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Flight or Fight(19 posts)

Flight or Fightwillem72
Jan 15, 2002 3:51 PM
The Beloved did her regular 40km circuit early this morning (16 degrees C and moist in Canberra)and encountered a large, white "Pyreenean Mountain Dog" on one of the bikepaths near the Lake. This dog evidently has an appetite for Mavic and tried to eat her wheels.

The Beloved's question to me, on her return, was: should I have sped up or slowed down?

In the past I've slowed and sprayed water in the dog's face (pretty safe and effective), most times I tell it to f-off in a very loud and commanding voice and then accelerate (pretty safe and effective).

Once or twice this second approach has failed: Australia has a type of dog called the Blue Heeler, which has been bred to nip at the ankles of running cows (and then lay their head over on the ground to avoid the cow's reflexive kick). Heelers get grumpy as they get old; they are always the leader of the pack; they can run very fast (even the geriatric specimens); they live on farms at the bottom of steep hills. And yes, Heelers are good at nipping the ankles of speeding cyclists as well.

What's your general strategy?

And for an insider's perspective, Dog, Woof and other hounds: what the hell are you thinking chasing us poor riders?!

get out of dodgeg
Jan 15, 2002 4:42 PM
I usually practice my sprinting and get the hell out the way. Of course, if dog is faster or ambushes me then I spray em down with the water every time.
Yell, squirt, and sprintKerry Irons
Jan 15, 2002 5:49 PM
Dogs (all animals?) equate volume and pitch with animal size. If you yell loud and in a low pitched voice "GO HOME" or "BAD DOG" it will usually cause them to pause enough for you to sprint away before they can get a "target lock". A squirt of water in the face has the same effect, but it is much harder for you to sprint while aiming the bottle. The bottle IS much more satisfying, however.
Frame Pumpgrzy
Jan 15, 2002 6:34 PM
Richard Ballentine, in his book titled, Richard's Bicycle Book, advocated wacking them with the frame fit pump and if that didn't work to kick them in the balls. I kid you not - I read this book when I was 12 and laughed myself silly. In reality dogs are drawn to rotating things and they get used to chasing bikes. Most are harmless, but a few are not. Unfortunately you can never tell. They also are always checking to see if their foe is above or below them in terms of pecking order. Most guys can keep an agressive dog intimidated, but women, unfortuantely, are not as fortunate. I advise pedaling faster - they usually chase for a bit then give up (and it's all about the chase - right guys?) - they're pretty much asserting their territory and once you leave the boundry they don't care as much. If that doesn't work then the thing to do is slow down and dismount with the bicycle between you and the dog. In the US a dog that repeatedly does this is considered a nuisance and with enough complaints filed will be visited by the animal control officer. My brother when younger was once chased and bitten by a dog on his paper route whilke riding his bike. After he settled down he went back and approached the dog and when it came after him again he kicked it really hard in the head. Of course a neighbort just saw the second encounter and immeidately called my parents to report that my brother was evil and mean spirited. The dog never bothered him again and the neighbor wound up getting divorced.
Yell, squirt, and sprintHarry Hall
Jan 16, 2002 5:06 PM
Amen, dogs respond to a loud yell, like my usual "Go f*&(ing die, dog!" which works every time; a ride in my area (Sandy River) can have one unleashed, unfenced dog after another for several miles so I get plenty of practice. If the local 'necks don't like how I talk, they can keep their damn dogs inside.
Jan 15, 2002 9:04 PM
This is a very serious post. You could be maimed or even killed in a number of ways. As a sometime dog trainer, this is my take on the situation.

First off, if you are in a position to sprint away safely then do it. If you have any doubts that you might not get by the dog, or if your escape route is not safe (possibly full of traffic) then stop. Usually this is enought to make the dog turn away. Most dogs are just chasing cause its fun, they do not really want to bite you. If the dog is still coming, point at him and yell in the loudest most pissed off voice you can summon "NO!" It is important to always use the word "NO". Every dog no matter how badly trained has heard this word before usually followed by a thump or two in their life. The word registers even though you are a stranger. The exception is an attack dog that has been strictly trained in a foreign language. If the dog is still coming, get off your bike and use it as a shield, try squirting them with the water bottle. The jet of water confuses them and works 9 times out of ten. If they are still after you, do your best to keep your bike between you and the dog eve if you go down and keep screaming "NO!" hopefully someone will help you before you turn into a lycra clad chew toy.

Some things to know. If the dog is barking, it is either saying "I bet I can run faster than you" or "Get out of my territory." Either way you are pretty safe and are very unlikely to get bit. If the dog is coming fast and low (those damn herding breeds) and is not barking, he considers you prey and he is hunting you. If he cathces you he will likely bite you, but not kill you. If the dog is not a herder and is a large breed or worse yet more than one dog and they are coming fast and low and not barking, do everything you can to get away. Your ass is grass, they are hunting you and will likely hurt you badly. This is where Pepper Spray comes in. If you live in an area with a lot of chasing dogs, get some; however be warned that it may kill the dog by causing a severe allergic reaction.
Well said (nm)morrison
Jan 16, 2002 7:49 AM
Not my assJaybo
Jan 17, 2002 12:58 AM
I had a German Shephard come after me once. He caught me and bit me on the leg. I got so pissed, I kicked the living piss out of that dog. That SOB thought Armaggedon was coming his way. If it is a Rotweiller or a Pit Bull, pray that God saves your arse. Go down fighting with no mercy for the damn dog! Dogs like this should be shot. End of story. Oh, that brings up another idea! Get Mace and burn a hole in their eyes with a blast.
First shoot the dog then shoot the onwer............nmdisgruntaledpostalbikerider
Jan 16, 2002 1:02 AM
re: Flight or Fightgrandemamou
Jan 16, 2002 4:40 AM
Unrestrained dogs are a danger to cyclists,drivers and the dog. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.Yelling loudly or the water bottle will do the trick 9/10 times. The only problem is that 10th time. If it's on a regular route sprinting away will not help because the next time and every time you come by you are now it's toy.

Most cities and counties have leash laws, if yours does I would consider using law enforcement to try and solve the problem. Chances are you are not the only one he is chasing.
wellWoof the dog
Jan 16, 2002 5:10 AM
hmm, see, i chase bikers on my own bike, and its kinda hard to bite them in the leg going 35 and spinning mad.

Sometimes sprinting away feels wrong. Gotta show 'em dogs who's the boss! Although I never encountered a dog coming fast and low. All of them barked and cheerfully chased me...must have something to do with me being a dog too i guess.


re: Flight or FightBikingViking
Jan 16, 2002 6:01 AM
I had a pretty harrowing dog experience while running (it IS good for you!!) I had just turned up a long, wide Texas residential street and I saw a LARGE unaccompanied dog cross the street a good distance ahead. As I got closer, I saw it was a BIG German Shepard standing in a yard. He/she didn't bark or sprint after me, but followed me for a good while. I was getting pretty scared as it was early and I had NOWHERE to go (bed of pick up truck or car roof). So I turned toward him/her, showing my side and called the dog toward me in a nice voice and held out my hand for the dog to smell me. Luckily it was a quite friendly dog who wanted some attention, so I petted the dog for a bit and went on my merry way. He/she followed me until the street's end and then turned around. Suffice to say, I was EXTREMELY lucky!

The point of all that is dog encounters can REALLY scare the @#$% out of you. A cool head is the best way to deal with our canine interlopers. Being afraid is OK, but panicking and acting irrationally is not.
Rule #1tarwheel
Jan 16, 2002 6:26 AM
The most important thing to do when encountering an aggressive dog is to make sure there are no cars or trucks coming up from behind you or ahead. The biggest danger from a chasing dog is not the potential bite, bu the risk of getting hit by a vehicle while trying to avoid the dog.

That said, I agree with the other posters that the most effective responses are to loudly yell "No" or "Go Home," then squirt it with a water, and finally sprint like mad. I haven't been caught yet, except for the 3-legged dog that bit me once and I'm not going to get into that right now.
Don't crap your pants; they can smell fear.Crankist
Jan 16, 2002 6:50 AM
Ha Ha!!! (nm)SilentBob
Jan 16, 2002 10:41 AM
re: Flight or FightRaiderMike
Jan 16, 2002 9:49 AM
Usually if I have time I stop, and get off my bike, and chase the dog back. Sounds stupid but it works most of the time. There is a huge German shepard that is on my regular loop that used to chase me every time. I stopped, dropped the bike, and sprinted after him screaming at the top of my lungs. It was hillarious he turned tail, and ran and hasnt been a problem since. I have used it with other dogs with the same results.
Attack the dogMcAndrus
Jan 16, 2002 11:51 AM
No, I'm just kidding. The best anti-dog incident I ever witnessed though was what a dog would interpret as an attack. However, I am not recommending the following as a general policy.

On a small group ride, a medium size dog came up about 50 yards ahead on the left side of the road. We all saw the dog and started moving to the right and getting ready to sprint. The dog was sizing us up, it was not barking. I think it was trying to figure out which of us was the weakest of the herd.

One of our riders bolted in a full sprint directly at the dog. In one moment the dog was a hunter, in the next it was confused, in the third it was startled, and in the fourth it realized it was the prey and took off.

We all laughed and thanked our clever friend.

I, on the other hand, always prefer to run away.
Level your pedals..jrm
Jan 16, 2002 12:27 PM
And give ol blue a good hit of pepper spray.
Off the couch methodlunchrider
Jan 17, 2002 12:05 PM
I used with some success the "off the couch" method.
as the canine approachs yell at him in your most authoratative voice "off the couch" most dogs have heard this many times in there life and respond quickly.