Our local bike club - TCBA - Tri County Bike Association in Lansing MI just had our monthly meeting. At that meeting Hector Hernandez, a dog trainer for local police departments and protection training for Post office delivery personnel, gave us a presentation tailiored to bikers. WONDERFUL!
He is in process of writing a book, but here are the salient points that I took away from the meeting:
1. Carefully observe the dogs behavior. Tense body posture preceeds an attack. If the dog is still moving it body side to side, you're probably ok for the moment. If the dog is rigid, LOOK OUT!
2. NEVER turn your back side to the dog. Dismount, put your bike between you and the dog and BACK AWAY slowly. Do NOT ROLL away with your butt exposed. Keep the bike between you and the dog.
3. Swing your bike side to side (aka a Klingon Batleth or Quarterstaff) to knock the dog away.
4. Hold still. A dog's attack instinct is heightened by movement. If you're bitten, don't pull away - pulling causes the dog to bite harder and will rip your flesh more. If viciously attacked, ball up on the ground and protect your head with arms and elbows. Hold still. Dogs lose interest if you're down, quiet and still.
5. Distract the dog with a helmet, jersey, pump, or whatever. Let them chomp on something besides you and while they're chomping, you can klonk or karate chop them somewhere sensitive - Throat, Shoulders, spine to disengage/disable them.
6. do NOT yell. Yelling only raises the dog's adrenaline level. (yeah.. right... easy for HIM to say!)
7. If a dog is attacking, they get tunnel vision. You can approach a dog that is attacking a companion or other person from the rear and they will never know you're coming. Hit them in the back HARD or pull the rear legs apart to dislocate the hips. Not a permanent injury, but it WILL disable a dog who is intent on doing bodily harm to a person.
8. Call out common commands "Sit!" "Stay!" "Down" and "Fooey!" (seriously... "fooey" means "Bad Dog" in many dog training circles... tells the dog that they messed up.) to confuse the dog long enough to sprint.
One member of the club said "Shift into the small ring and aim for their neck".... to a lot of laughter...
My personal strategies include
1- water bottle squirting - figure eight motion to spread the water wider and have a better chance of hitting the pooch.
2- Hollering a greeting to any owner in the yard - "Hi! I ride every tuesday and thursday evening! Can you call your dog in?"
3. listening to the owner call the dog so I'll know it's name for the NEXT encounter... "Ceasar! How's it going buddie? Yeah, I know... you're being a great guard dog tonight, now shoo! Off! Sit!"
4. If time permits, and the owner is in the yard, I'll stop, WITH BIKE BETWEEN ME AND THE DOG, chit chat, ask them to introduce me to the dog and tell them "you NEED to control your dog! Our county laws dictate that your dog must be "under control at all times" and when your dog is out on the road chasing me, it is in danger. If you like, I'll call you when I'm about to ride past and you can use my riding by as an opportunity to discipline your dog away from the street. It could save the dog's life you know.
5. So far, I've not encountered any really vicious dogs, but I'm ready when it happens, thanks to Hector.
The link to our local club is www.biketcba.org
Click on "Chainwheel Chatter" down in the bottom navigation bar to get to February's newsletter and the announcement for Mr. Hernandez' talk.
Best of luck in YOUR attempts to avoid being dog chow.