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  1. #1
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    Advice on dealing with dogs (classic)

    This is from Frank Tatchell, a traveller and English clergyman, who was rambling around in the 1920s.

    "The mongrel curs are a nuisance to the wayfarer in most foreign lands. It is useless to try and 'good dog' them. Instead, abuse them in the hoarsest voice at your command and with the worst language you can think of. They may slink off utterly ashamed of themselves, but, if one comes for you, try this method. Snatch off your hat and hold it out to him, when he will snap at it and seize it by the brim. Now the length of your hat and arm is exactly the length of your leg, and, if you kick out, he will get it just under the jaw, bite his tongue and go off howling. Approaching a dog sleeping in the road, I do so whistling. This wakes him up before I get close and helps to convince him that I am human, in spite of the bag on my shoulder and my outlandish smell."
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    This is from Frank Tatchell, a traveller and English clergyman, who was rambling around in the 1920s.

    "The mongrel curs are a nuisance to the wayfarer in most foreign lands. It is useless to try and 'good dog' them. Instead, abuse them in the hoarsest voice at your command and with the worst language you can think of. They may slink off utterly ashamed of themselves, but, if one comes for you, try this method. Snatch off your hat and hold it out to him, when he will snap at it and seize it by the brim. Now the length of your hat and arm is exactly the length of your leg, and, if you kick out, he will get it just under the jaw, bite his tongue and go off howling. Approaching a dog sleeping in the road, I do so whistling. This wakes him up before I get close and helps to convince him that I am human, in spite of the bag on my shoulder and my outlandish smell."
    Dogs can scare the crap out of you. Usually when you are in a pleasant state just spinning along and all of the sudden, out of bush, comes some dog to defend his territory. Once you've gotten your wits back you need to have a plan. I've actually found that stopping and confronting the dog works for me. Although, I did have a big St. Benard come after me one day that I wasn't too sure about. I swung the whole bike at him, yelled some more and we reached an impasse. I slowly made my way away and had to continue to defend against him. I've found the adrenaline is good for a little while to sprint or fight.

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    From Picking the Scablands

    Of Dogs and Fear!
    The morning chill was starting to abate but the gentle downhill gave it enough snap to still hurt a little. But I didn't want to waste a nice downhill so we tore along the blacktop at a good pace. In the distance we could hear barking. I'm not one to worry about dogs in singles or even in pairs but this barking seemed more ominous. It didn't get louder but you could hear the sound of many voices. Many voices. And I didn't see any houses. Could it be a pack?

    'Rachael, you hear them?'

    'Yeah. Sounds like a lot of them, doesn't it?'

    'Too many. Just keep up your pace and keep your eyes open.'

    We cleared a little hill, momentum carrying us over the top and sped down the back. I could just see the top of a house over the next rise, about a mile away. And the sound was getting louder. With many, many more voices! It was becoming a choir with base and baritone notes, soprano and alto notes. A cacophonous symphony of dog voices. With that many, I knew we were in trouble if even a fraction of them came out to greet and eat us! Perhaps if we were on unloaded bikes we could outrun them but as we drew closer to the house below the little rise, we saw that road climbed towards the morning sky on the other side. We would slow to a crawl as we tried to ascend the hill. If the group decided to charge us, we would just have to stand and fight!

    'Rachael, if they come out,' I yelled over the deafening roar of barking, 'Don't try to outrun them. Stop your bike and drop it. Start kicking anything that comes near. Yell as loud and deep as you can, 'NO!' Grab a bag or you pump and start swinging. Don't worry about hurting them 'cause they will try to hurt you!'

    'Okay, but I'm scared.'

    'So am I. So am I.'

    We were getting close and the barking was sounding like a jet engine. The individual voices had merged into a single note, loud and angry! We were speeding towards the house and

    There were no dogs! There was a weed filled yard. There was a roar of barking. In fact the whole yard seemed to vibrate from the barking but there were no dogs. No black ones. Or brown ones. Or white ones. Just weeds that barked. Somewhere under those weeds was the world's largest pack of dogs with short legs!

    You know, it's really hard to climb a hill when your eyes are full of tears and your breath comes in ragged gasps between fits of laughter.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    Im going to have to recommend NOT stopping, to me that just doesn't sound smart, why make a situation more dangerous than it has to be?? What works best for me is if the dog is charging at me ill swerve towards him a little and just bark back as loud as possible 9/10 times they will whimper away. If im feeling lazy ill just spray them with the water bottle. with those two tricks I have never had any real issues with dogs on the bike.

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    +1 to keep biking

    Why stop and get in a fight with a dog when you can just keep riding? Most dogs have enough sense to stay off the road, and any that actually have a chance of intercepting a bicycle usually just run beside it. If a dog is serious, you can easily give it a kick as you ride by. From your voice, your posture, and your smell, a dog can tell if you are frightened or scared and will just come after you harder.

  6. #6
    Senior Member recklesscogniti's Avatar
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    I used to live in Samoa and you couldn't even jog down a path without being attacked by a dog. There were a number of inventive ways to get them off of you. One day all of the tricks failed to scare away this one dog and he got right up onto me so I pepper sprayed it. Mount a little can right to your handlebar and make sure your riding partner isn't downwind.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by recklesscogniti View Post
    Mount a little can right to your handlebar and make sure your riding partner isn't downwind.
    I've been thinking about mounting a can on the handlebar. Just wondering how you do it.

  8. #8
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    I have mounted my pepper spray under my saddle. When mounting it make sure to make it is easy to rip away in am emergency.

  9. #9
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luis Vivanco View Post
    I've been thinking about mounting a can on the handlebar. Just wondering how you do it.
    Use a couple of zip ties and an 'old style' cell phone pouch that has a flap. Zip tie the pouch to your head tube, vertically and the spray will be right at hand. If there's room in the pouch carry an airhorn, too. Most times, a loud noise will 'freeze' a dog in it's tracks. A least that's been MY experience.

  10. #10
    weirdo
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    Pretty good stories, Avatar and Cycco! Thanks for putting them up.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nubcake View Post
    Im going to have to recommend NOT stopping, to me that just doesn't sound smart, why make a situation more dangerous than it has to be?? What works best for me is if the dog is charging at me ill swerve towards him a little and just bark back as loud as possible 9/10 times they will whimper away. If im feeling lazy ill just spray them with the water bottle. with those two tricks I have never had any real issues with dogs on the bike.
    Always ride with a partner. You don't have to be faster than the dog(s), just faster than your partner!

  12. #12
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luis Vivanco View Post
    I've been thinking about mounting a can on the handlebar. Just wondering how you do it.
    How about velcro? You could use that stuff with a peel off stickum and put it anywhere within easy reach.

    Ray
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nashcommguy View Post
    Use a couple of zip ties and an 'old style' cell phone pouch that has a flap. Zip tie the pouch to your head tube, vertically and the spray will be right at hand. If there's room in the pouch carry an airhorn, too. Most times, a loud noise will 'freeze' a dog in it's tracks. A least that's been MY experience.
    I use an air horn too. It hasn't worked all the time, but a 400 db blast directly at the tender ears of a ravenous mutt makes a big imact. Also, I'm prepared to use pepper spray if I'm dealing with a monster of a pooch. I read once in a book from Dennis Coello that he used a flag (like one on a BOB) mounted on the front forks and would simply detach it while riding and whip the offending dog. I've also heard of someone tossing out doggy biscuits. Yelling just makes me too excited and needlessly upset at what most likely is a dog that doesn't mean any harm. Though, when I've had enough of the same mutt chasing me repeatedly, I'll drop my bike and run after it! They always run faster home than they did after me.

  14. #14
    Unmarried velocity
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    I found out, that stray dogs are so used to local ppl abusing and hurling rocks at them, that if you just raise your hand pretending to throw a rock, they will dissapear as quickly as the showed up.
    Worked 98 times out of 100, for the last two, I made sure always to have a rock or to handy:-)

    Pepperstray is good idea, unfortunately is it illegal lots of places.

  15. #15
    rhm
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    I spent a summer in a village in rural Turkey once, almost 20 years ago now. The locals let the dogs wander free at night; the dogs were big and mean and knew who belonged in the village and who didn't. At first, every time I walked anywhere after dark, or before dawn, I had to be on the lookout for those dogs. They wouldn't attack you if you faced them, but they'd bark at you and lunge at you if you tried to walk away from them. When cornered by a dog, I usually couldn't see anything appropriate for picking up and throwing at the dog; the right stone was never near at hand. Also, the dogs took a very dim view of me bending over to pick something up; they'd lunge if I stooped down. Eventually someone would come out of a house, pick up a nice rock or two, peg the dog in the ribs with the rock and yell at him. That would set me free.

    Once I'd seen that technique a couple times, I made it a point to pick up a rock every time I walked out the door of a house. It was then that I realized: though there are hardly any stones lying around, every house has a small supply of nice, smooth, fist sized pebbles near the door. When you go out, you pick a couple up; when you arrive at destination, you put them down. Simple. It was cool to think that those stones, perfect for driving off mean dogs, had been traveling around the village for generations, keeping the dogs in line.

  16. #16
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    What should you do if this dog comes out of the bushes and chases you on your bike?

  17. #17
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    Threaten him with a shave and a hair cut.

  18. #18
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    Pepper spray his camera crew; without an audience, he'll probably just slink back into the bushes...

  19. #19
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    We took a class about Tasers this week. They showed a couple of videos on using them on dogs. Pretty good tactic. There is a civilian model.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgZZiXPajAc

  20. #20
    dia por dia El Pelon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durward_Kirby View Post
    We took a class about Tasers this week. They showed a couple of videos on using them on dogs. Pretty good tactic. There is a civilian model.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgZZiXPajAc
    ummmmm . . . no, thanks. Yikes. That would HURT.

    I usually just speed up and give 'em a blast from my water bottle. Never been bitten.
    Dia por dia.

  21. #21
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pelon View Post
    ummmmm . . . no, thanks. Yikes. That would HURT.

    I usually just speed up and give 'em a blast from my water bottle. Never been bitten.
    I think if you were a police officer, you'd soon sing another tune. Those people encounter dogs much more frequently than any cyclist, for whom "what to do about dogs?" is a mostly intellectual exercise.

    Dogs live in their world. We, in ours. Dogs don't follow human conventions, and they are definitely physically tougher than we are. Dogs who live the barrios of US cities are just like the near feral ones encountered in the third world.

    A little negative re-inforcement from a police officer will imbed a very clear memory in the dogs brain. He will undoubtably not attack another uniformed police officer.

    I find that most dogs I get hassled by are pretty good souls. Some say "don't stop" but I disagree. Stopping breaks the chase sequence. It also clears up any notion that you are or aren't human. Without exception, dogs that were chasing me a second ago will now be circling, or looking back over their shoulder for the master to come out, or for back-up. They just don't know what to do with something that does not run. Within a few seconds, I'm either petting them for stopping the chase action, or the are peeing on some object nearby, marking the limit of where I can go.

    EDIT: I do believe, however, that there is a % of actually aggressive dogs that do bite. For those, you gotta be meaner than they are and realize that it might be your turn in the barrel becaue you might get in one good kick but usually the second will miss.
    Last edited by jcm; 01-18-09 at 09:55 AM.

  22. #22
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    Why stop? We've found that unless we're going 25-30km or more, most dogs can easily sustain the chase. If we stop, they get flustered and don't know what our next move will be. Most times, as soon as we stop, they turn around and walk away. I don't know about the average cyclist-chasing North American dog, but there's no way I'd want to be chased by the sheepdogs of Greece or Turkey!!
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  23. #23
    Unmarried velocity
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm View Post
    Within a few seconds, I'm either petting them for stopping the chase action, or the are peeing on some object nearby, marking the limit of where I can go.
    +1
    Good one

  24. #24
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    Why stop? We've found that unless we're going 25-30km or more, most dogs can easily sustain the chase. If we stop, they get flustered and don't know what our next move will be. Most times, as soon as we stop, they turn around and walk away. I don't know about the average cyclist-chasing North American dog, but there's no way I'd want to be chased by the sheepdogs of Greece or Turkey!!
    Exactly. If a cyclist can out run a dog, then I doubt the dog was even close enough to cause much concern in the first place. Even medium sized dogs can sprint upwards of 28mph for at least 200 yards flat out. A Dingo type can probably reach speeds up to 30+ in just a few seconds. Breaking the chase sequence is the best way to stop it fast.

    Besides, what choice do you really have? If you're going to be bitten, it will happen whether you're standing still or trying in vain to out run the "mongrel cur."

  25. #25
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    use your bike as a barrier between the dog, use pepper spray, use 9 mm, use pocketknife or switchblade, rip out throat with hands, hit it on head, hit it on nose, club it. Use what is available, hey you're the human, its a filthy pet.

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