my handlebar bag. I've never had to use it.
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Old 10-08-07, 01:15 PM   #8
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That's what I carry in my handlebar bag. I've never had to use it.
+1
I carry pepper spray in a holder attached to the handlebars. Never had to use the spray, but I have used a small signal horn. http://www.falconsignalhorns.com/def...8&productid=91 The sound level of 118 db stops dogs in their tracks.
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Old 10-08-07, 04:49 PM   #9
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I carry pepper spray, but I have NEVER had to use it ... in fact, I'm leary about using it because I have heard of occasions when cyclists and others have sprayed dogs, and then the dog owners have sued them for "damages". That's not too likely to happen here in Canada, but still ...

Plus, I figure it really isn't the dog's fault that he is chasing me (dog's chase things, it is in their nature) ... it's the owner's fault for not training the dog, or getting one of those electronic invisible fences. So if I'm going to spray anyone, it should be the owner.

The thing is, you've got to understand the dog. The dog is chasing you for one of a variety of reasons ... he is defending his property from this unusual alien who is silently gliding by. If you speak to identify yourself as a human, or get off the bicycle to identify yourself as human, the dog is less likely to continue the chase. When I see a dog in the distance, I'll often start talking then, in quiet soothing tones.

The dog might be chasing you because he is playing. I've had very large puppies come after me because they are bored. The "fake" throw ... where I pretend to throw something, but I don't actually have anything in my hand ... usually works in these cases, because the dog dashes off to find whatever it was.

In the case of Border Collies, the most common dog around here, they are herding. That's what Border Collies have been bred and raised to do ... it's in their nature. And they can get VERY agressive with it ... the cows and sheep respond to the barks and nips, but there you are, resisting being herded! For these dogs, getting off the bicycle and letting them know that you're human and not a sheep is probably the best thing. It took me a little while to figure out what was up with these little black and white dogs, but once I knew, they became much easier to handle. Border Collies are very intelligent dogs too ... so with these I will definitely start talking to them from some distance back to let them know I'm human, and then get off my bicycle if they don't back off.

Once you figure out what's going on, it helps.

Oh, and a blood-curdling, wake-the-dead, scream sometimes works too. The Hound of the Baskervilles snuck up on me in the middle of the night on one of my rides. All of a sudden, there he was on my left heel. I let loose this scream that could have been heard in the city 30 kms away. The dog stopped dead in his tracks .......... then turned tail and ran!!!!! And it was a good thing he did because I couldn't pedal ... my legs had turned to mush!!
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Old 10-08-07, 09:14 PM   #10
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Squirting them with my water bottle has worked every time. I do carry Halt as a backup, especially when I'm out alone riding in the country. Packs of dogs concern me.
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