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    How do you handle dogs?  
    [Editor's note: While I have never had dog trouble on CO, it could happen. This is included because it is often a problem while training.]

Andrew's Thursday night ride reminded me of a close encounter I had with a dog a few weeks ago off of Skyline. So I thought I'd ask the experts in the group for advice on what to do when one meets a mutt who is intent on munching on leg o' cyclist.

Ira Pollock

Depends on the dog. Some will back off with a stern loud "NO", others back off from imitation barking. Others persist regardless.

They bite at the movement so if you can stop pedaling and coast thru their territory you'll likely be OK.

If on an uphill... Well, get unclipped before their muzzle can get your foot as the action of unclipping is enough to make them bite. It’s times like these that I wonder about the SPD sandals. I've been bit twice - both times on the foot while wearing mountain bike shoes with armored heels. No damage to me, in the sandals though....

Most dogs are just at play when they do this. Having several myself I tend to recognize the posturing and verbally respond to them as if playing with my own dogs. If they seem more serious then I use the approaches already mentioned..

I think Jason used to carry dog biscuits for these occasions which never happen to me when I have the biscuits to try their success. Some people whap the dogs with frame pumps, others squirt them with a water bottle. I end up in the worse cases getting off the bike and chasing the dogs away. (picture a spandex clad guy running in cleats, barking, yelling, etc) :-) Hey it works!

At night I use a helmet mounted light, looking at them directly makes then stop in their tracks. :-)

Don "let the hunter become the hunted for a change" Bolton

Another idea I read somewhere - yell "Get off that sofa!!!" or something similar. If the dog has been trained for inside the house this is supposed to confuse them. I only tried it once and the dog backed off, but I couldn't tell if it was what I said or just that I yelled.

Rox Heath

I have found that squirting water from my bottle has stopped dogs from chasing me.

Ron Zahm

I have had to get my pump ready for a "friendly" and fast Pit bull that lived on Farmington Rd. I thought that I was safe as he ran after me through his yard...............until I saw the open bottom fence at the end of his run right when I passed the yard!!

Dave Stranahan

One of our club members is 3,000+ miles into his journey across the United States and has had many encounters with our "furry friends" during his tour. His best defense to date has been to yell "S I T D O W N"! Every dog has heard this a time or two and he said it has confused and/or stopped all but one dog in their tracks.

Laurie "BentLover" Smith

Here are my dog encounter tips:

a) carry dog biscuits and the dog may go for it instead of you
b) squirt 'em with your water bottle
c) stop and put your bike between Fido and you and tell him/her a big NO or GO HOME!

Some folks try the old adrenaline fueled sprint, but there are some dogs that will think that's a game and take you down.

I guess some riders carry pepper spray, but I find the old dog cookie the best deterrent!

Good luck!
Merry Maloney

I think that some of these "less aggressive" maneuvers will work well. However, for the "more than frisky" Fido, they might not let you stop or pull out the spray before taste testing.

As a young boy, I was attacked in the woods by my house by a dog, so that memory sticks and gets my defense modes going when a dog comes charging at me. :>}

Dave Stranahan

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I (also) believe a well placed water shot from a bottle will work. I'll have to remember the "sit down" method.

I must disagree with the concept of throwing an attacking dog a biscuit. This is in essence "Pavlov's Dog." You're basically rewarding an attacking animal with food thereby reinforcing their belief that this is a way to get fed. So the next time the animal sees a cyclist, they'll equate it (cyclist) with food.

Please don't misunderstand me, I have used food to soothe over a "curious" dog, as a way to let them know I wasn't a threat. (I drove for UPS in Maine, and found this method a great way to build a trust--with a non-threatening dog.) I have also found that this will not work with a dog intent on causing you harm. For a continuously threatening animal, a (50/50) mixture of ammonia & water squirted in the vicinity of the muzzle (and in the face) will effectively disorient a dog long enough to get away.

Hope that helps...
Richard Rodriguez

Mongrel Mob Attacks Woodburn Cyclist

Film at 11:00 :-)

On my morning short loop there is a yellow Lab that is really intent on making me his breakfast it would seem. If I approach from the south I'm on his side of the freeway, he's got time to plan his attack and I'm caught on an uphill. Soo.. Being smarter than a canine I approach from the north popping over the bridge and roll downhill past before he is aware I'm in the area....

That changed today...

I crested the overpass to see just a dog head peering from behind the bushes that line his driveway. "Oh great" I thought "Huh?" a second head, a third head, a fourth, a fifth! "Uh Oh" the pack charged me fanning out to form a circle around me as I passed. I had to slow for fear of smashing head on into a rather formidable looking shepherd.

My arch nemesis the yellow lab appeared to be the designated nipper and moved in for the kill. I yelled "SIT", "STAY", and a few unrepeatable sentences to no avail. Being on a downhill and in a high gear I just let adrenaline take over and hit warp drive. That lab stayed with me till 25 mph where he began to fade back. Then a car appeared over the overpass and the dogs all disappeared. Apparently they wanted no witnesses :-)

As I continued on I recalled the dogs owners might be Hispanic or Russian.. Anyone know the Russian commands for sit and stay? I remember sit in Spanish, how about down?

Don "need language translation dictionary for animal control" Bolton

Here's my .02

Ammonia, full strength-two bottles worth and several riders strong. Then a 911 call to file an incident report and have those mutts put down, and their owners cited.

Next time you may not be so fortunate...

Richard Rodriguez

So far when I dismount the lab vamooses muy pronto. The other dogs didn't seem quite as aggressive. I'm considering waking the owners however. My luck they no espeeka de engles.

I'll see what the mutts have planned for tomorrow.

Don "meals on wheels" Bolton

Don, I think you'd better become "Don -Milkbone underwear-Bolton"! Seriously, bring on those Milkbones and toss them at will. You must smell like a hamburger to them!

Wendi Thornton

I'm not so sure putting the animals down is the answer. Dogs are only as mean as they are trained to be. The OWNERS on the other hand, need a severe whack on the back of the head with a newspaper.

Wendi Thornton

How about a water pistol with Ammonia water in your holster? Shouldn't take too many shots in the old eyeball to make that dog leave you alone. I've heard of it working quite well. BTW, SIT seemed to work on Saturday, just enough to confuse them a second or two. My bottle was empty!

Amy Ream

Ahh Si. Sientente perro sientente!

Don "do they bark in foreign languages?" Bolton

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Canine Cartel Corners Cyclist - Update

I caught them napping today, had to troll by the guard rail real slow. That got 'em going! OK, it's four vibrant full sized mutts and one mangy old "don't bother me I'm falling apart" full sized dog that needs serious vet attention. (Hair all mottled clumps hanging off, dog looks pretty old)...

I was armed today with a large hypo full of Ammonia/water mix and prepped it just prior to ascending the overpass. The dogs weren't waiting for me today but apparently they sleep in a clump of bushes next to the roadway. As they got in motion I stopped and they stopped, I'd roll ahead they'd spark up again...

I stopped and got off the bike and they went away into the front yard barking at me but backing away. I followed and the yellow lab was sort of aggressively barking but stayed a distance and when I'd start to point the hypo his direction he'd retreat further. Rather than getting shot for trespass I withdrew and holstered the hypo and continued the ride.

I didn’t fire a shot! I did call the county animal control and reported them as a "nuisance" and gave full details. I'm convinced it's not overt aggression but merely the instinctive "chase the fuzzy thing" going on here. Still it’s a hazard to the unwary.

Further on my route there is a full sized Rotty that’s been chained in the front yard for as long as I remember. Always there. Has a doghouse, a small bush for shade, and a cable run of about 25 yards. I always talk to him as I travel by. Today he gave one of those jump wiggles that says "hello". Think I've made a friend here.

Still further on there were a Lab and a Rotty loose in what just last week was a field of towering corn. The Rotty spotted me as I was directly beside them with only about 100 ft to the road. He powered on, but I was running above 20 mph so it was a short burst before he gave up pursuit.

When I got back home I searched my pockets, and bike bags for a pork chop or something that would cause this sudden spate of pooch pursuits. Nothing. :-)

What a glorious sunrise! It was clear and the foothills were backlit magnificently as the sun rose.

Don "only 11 more days. Woof" Bolton

Yes, dogs bark in different languages. Ours say bow wow. I was told that Spanish speaking dogs say how how.

Amy Ream

I've trained quite a few dogs, including some fairly aggressive ones, and here's my advice on dealing with any dog chasing you:

1. Dogs love to chase moving things -- if you have a doggy distraction (see #2), stop moving, throw or use your doggy distraction, and chances are the dog will stop chasing. Lesson: Immobile objects are no fun to chase.

2. Carry a few choice doggy treats in your jersey or handlebar pocket -- the soft ones are really tops, all dogs love them. Hard biscuits are a less messy option, but won't interest some dogs. When dog approaches, toss the biscuit away from yourself, but in the dog's path. Lesson: Dogs like food better than they like you.

3. Also a doggy distraction -- if the dog is close enough to you and not stopping, squirt them with your water bottle right in the eyes. Never hurts to carry some pepper spray, either, for the rare, extremely aggressive dog, but use the water bottle first for anything but the dog you're sure is about to take a chunk out of you. Lesson: There's water in my eyes, and I can't chase the fun wheely thing when I can't see it!

4. Quick tips from Doggy 101:
-- Never look an aggressive dog in the eyes -- that's a direct challenge, and if you value your skin and appendages, it's not a smart thing to do. -- Most dogs are not vicious, nor will they bite, so if you know what to do to avoid a chance bite from a dog that's actually a friendly dog, you are probably in good shape. As a relatively knowledgeable dog person, though, I ALWAYS carry pepper spray, but I've never had to use it on a dog (had to use it on a person once, though).
-- Most dogs know the word "no" and will at least stop what they're doing if they hear that word delivered in an authoritative tone -- not screamed, not anxiously squished out of your mouth, but delivered in a tone that says "I am the boss of you".
-- Most dogs will also hear you say "good dog" if you do any of these things and they stop because of it. Tell the good dog to "go home", and that's another step in the right direction.

Take care,
Kerry Krueger

Just FYI, as a dog trainer, most dogs will be very confused by "sit" and "down" in the same command -- perhaps try an authoritatively delivered "sit" command, then try "down" if that doesn't work. "Off" may also work, since that's the command for off the couch, off the bed, off my body when I'm standing...

Take care,
Kerry Krueger

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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
    CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > Touring Info > Cycling Concerns > Dogs  

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