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Dogs(44 posts)

DogsJohn Evans
Aug 16, 2001 7:21 AM
Once again last night, I was chased by dogs. When the big black leader of the 3 dog pack got up near my front wheel I quit running from them and stopped. They then ran away but still it screwed up the ride, I pushed much harder up the hill than I intended then I had to stop. And what if they hadn?t run away or the big dog had got into my wheel, it could have been even worse. Now to the point, does anyone have experience with one of those Ultrasonic dog repeller things or the pepper spray? What works best? The only other option is my Bretta 92F.
re: DogsAndy D
Aug 16, 2001 7:33 AM
I run into the same problem with dogs on my daily commute. At first a good shout was working now it seems that my friendly dogs enjoys that. I haven't used pepper spray kinda afraid I'll have it pointed the wrong way and blast myself. But, in the past I have used a Mini Airhorn about the same size as a the HALT pepper spray. You used to be able to buy them at a Boating stores. i am interested in the Ultasonic deal too but can't find any place that sells them.
re: DogsJohn Evans
Aug 16, 2001 7:40 AM
I found allot of listings for one priced from $20-$25 by searching Google on Ultrasonic Dog Chaser. But I like the looks of one called the Dazer. I doubt the link works but you can copy & paste it. I just want somebody to tell me they have used one and it works.
Be their friend, it confuses themMB1
Aug 16, 2001 7:37 AM
After moving to the East Coast (doggie country) I lost a lot of joy in riding because of the dogs and the stress I was feeling. Then I had an breakthrough idea. Just be their friend.

Now I talk to them in a calm voice and they are my little buddies. Well, it works for me but I draw the line at fleas.
They can smell fearmr_spin
Aug 16, 2001 8:02 AM
A calm and authoritative voice is usually all it takes. Dogs can smell fear, or more accurately, the pheromones you produce when scared or anxious or under stress. That will make the mean dogs even meaner. So don't freak out and start yelling.

I pretend to ignore them as much as I can, and usually say "nice puppy" as I go by. I've never had any problems.
Try beans for breakfast, but then no one will ride with you! -nmTig
Aug 16, 2001 8:17 AM
no message
Hauling ButtLeroy L
Aug 16, 2001 7:40 AM
works for me. I ride out in the country and get chased all the time. It's better than some of the redneck drivers [not many of them thank goodness]. I look on dog chases as merely an impromtpu interval and use it as such. Talk to them like an owner: "no" and sometimes "come-on" and "good dog" work! Almost every dog you encounter these days is a pet. There is no time or circumstance when you actually have to hurt a dog by burning its eyes with spray or otherwise injuring it. Nor should you; they are just being dogs. With all due respect, injuring them is just chickens**t, in my humble opinion. What are you afraid of? So just haul butt and outrun them - or train until you can do that. Until then ride where there's a leash law, or plan your route around them. Why don't you just try to enjoy the chase? The dogs do.
Agree with Hauling Buttwink
Aug 16, 2001 8:05 AM
I have been chased by plenty of dogs, some of them big and mean looking! Found out that the fastest dog I ever encountered tops out at about 22 mph and was only able to hold that speed for a few seconds. Once I had a Doberman after me up a hill he was gainingg on me. So I turned around and went down the hill to "drop-him". Still I never heard of a dog attacking a bike or a rider. Good interval training!
Now you have...PsyDoc
Aug 16, 2001 8:28 AM
...I was attacked by a dog that I later found out from other cyclists would try to ambush them. Well, I was the unfortunate one the dog actually got. The dog was a 60-70 pound lab mix. The dog sprang out from a driveway that was lined with foliage so you could not see the dog coming. I had no time to react and dog and I collided at 20mph. I went down and the people I was riding with had to keep chasing the dog off, because this dog wanted blood. Dog was majorly pissed-off!! Anyway, I broke my right collar bone and sustained a fractures in my pelvis near the right Ishium. People ask me if I blamed the way...a dog's behavior is, in part, the responsibility of the owner. I still get chased by dogs, but all they want to do is play. I have not crossed paths with another "bad" dog...thank goodness!
Sorry to hear thatwink
Aug 16, 2001 9:30 AM
Wow. I guess I was wrong. Did the dog actually attack your bike or was it just a collision? I do agree with you that there are owners out there that are completely irresponsible. Hope you have completely recovered from this.
I was bit 3 weeks ago!Miklos
Aug 16, 2001 9:24 AM
Usually you can tell if a dog is friendly or not. I though this one was. I was approaching the dog at the start of a very steep uphill section that was just after a steep downhill section with a 5mph corner. He looked friendly, so as I was going by him, I didn't even un-clip to kick at him. He bit me in the leg about 6" above my ankle bone. I quickly stopped and yelled and the dog took off running. Man, those German Shepards bit hard. Three out of four fangs punctured pretty deep and my leg swelled up about 2" larger. Went back later in my car to talk to owners and make sure the dog was current on rabies, etc. Told them this time I'll let them off the hook, but next time I won't.

Yes, there is a leash law, but just like most laws, nobody obeys them.

There are no dog free loops/rides where I am at. Just a fact of life.

I own two German Shepards, they can run very fast too.

That was very forgiving of youAlexR
Aug 16, 2001 11:11 AM
I am a longtime dog owner and current owner of a dog who spent the first 12 months of his life with an abusive owner and in the pound. I know that getting rid of anti-social behavior in a dog is a long road. My little fellow is very nervous of new people and is "mouthy" with folks (tall men especially) he has jus met. My greatest fear is that before I can teach him better, we will be on a walk and he will be surprised by a jogger coming from behind us. Many people believe that a dog who nips should be destroyed, no questions asked.

So, as a person who may eventually need the forgiveness of a stranger - thank you for giving that dog a second chance.

The two German ShepardsMiklos
Aug 16, 2001 11:53 AM
that I have now were both "saved" from owners who no longer wanted them. One was 12 months and the other was 10 months old. They sure love life now with 4 fully fenced acres to run on.

With most all of the problems caused by dogs, I think that it is actually the irresponsible owner who is to blame. That is why I gave the dog a second chance.

Glad to see another cyclist who is also dog lover.

and smart ! nmLeroy L
Aug 16, 2001 1:14 PM
referring to the German Shepherds [nm]Leroy L
Aug 16, 2001 1:26 PM
re: DogsTig
Aug 16, 2001 7:49 AM
I don't know if this will work in the dark, but it hasn't failed me during day rides. This only works if you have a few extra ounces of water that you don't mind losing. When I see the dogs come out running to catch me, I simply pull out a bottle and spray it at them when they start getting close. Something about the water squirting towards them either scares or suprises them. The noise of squirting water and air might make it more effective. It never hurts the dogs or anything else for that matter. If you find a dog it doesn't work on, you just found a new sprint coach!
re: Dogssl
Aug 16, 2001 8:10 AM
I will use whatever means necessary to protect myself. If some idiot is stupid enough to let a dog loose that will chase or bite people then they should expect open season on there dog. If I go by a house that I know has a mean dog loose I usually pick up a big rock before I get there and try to nail him in the head as he gets close.
Dogs Psychologyjagiger
Aug 16, 2001 9:04 AM
I've had alot of experience with dogs since my running days. It takes some time to build experience & the confidence to know what approach to take. After awhile you know which ones are "hell bent for leather" and which are "all bark". The tail is a good indicator of "friend or foe" & if it's wagging it's a good sign (talk to these guys). It the tail's stiff or rigid, the dog's checking you out which buys some time. If they running after you then obviously, you have to act quickly determine to out run them or stop.

For the more aggressive dogs, I'm starting to lean to some protection & self preservation, especially since you are more vulnerable on a bike & sprinting won't solve all your problems. The ultrasonic things sounds good but the pepper spray sounds like over kill & a little cruel. I tried a less drastic solution for running, that was reccomended to me by a local dog warden when I lived in the country (don't expect leashed dogs here). The fix was a solution of ammonia and water, 3/4 strength with A. It worked pretty well, 'cause all they need is a whiff & you don't have to be too accurate. Even if you catch the eyes, it's not a long term thing. Howover, getting the right kind of squeeze bottle might be tough to find for use on a bike & it's no fun if it leaks.

I also found that some dogs are can only be kept at bay but basically undeterred. I was cornered once while running by two splendid hunting dogs (setters). I kept them at a distance with my "A spray", but they continued to persist in making their presence felt by barking & harrassing me. I had to admire their training & determination, even though I didn't appreciate them in the road which I think is out of bounds & kind of stupid if you like your dog.

One other thing is that alot of people view their dogs as family & they might get pretty pissed if you tried pepper spraying them. You might not know what to expect in return. Lately, I've had a few people who are trying to re-educate me to "the rules of the road", just on the principal of the thing. I try to be ride defensively & keep a cool attitude, as I don't want someone else to get driven off the rode, 'cause I've flipped off some jerk.
Just shoot 'emKarl
Aug 16, 2001 10:03 AM
Carry a .22 and shoot them. Even if you just wing them, they won't bother you again. Unless, of course, shooting an attacking dog is illegal in your state, then I can't offer any other 'permanent' advice.
Dogs PsychologyWhatever
Aug 16, 2001 10:17 AM
Before reading this, please understand that I think dogs are very cool...and that dog problems are almost always problems with the owner. But we have to ensure our own safety, so here are my thoughts:

Dogs are very instinctual animals (which is why they can be socialized/trained by humans...we are actually leveraging their pack hierarchy instincts. Woe unto the owner if little Fifi starts thinking that Fifi is the Alpha male, for example.)

To a dog, a biker spinning down the road is the same size and speed as a deer. I have seen reasonably well-trained dogs go berzerk and chase me apparently for this reason. Other dogs chase away anything that nears their turf...and when we ride on, they get positive reinforcement...their defense was successful, and they can't wait to do it again. Why do dogs bark at the postman? Because they perceive a threat, they bark, they "drive the threat away," and they are conditioned to do it again next time. The point of these examples is that dogs have deeply seated instincts that owners have to control to curb this type of behavior

We as bikers and the owners/trainers are fighting these instincts, and it is entirely reasonable that our planned responses take worst-case scenarios in mind. The first time we encounter a dog, we have no idea what type of animal it is and how/if it has been trained. Accordingly, it is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Here is my take on the morality and tactics discussed above:

(1) We have leash laws around my parts, even in the back areas (county wide). F@#! the dog owners who don't obey if little Fifi (or big Brutus) gets a bit busted up in an exchange with me. I could give a rat's @ss about the health of the dog or how the owner feels at the end of the day if they don't socialize and control their animals, and protect me (the innocent biking public) against them.

(2) I have heard of tactics used where you face down the dog (off the bike, with the bike between you and the dog. In addition to ruining a perfectly good bike buzz, I think that this tactic is not prudent...if you know nothing about that dog, you are potentially putting yourself at increased risk. You don't know if that dog is a happy family pet or a backyard mauler kept chained to a stake 23 hours a day by some sociopath. In the SF Bay Area (my turf) we have had one fatal mauling and one nearly fatal one that left the kid near death in the last year or this threat is real, none of us should discount it because we "understand dogs." My bottom line is that when a dog is chasing me, I know nothing about the animal or its owner, it is me or the dog, and while I won't intentionally hurt the animal, my safety comes first.

(3) Regarding the tactics to use when being chased, I do something similar to jagiger above. When my route went by a particularly agressive dog every day, I started mixing a bit of lemon juice in one water bottle. I could still drink the water, but I had enough in that bottle to nail Brutus/Fifi straight in the eyes when he got close. I am sure it stung, and ask me if I care. It would also not cause permanent damage. Despite my ranting here, I have owned dogs in the past and would not harm one unless my own safety is at stake.

(4) I have heard that snarling and snapping at a dog can throw it off...dogs read body language, since it is part of the way they communicate with each other. I know from personal experience that if you bare your teeth and snarl at an animal that already sees you as the Alpha male, you can really shake them up...but I haven't tried this on a dog in attack mode. I am not sure this would be prudent, since the context of the snarl might mean something different coming from an established Alpha male (or dog owner) vs. an intruder/challenger to the dog's status.

Ultimately, trying to sprint by the dog is the best strategy, and if you know you are passing on
I agree totallysl
Aug 16, 2001 11:18 AM
I try to avoid dogs and outsprint them when I can. But if it comes down to my safety, I'm not going to get all "touch feely", I'm going to protect myself by whatever means I think is necessary. If the owners don't like it, too bad. If your too ingnorant to keep your dog off the road then face the consequences. What are people thinking when they let a dog free that will harm people? Some postings mentioned pepper spray as a cruel method, I view it as mild. If I wouldn't get into legal trouble I'd prefer to shoot the damn thing. At least that would remove the problem and keep kids or someone else from being mauled and maybe it make other dumb a$$e$ think twice before they let their inocent little pouchy run free.
Don't freewheel near dogsVelocipedio
Aug 16, 2001 9:28 AM
The sound drives them nuts. Often, dogs go after cyclists JUST because of that.
re: DogsMike K
Aug 16, 2001 9:42 AM
A couple of facts of life about dogs:

1. Most dogs are not trying to attack you but rather drive you off from what they consider to be their turf (this is why once you get beyond a property line or yard the chase stops).
2. Most medium or larger dogs CAN catch you while you sprint unless you are Cippo, or Tom Steels or going down a good sized hill. Most large dogs can reach cyclist speeds pretty easily - see #1.
3. Dogs do not change directions well as speed. They will angle off a rider but if you increase your speed they will not adjust well and end up behind you.
4. Pepper spray is a bad idea, unless you spend a lot of time practicing with it you are just as likely to get it on yourself as you are to get the dog.
5. All you really need to do is distract the dog for a second or so so that it breaks stride or gets confused. This should give you enough time to make it off the dog's "turf." A loud air horn will work as will a mixture of water with lemon juice or ammonia.
6. The thing that bothers me most is that while a dog is chasing you down a public road he is in serious jeopardy of being hit by a car.
7. None of this is the fault of the dog, it is always the fault of the owner - if you want to shoot someone, shoot him/her! Point that POS 92F at my dogs and I will shoot you.

Remeber that most dogs are more likeable than most people.

Otto & Baron
A couple of cuties.MB1
Aug 16, 2001 10:17 AM
I like dogs. True story...

One followed a group of us for over 15 miles...poor thing. It tried to stay ahead of us, whenever it got a ways ahead it would stop and look back for us. We finally thought we dropped him but he kept following a group of slower riders behind us. One of the guys finally tied him up and called his owner. Good thing it had a tag. His owner was sure suprised when he found out how far away from home it was.

That was one tired puppy. (Sorry, bicycle humor.) It was a pretty friendly dog, never barked or anything. He just liked to run I guess.
herding instinctsTig
Aug 16, 2001 10:54 AM
Having owned a Border Collie, I learned a bunch about herding breeds. Sheep dogs like Australian Sheperds, etc., have a extra strong herding instinct. Some mixed mutts have it as well. They will try to herd anything including cars, squirrels, the kids in the neighborhood, frisbees, you name it. Luckily, most herders don't bite. They just love the work.

Never underestimate their ability to manuever at full speed. That is what they were bred for.
re: DogsJohn Evans
Aug 16, 2001 10:20 AM
Any dog that bites me or any of the kids in the area I wont have a second thought or loose a night?s sleep over killing it. We?ve had 2 kids and one older runner, one of the kids very badly in the face, bitten over the past few years in my area. All of those dogs have been put down. I live out in the country here in Tennessee and dogs running free here is a way of life but the owners are responsible for their actions. With that said I guess the rational thing to do would be call the county cops and report the dog?s actions. They will then have to contact the owners and inform them of the consequences of not controlling their dogs. When and if those dogs actually injure someone after the warning the owners will end up writing a big check when the lawyers get done. I was just hoping to find a way to deter their behavior. I was hoping someone here would say that the ultrasound option worked.

About last night: Once I thought the dog might get in my front wheel I skidded to a stop. When I stopped I was in the oncoming lane, that scared me. I dropped my bike in the ditch and chased the dogs home on foot, I was pissed and I hope none of the kids heard the names I called those dogs.

Bottom line I don?t want to hurt those or any dogs but I will if I have to. More importantly I don?t want the dogs to hurt anybody. Next tine I guess I?ll call the cops.
John, where in TN? nmHaiku d'état
Aug 16, 2001 11:48 AM
John, where in TN? nmJohn Evans
Aug 16, 2001 12:11 PM
Rockwood, 35-40 mi west of Knoxville
John, where in TN?Haiku d'état
Aug 16, 2001 12:16 PM
memphis here. ever climbed clingman's dome?
country rider toodinky
Aug 16, 2001 9:43 AM
I certainly can understand your frustration. I ride on country roads and have encountered many hounds. Mostly it really startles me because I don't always see them coming and some of the boogers are downright stealthy. I guess that I have been lucky since I haven't had any bites or wrecks. The water bottle squirt has been my best defense. The dog is usually really breathing hard trying to catch me and it seems that the water gets sucked right into the lungs, plus it seems to startle them enough to knock them out of their mission.
For the most part, dogs seem satisfied after I have left their area. They did the job of running off the threat so they are happy. Try the water and if that doesn't work, maybe try talking to the owners. I think that if you explained that not only could you be seriously injured but so could their pet. Those fast spinning flat spokes could slice rover's nose right off or more likely break his neck. Not to mention what would happen if there was also a car coming at the same time. I don't know anything about the repeller and I think pepper spray would be extreme. Good luck!
re: Dogsjaybird
Aug 16, 2001 10:01 AM
What was the dog's name in American Flyers? Eddie?

A shot of water in the snot box is all that I have ever really needed when they have gotten too close. Although the bigger the dog the more Chippo-like I become...
Why I'll use pepper spray.CSIguy
Aug 16, 2001 10:40 AM
I ride in a very rural/redneck area where I can encounter up to 15 dogs on one 40 mile ride. Out of these 15 a good 50% will give spirited chase. Often well beyond their owners property line.
The closest I have come to injury by one has been when they dart in front of the bike causing near collisions.
I carry pepper spray in my right rear jersey pocket on every ride. I have to agree that, when I have to use it, it is probably cruel in the short term . However, I have never used it to get back at the dogs or because I am in fear of my life or limb. I use it, primarily, to protect the dog. Frequently when a dog sees a bike he/she gets very excited. I have had several instances where a dog chasing me just for fun has gotten so wrapped up in the chase that he/she has darted out directly in to on coming traffic. Another poster above metioned this. There are two potential problems with this. The most obvious is that the dog might get hit and injured or killed. The second is that the driver may panic and in swerving to miss the dog end up hitting me.
I rarely use the pepper spray, but on the ones I have used it on they don't chase me again. I don't think I am simply justifying using it when I think I am potentially saving the dogs life.
Also...when I find a country road I haven't been down before I am more likely to turn down it to see where it goes just because I know I have the spray in case of dire emergency. It is very common where I ride to encounter pit bulls, rottweillers and other such ferocious, big and fast dogs running loose.
pepper spray as a training device?CSIguy
Aug 17, 2001 9:52 AM
I've only actually felt the need to use pepper spray twice even though I am chased constantly. In both cases the dogs had darted across lanes of oncoming traffic to try and get at me. Also in both cases the dogs seemed to have serious intentions of getting at my flesh! I would only recommend using pepper spray while the dog is slightly behind or beside you to avoid the possibility of getting an eye full yourself! Rather than aim a steady stream at the dog I start just ahead of the animal and then sweep by him/her. I hope this gets the message across without completely dousing the dogs eyes/nose. When it comes to pepper spray, a little goes a long way and the goal is not to cause any more trauma than necessary. The times I have done this the dog has stopped immediately with out any whimper or noise whatsoever and started wiping at its eyes/nose with a front paw. In both cases I have seen these dogs again on later rides, but they showed zero interest in chasing me again.
The effects are painful, but temporary and seem to effectively train the dog that cyclists are no fun to chase.
One other thing to keep in mind is to avoid rubbing your own face with the hand that did the spraying until you have a chance to wash it thoroughly.
re: Dogsnova
Aug 16, 2001 10:54 AM
Many of the replies here are right on the money, especially when it comes to canine instincts. The key is in understanding their behavior. For the most part, they just want you to know that you are in their territory. The "Alpha Male" issue is certainly a factor, and some dogs will challenge anyone and anything in the quest for Alpha status.

Dogs aren't entirely stupid, but they don't have an understanding of the concept of *throwing things.* The ability to pick something up and hurl it during a standoff or confrontation is nearly God-like to a dog. By throwing something, you are in essence reaching across a great distance and asserting yourself against the dog. It startles them, and makes them reconsider what they are doing.

For those of you with a dog; the next time Fido is chewing your slipper or tearing through the trash can, just yell and throw a sneaker or something similar at the dog. I bet they will cease the unwanted behavior immediately.
Speedy Dognuke
Aug 16, 2001 10:54 AM
I enjoy dogs and have two german shepherds myself. So I tend to look at dogs as a sprint interval. In a rural setting, there is this one dog (mutt) that is really really fast. He can catch up to us even when we're hitting 25 mph! He just likes to run and eye your front wheel (which makes me nervous). So we usually just spring by his house, knowing full well that we'll get a chase for a short while.

But to offer advice on dealing with dogs, I agree with the other posters that the water bottle is an effective tool. Good points: it's convenient for you, carries right there on your bike, is non-toxic to you, you don't have blowback risk, is legal. I've known several riders use it effectively.
Speedy DogLeroy L
Aug 16, 2001 1:24 PM
The fastest dog on any of my county road loops [Ellis County, Texas] is an Australian Shepherd who can hit about 25 mph. That guy is some kind of incentive!
Pack a couple tennis ballsAristotle
Aug 16, 2001 12:07 PM
Maybe if you toss one, the dog will go fetch it.
or better yet, doggie biscuits...(nm)Spinchick
Aug 16, 2001 1:09 PM
I use an AIR HORN. (nm)_BLT_
Aug 16, 2001 5:24 PM
carry a cat, in a backpack, let it go to distract the dog<nm>harlett
Aug 16, 2001 5:48 PM
carry a cat, in a backpack, let it go to distract the dog<nm>Skip
Aug 16, 2001 7:40 PM
Explaining those scratches on your back to your significant other may be interesting.
re: DogsSkip
Aug 16, 2001 7:47 PM

1. Your bike dispenses "Dog biscuit chaff", to confuse and distract those incoming, heat seekers.

2. Use a paint ball gun instead of your Berretta 92F.
re: DogsSkip
Aug 16, 2001 7:50 PM
PS: The paint ball gun can also be used to mark those harrassing vehicles.
Change DirectionStewK
Aug 16, 2001 7:54 PM
I had read that dogs "lead you" as they're chasing you. That is, they anticipate where you will be and move towards that point. Yesterday, on a rural road, a dog came chasing me from the left and slightly behind. As he got close to my bicycle I veered left into him. I didn't hit him, but threw him off guard and he lost interest. My riding buddy was about a minute behind me and he said he didn't even see a dog.