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Dogs unleashed

Old 09-30-21, 12:24 PM
  #1  
Brian Marshall
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Dogs unleashed

As I have been riding for over 25 years now, it seems that my encounters with unleashed dogs on the trails has increased dramatically. Maybe it is because I ride a lot with my 5 year old daughter and she is petrified of dogs after being chase by one while on her bike. Anyone else having this issue? Any thoughts on how to combat it? Thanks
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Old 09-30-21, 12:36 PM
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Old 09-30-21, 12:40 PM
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Not sure what the issue is. I see unleashed dogs on the trail all the time including mine that I used to take with me. They are happy dogs.
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Old 09-30-21, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Not sure what the issue is. I see unleashed dogs on the trail all the time including mine that I used to take with me. They are happy dogs.
The issue is when you have a 5 year old riding with you, I yell out to the dog owner that my daughter is afraid of dogs and they yell back "don't worry, they are friendly". Then the dog proceeds to approach us and my daughter visibly freaking out and the owner walks right by without even calling the dog. It has happened several times this past summer alone. It is the one thing my daughter dislikes about mountain biking and usually for a few days after an encounter with a dog, she will insist on riding on the streets and not the trails. All the trails we ride are state parks and dogs are prohibited from being off leash.
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Old 09-30-21, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Marshall View Post
and they yell back "don't worry, they are friendly"..
That's always the case so I wouldn't worry. I never have met a mean dog on the trail yet. When my dog was alive I used to bring her on the trail all the time and so did my friends.

I don't ride in State Parks, mainly because they don't have MTB trails in them in WI, so there is no leash requirement on the trails. Maybe you should stop in and talk to the park officials to help you.
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Old 10-01-21, 06:31 AM
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I have found most people with unleashed dogs on the trails have been pretty good about calling their dogs when encountering someone on a mountain bike, and I have never had a bad encounter with a dog in the woods (along the road is a different story). Of course, there are some dogs that should not be off leash anywhere, and I am just going to have to trust the owners better judgement.... which I am aware is not always sound. But I am trusting other peoples' better judgement pretty much every time I ride a bike on the road, aren't I?

I don't know the particulars of your situation, but I can't see a 5-year old mountain biking in the places I typically run into dogs off leash. If this is in an urban area, then people need to call their dogs when asked, and it sounds like you just need to get into someone's face if they don't.
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Old 10-01-21, 06:57 AM
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Pepper spray is the most effective and easiest to use. It doesn't harm the dog, it just makes them run away. Problem solved, every time. I never ride without it and it has never failed to deter an unleashed dog.
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Old 10-01-21, 08:20 AM
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I would NOT use pepper spray in the OPs situation. I would never pepper spray a dog that is not actually themselves being aggressive or posing a threat. And simply running up to me does not equate to a threat. In the OPs case, the issue is not the dog, but rather a negligent owner and a child with an irrational fear, which pepper spraying the dog is only going to enforce.

And do not assume pepper spray does not harm a dog. Teaching a dog that cyclists are a threat can have unintended consequences. If you truly feel you are in danger, then yes, use it, but do not do so lightly.

Last edited by Kapusta; 10-01-21 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 10-01-21, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I have found most people with unleashed dogs on the trails have been pretty good about calling their dogs when encountering someone on a mountain bike, and I have never had a bad encounter with a dog in the woods (along the road is a different story). Of course, there are some dogs that should not be off leash anywhere, and I am just going to have to trust the owners better judgement.... which I am aware is not always sound. But I am trusting other peoples' better judgement pretty much every time I ride a bike on the road, aren't I?

I don't know the particulars of your situation, but I can't see a 5-year old mountain biking in the places I typically run into dogs off leash. If this is in an urban area, then people need to call their dogs when asked, and it sounds like you just need to get into someone's face if they don't.
I too have had more problems with dogs road riding and I have had zero problems with dogs mountain biking on trails through the woods. Road riding...people that leave their dogs loose in the yard and then it comes out and chases you or starts biting at the leg. When that has happened I squirt the dog with my water bottle or kick the dog in the face.

People that mountain bike on the trails don't bring their dogs with them if they know the dog will be aggressive towards other people. At least that's been my experience.
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Old 10-04-21, 01:41 PM
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Had 1 dog ran after me while riding on a road late afternoon. Yelled at it to go home in a very commanding voice. Heh, heard it whine and saw it walk slowly back home...poor thing.....

Recently had a very small dog off leash on the C&O and walked right in front of me while riding and sat forcing me to stop. I stared down the owner and the duf was just smiling like it was such a cute thing that the mini dog didn't get run over by my heavily weighted bike.

There was a dog that I was fearful though. When living in MD, there was a normal early morning ride I took before getting ready for work. A guy owned a pit bull, a very aggressive pit bull, one that the owner had a hard time holding onto while It snarled, growled and barked aggressively at me while on a public trail.

I understand your daughter is 5 yrs old, but not to sound to mean, there is no getting away from things like this. Even if there are laws against it, it's usually a good idea to be ready for any situation and as your daughter grows, will look at how prepared her Dad is and will eventually prepare herself for other people's nonsense.

Last edited by travbikeman; 10-04-21 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 10-04-21, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I would NOT use pepper spray in the OPs situation. I would never pepper spray a dog that is not actually themselves being aggressive or posing a threat. And simply running up to me does not equate to a threat. In the OPs case, the issue is not the dog, but rather a negligent owner and a child with an irrational fear, which pepper spraying the dog is only going to enforce.

And do not assume pepper spray does not harm a dog. Teaching a dog that cyclists are a threat can have unintended consequences. If you truly feel you are in danger, then yes, use it, but do not do so lightly.
The pepper spray isn't for the dog, it's for the owner.

And if I am dog phobic, then the dogs running up to me DOES equate to a threat, as it is likely to result in a crash, whether the dogs are friendly or not.

The law does not state that "dangerous dogs must be leashed". It states that ALL dogs must be leashed.
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Old 10-05-21, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
The pepper spray isn't for the dog, it's for the owner.
Pepper spray can only legally be used for self defense if dog or owner is threatening you. You can't randomly spray a dog just because your little girl is scared of dogs.
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Old 10-06-21, 11:47 AM
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On a trail I would opt for pepper spray if a dog came at me. Dog behavior varies considerably depending on how it was trained, the disposition of the breed (guard dog versus sheep herding breeds) and how many dogs. Dogs will be more aggressive in a pack and in Marin county in California there was a big problem with people letting their dogs run free during the day. When the dogs formed into packs they would chase down and kill deer, especially young fawns.

I have breed and trained many sheepdogs over the years and my experience has been that most dog owners make no effort to train or learn how to control their dogs on or off a leash. I was in a park in Anchorage a few years ago and two women had their dog off lead and it was chasing down a moose with its calf. The women thought it was very funny and I regretted not having a cannister of bear spray with me.

I have not been able to ride for the past month as my neighbor's dog got out into the road as the neighbor does not have fenced yard and only an electronic perimeter wire that requires that the dog have a special collar on its neck with working batteries and the neighbor could not be bothered to use the collar. To avoid the dog I crashed my bike on the pavement and tore up both knees and an elbow and a wrist. This was not an accident but the result of the negligence of my neighbor as a dog owner. A dog that causes a bike rider on a trail to crash could result in broken wrists or collar bone and the dog owner is not going to pay for the rider's ambulance and hospital bills. In areas where ranching is occurring any stray dog can be legally shot by the rancher. I feel sorry for the dog when this happens but not the dog's negligent owner.
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Old 10-06-21, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Pepper spray can only legally be used for self defense if dog or owner is threatening you. You can't randomly spray a dog just because your little girl is scared of dogs.
Ok so obviously we are having a spectrum incident of pedantry here.

Saying it's "for the owner" was passive aggressive snark. No I'm not going to literally spray people illegally just because their dog is charging my kid.

Even though the owner deserves it and the dog (probably) doesn't, alas, the law is such that the unleashed dog of an unknown and unknowable disposition which is charging myself or my family is the only legal target of the pepper spray.

Even though they should be thankful they got sprayed rather than shot, I personally have no interest in having that conversation with the police.

Saying people shouldn't fear friendly dogs is a complete BS gaslighting cop out excuse made by people who should not have unleashed dogs on public property [if leashes are required by law] and they know it. Projecting blame on someone else for your spoiled entitled behavior doesn't really impress anyone.

Last edited by nycphotography; 10-12-21 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 10-06-21, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
Ok so obviously we are having a spectrum incident of pedantry here.

Saying it's "for the owner" was passive aggressive snark. No I'm not going to literally spray people illegally just because their dog is charging my kid.

Even though the owner deserves it and the dog (probably) doesn't, alas, the law is such that the unleashed dog of an unknown and unknowable disposition which is charging myself or my family is the only legal target of the pepper spray.

Even though they should be thankful they got sprayed rather than shot, I personally have no interest in having that conversation with the police.

Saying people shouldn't fear friendly dogs is a complete BS gaslighting cop out excuse made by people who should not have unleashed dogs on public property and they know it. Projecting blame on someone else for your spoiled entitled behavior doesn't really impress anyone.
Equally, thinking dogs shouldn't be allowed some exercise if well behaved is self entitlement as well. My labradoodle is a well trained trail dog that people have no problems with. In fact, well received by most.

Although 5 is still young, I would say those with an irrational fear of dogs should work to overcome it. Dogs aren't going away and reacting due to irrational fear, no matter what it is, causes more harm than good.

Fortunately, locally we are a bit of a community of users that communicate for our common good instead of demanding others restrict themselves due to our fears. Bikers, runners hikers and dogs all get along. If a certain dog causes problems that's an individual problem, not a general one.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 10-06-21 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:10 PM
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I’m a dog owner of three semi-aggressive dogs. In the mountains where it will be just me and my dogs, they are allowed off the leash. If they are to be where other people and dogs will be, they stay on a leash. When people approach my dogs (on foot or bike) I make my dogs sit and calmly tell the people that my dogs aren’t friendly and to keep their distance.

I was out walking my dogs through a park early this past summer when I realized that we would be passing a little girl and her teacup Yorkie. I told the girl to keep her dog close as I made my dogs sit and tried to put my body between my dogs and the girl/pup. The girl said “my dog is friendly” and refused to pick up her dog or put it in a leash. I repeated my dogs aren’t nice.
long story short, my dogs got tangled up with her and her puppy. A Park Ranger saw the whole thing and issued her parents a citation for not controlling the dog. The park was a park where dogs could be off their leashes, but the owners had to have 100% control over their dogs.

I would love to take my dogs for bike rides, but because they are aggressive I leave my dogs at home.

As to the person wanting to use pepper spray on either the dog or on the owner… be warned some people and animals are immune to pepper spray. I’m one of those people, all it does is makes me mad and I am not responsible for the actions of spraying me or my animals.
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Old 10-07-21, 08:21 AM
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Ultimately if they are riding on state trails where dogs are prohibited off leash then the OP should be talking to the park ranger. Not coming on some bike forum and asking "What should I do?"
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Old 10-07-21, 08:42 AM
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063.
[QUOTE=Brian Marshall;22251620................................... All the trails we ride are state parks and dogs are prohibited from being off leash.[/QUOTE]

There's your problem.
In our Provincial Park any dog that's off leash will get a good ear full from me, errrr sorry not the dog, the stupid, ignorant owner will.

Story from many years ago: a neighbour was taking pictures for the ""Friends of ..... Park" newsletter. He commented on the fact that our Siberian Huskies were always leashed. I told him that looking for the two all over the Park would be no fun.
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Old 10-10-21, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Equally, thinking dogs shouldn't be allowed some exercise if well behaved is self entitlement as well.
Where did I say dogs shouldn't be allowed exercise? Exercise them approriately, in appropriate places, where allowed.

If I or someone have a fear of dogs, then it is our job to stay away from the dog park or parks where leashes are not required.

But if dog fearing people go where leashes are required, then they have done their part.

Dunno why this concept is so challenging for some people. Oh wait. Yea, we do all know why. ENTITLEMENT.
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Old 10-10-21, 11:16 AM
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I think entitlement is a two way street and reflexively refering to arbitrary rules instead of common sense is the domain of a society that cannot government itself. Some people like to bash people with rules to make themselves feel better. I am sure those same people ignore similar rules when they exceed the speed limit or cross the street outside designated crosswalks.

Personally I am a responsible dog owner who has worked diligently since she was a puppy on socialization and the skills of heeling, recall and proper approach. My dog is well behaved on the trails I run or ride. Fortunately, in my area that is still respected. When another person approaches I assess whether they appear concerned. If so I leash my dog (she has a short leash attached that I just hold).

Let us also consider the context. Hopefully we are not talking city parks but rather more back country locals used for mountain biking. In a city type park with a high user density on leash makes sense. In a setting where I may encounter one or two, or no other people, on leash throughout doesn't.

Also, trail dogs are a common part of mountain bike sub culture. They are usually happy, friendly dogs that are used to seeing riders as part of their pack. Getting mad at that will, in some ways, put one outside the norms for the activity one is doing.

If we consider some of those things then a person venting their spleen because of some administrative rule can also be seen as entitlement. Getting angry in the woods, for no tangible reason is just as aggressive in some sense as a dog that is misbehaved. Again, fortunately in the areas I frequent, both dogs and humans generally are well behaved.

I understand the fear of dogs. However, like a fear of water that stops someone from learning to swim, not dealing with that fear in a rational way and expecting everyone else to compensate generally won't work out that well. There will always be dogs and water. Equally, I would be just as direct in saying that dog owners need to be responsible for socializing their dogs and maintaining appropriate control in terms of recall or use a leash.

My POV would be to save the agro for dogs (and owners) who are ill behaved.
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Old 10-11-21, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I think entitlement is a two way street and reflexively refering to arbitrary rules instead of common sense...
So basically you posted a wall of text to explain why you feel entitled to ignore park rules because ''your dogs are special".

There is really no point in continuing the conversation, as you are determined to rationalize away any contradictory options because "rules are for thee, but not for me, because I am special and have used my specialness to make my dogs be special too".

Suit yourself I guess, but I'll say it one last time just because: entitlement = rules are for thee but not for me
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Old 10-11-21, 10:12 AM
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The OP seems to have disappeared. If all the trails he rides are state parks and dogs are prohibited from being off leash then he should be talking to the Park Ranger. Not coming here and asking how to combat it because his daughter has an irrational fear of dogs.

Besides...I always loved taking my dog out to poop on the trails.
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Old 10-11-21, 11:43 PM
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All kinds of thoughts on dogs from different backgrounds.

Some people live rural, raise livestock and have very different expectations about dogs.
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Old 10-12-21, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
So basically you posted a wall of text to explain why you feel entitled to ignore park rules because ''your dogs are special".

There is really no point in continuing the conversation, as you are determined to rationalize away any contradictory options because "rules are for thee, but not for me, because I am special and have used my specialness to make my dogs be special too".

Suit yourself I guess, but I'll say it one last time just because: entitlement = rules are for thee but not for me
Relax. It's a discussion forum. We are discussing a subject. Sorry some views may not be similar to yours but still, no need for theatrics and such.

What I wrote spoke to taking personal responsibility, both dog owners and people with irrational fears. When people focus on responsibility and not rights they tend to get along better.

I can't help it if in my community people and dogs seem to have found a way to coexist in a cooperative manner.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 10-12-21 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 10-12-21, 07:06 AM
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Since your community works together so well there must not be any leash laws since circumstances just never existed that would inspire them. Right?
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