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Q&A: How should I deal with aggressive dogs?

by Commute by Bike

Ed. – The following question was submitted by a reader. If you have some insight, please leave it in the comments. If you have a question you would like to appear here, email us at diggers@commutebybike.com

Diane from Canada:

I had two large dogs charge me from 50 yards away yesterday while off leash and no owner in sight. I got off my bike immediately and put it as a barrier between me and the dogs but I was worried that one could circle around me. Ten yards away one of the dogs veered off and got distracted by something else so it took off. The second one kept coming but then three seconds later it followed the first one and away they went running down the street in another direction.

One friend says I should have been submissive and not looked them in the eye; the other said I should have roared at them and been as aggressive back. Both own dogs so I don’t know who to believe. I am a short, 54 year old woman.

How should I deal with aggressive dogs?

 
The Chariot Summer Sale - 2013

54 Responses to “Q&A: How should I deal with aggressive dogs?”

  1. Blue says:

    Everyone has their own opinion…I use pepper spray. One type is even made for stopping dogs, it is called “Halt!” dog repellent.

  2. thePig says:

    How about just ride them off your wheel. I guess it depends how fast you are. I could probably escape from a poodle or perhaps a chihuahua.

  3. I’ve been pretty successful at fending off dogs by a using a combination of outpacing them and shouting in an aggressive manner (like an owner would if the dog were misbehaving).

  4. Lori says:

    When I’m walking my dogs in my neighborhood, occasionally there’s a dog that’s gotten out of the fence and wants to defend their sidewalk, or worse, charge us away. I usually yell NO and STAY, authoritatively, while walking the other way. If it’s a reasonably well-trained dog this should work. As far as biking, that’s one of my biggest fears; I was bitten by a German Shepherd as a teenager while riding my bike. I’ve heard folks squirt them with water. Chemical repellent a la pepper spray sounds like a good idea to me, think I’ll pick some up.

  5. heyiamt says:

    I have heard some people having success with just squirting water from their water bottle at the dog.

    Also, some I have heard some people claim that dogs are typically chasing the cyclist for nothing more than the thrill of the chase and dismounting will end it. I have to admit though, if a Doberman is on my wheel, that’s the last thing I would be inclined to do.

  6. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    When I was 11 or 12 I was attacked by a dog. I was walking on a country road when a medium side dog came running out of a yard. It was after me, and nothing, looking the other way or screaming at it did anything to change its mind. As it was a few feet away it jumped to bite my neck or face. I throw my arm up with my forearm horizontally so it would bite my arm ( I figured it would be better than my neck or face.) The dog bite into my arm. Being a kid, I did crazy things. I put my other arm around the back of the dogs head and forced the arm it was biting deeper into its mouth, forceing its mouth open. The dog didn’t like it and tried to let go, BUT NOOO, it was my turn. I kept its head traped between my arm being bitten and the other pulling it into me, then dropped full wieght (maybe 70lbs) on the dog forcing its head in to an unnatural position. I wanted to kill it, but some how it worked it way out and ran like I have never seen a dog run. A few weeks later walking on the same dirt road the same dog came at me again, till it recognized me. At witch it in a panic all most knocked it owner down trying to get under the house trailer. The owner tha yelled at me “what did I do to it”.
    Now when a dog acts like it wants a piece of me, I act like I’m hungry and it looks good. MOST dogs will get the message, but I know I will get attacted again. Dogs since fear, do what ever you have to to keep calm or aggressive, but not scared. If an animal gets close acting vicious use anything you have to hurt it. if possible hold the bike with the chain rings toward the animal. Don’t try to out run them, animals are very fast.
    Once a dog tried to bite my leg with riding, as it was coming up behind me, I uncliped and kicked its nose. I was lucky.

  7. Joe says:

    I carry Halt when I ride, it is a small can, and has an optional handlebar snap on bracket. If you don’t panic when the dog approaches, it is very easy to grab the can and spray. You don’t even have to be very accurate, just little mist in the wind is enough to stop the puppy, and a direct hit “halts” them for sure. No harm at all to the dog, they just learn that bicycles are not a good thing to chase. Key is, stay calm, most dogs are going to stop short or run along side anyway!

  8. Rob Prouse says:

    I find that yelling STAY or just yelling at the dog will often slow them down enough that I can get away. Most dogs won’t chase you much beyond their property line, so just yelling and then sprinting usually does it.

    If they are coming from the front, then it can be a bit more dangerous as they can get under your wheels. Squirting water can work, but often it happens too quickly to get at your water bottle. If you have to, dismount and use your bike as a shield then backing away. Once you are off, they won’t have anything to chase.

    As for not looking the dog in the eye, I have never seen that work. The dog is defending its property. You are a fast moving object that they must defend from. I think the looking away only works in non-bike situations like when you walk up on a growling dog. Once they are in chase mode, you need to act like their owner and be the authority.

  9. Adam says:

    I’ve had a lot of dog run-ins while bicycle touring*, and the strategy that has always worked for me is to just keep riding, pedaling hard. Dogs seem to like to give chase, but they don’t know what to do when reach you. They’ll tail you for a few seconds, and then drop off.

    In fact, my experience is generally that they’ll get up nice and close without my noticing and then start barking madly. This has the effect of making me jump out of my skin. But I also take it as an indication that they aren’t all that interested in biting me. Otherwise, why not just sneak up and bite me?

    I’ve had similar encounters while hiking. In these cases, I keep my face to the dog and slowly circle around it before backing away. I hold a rock or a stick in an aggressive manner, or, if I can’t find a rock, just pretend to have on in my hand. (Dogs are fairly dumb.)

    * Most terrifying incident by far was with a Tibetan Mastiff in the Himalayan foothills. From Wikipedia: “The Tibetan Mastiff is among the largest breeds…The few individuals that remain in Tibet are ferocious and aggressive, unpredictable in their behavior, and very difficult to train…tenacious in its ability to confront predators the size of wolves and leopards.” I’ve met grizzly bears that were less frightening.

  10. Greg says:

    I’ve had good luck with just water or gatorade squirted at the dog from my water bottle. A good direct hit in the nose gets there attention.

    If you see the dog on the road in front of you, you can pedal towards it, looking menacing. Basically take authority from the get go. If the dog swings around behind and gives chase you can employ some of the other tactics given above. A well placed foot to the nose also works well.

  11. In my experience dismounting and standing with the bike between the dogs and me usually seems to work. This is very effective when dealing with the “chase” instinct, but the territoriality is a different matter.

    I’ve heard a few different theories on how to handle the dogs that still don’t back down. I generally yell “GIT!” or possbly “GIIIYIT”(I have a strong belief that dogs respond best to a southern accent). I may have added success with this because I am very loud and have a relatively deep voice.

    I have heard of success spraying them with water, the “Halt” dog pepper spray (watch for the wind blowing it back at you), and water bottles filled with ammonia.

    The worst I ever had was a German Shepherd that kept coming closer even after I dismounted, stopping about 5 feet away. After lots of yelling he finally got bored with me and left.

    Outrunning them isn’t always an option, though it’s the one that gets me the most pumped.

  12. jt says:

    I just take my water bottle out and squirt a healthy dose right into its mouth as we are going down the road. It may sound difficult to do, but your (you and the dog) relative speed is quite low (or you’re dropping him and it’s not a problem). The dog is concentrating on running and barking. The squirt of water into its mouth seem to be surprising or disorienting enough that the chase is abandoned immediately. Of course, it also could be that the dog just horked in a giant lungful of water that slows it down too…

  13. kaz kougar says:

    The sad part of this is that in just about all cases it’s not the dog’s fault for being a dog, it’s the owner’s fault for not controlling the dog. I have a rott x and an american bulldog, both very intimidating looking. If either leave the backyard or house, they are on a leash with me. I have neighbors who let their dogs roam the neighborhood and it infuriates me. Given my druthers in a dog confrontation, I would use the pepper spray on the owner but that’s usually not an option so the poor dog gets it. I remember reading something, a year ago or so, about a guy who freezes a water bottle the night before his commute. If a dog comes at him, it gets the water bottle. While I got a laugh out of that it sounds like a waste of a water bottle. I have a friend who says his pump works well in fending off dogs. Myself, I’ll stick with the pepper spray.

  14. NoTrail says:

    I frequently encounter dogs on my commute to work – most not on a leash and without owner in tow. I’ve found that if you approach a dog from behind, do not let your presence be known (no bell, talking, clicking of freewheel, or shifting) so as avoid giving the dog a chance to ‘get ready’ for you.

    Knock on wood, I have yet to have a problem. Just this morning I passed a large dog. She just looked up at me as if to say, “hey, what’s up” and kept on walking.

  15. Wes says:

    I’m going to echo the sentiments of several others in the comments section by saying pepper spray, every day.

    Give Fido a shot in the muzzle and he’ll leave you alone, pronto. Also has the added benefit of stopping any aggressive humans you may happen to encounter, as well.

  16. burnsey says:

    Halt works fine for me. Carried it for years, typically, just a quick spray in the direction of the dog is usually enough. If I encounter same dog, they usually back off at the sight of the can being displayed. Remember, one of the reasons the police switched to pepper spray was its effectiveness on dogs.

  17. Sparky says:

    I have heard of many techniques to stopping dogs. Yelling at them (this works sometimes but other times makes them more aggressive). I’ve also heard of pepper spray but I find that cruel. I’ve even heard of an individual strapping a horse whip to the top tube of the bike and whipping the poor thing.

    Still the MOST effective deterrent I have found is squirting water from your water bottle at the pup (doesn’t matter where, you don’t even have to hit them, this is echoing some people above as well). It shocks the dog and they will back off quickly. This has worked for EVERY dog I have ever squirted, time and time again. This is coming from the experience of riding in the country in Southern Tennessee. It is harmless to the dog (they may whimper but they won’t be snorting for hours afterwards because of the capsaicin).

  18. Tim Grahl says:

    The Pepper Spray route seems pretty good especially as it can double if you’re getting attacked by another person. However, apparently in Canada pepper spray is considered a weapon and is prohibited.

    What you could do is carry two water bottles, one with your water and one with water mixed with something such as salt and vinegar that will sting the dog’s eyes and/or mouth enough to deter them.

    Just don’t mix them up when you go to take a swig :)

  19. Quinn says:

    use a hand pump as an extendable baton. 1 good knock in the head should keep the dog(s) back, or do what I do with little dogs, run ‘em over.

  20. Quinn says:

    use a hand pump as an extendable baton. 1 good knock in the head should keep the dog(s) back, or do what I do with little dogs, run ‘em over.
    of course I am one of those that used to own a bulldog And believe that yappy dogs should be illegal, classified as Noise Pollution.

  21. I used this while live’n in Missoura…. Bark very loud at the dog. They always turn away, probably confused by what the hell just happened.

  22. Juan says:

    I can usually out run them, but if not a good water shot in the mouth/nose usally works for me. Also a call to Animal Control should be your follow up action. You owe it to the next cyclist/child/elderly person to get this animal under control.

  23. Roger Barr says:

    No dogs on my present commute, but in my rural childhood, I dealt with a nearby “neighbor’s” dogs all the time.

    Most dogs are in it for the chase and have no plans beyond that. They are also territorial in that most will not pursue you much beyond their own territory. So, the trick is to upset their tracking and take the fun out of it.

    So, when I first saw them coming at me, I’d slow down. They’d get a good head of steam on (big yard) along an intercept course with me, based on their judgment of my speed. Once they got too close to correct, I’d speed up again, leaving them to “intercept” my track behind me. By the time they figured it out, they only had a few yards to chase me before I was out of their zone and therefore not worth it.

    I made a lot of mistakes prior to this. I tried shouting and kicking at them, which only seemed to egg them on. Once I did the speed trick in reverse, which put the whole pack ahead of me. Not good. But, there I was in the middle of them, stopped, and now all these dogs sniffing me and licking my hands. After that, my biggest worry wasn’t getting bitten, it was getting one of the smaller ones caught up in my chain or under a wheel and sending me flying. Secondary concern? I just wanted to get down to the river and skip rocks, and I didn’t feel like stopping to pet a bunch of slobbery dogs. (I love dogs, anyway.)

    Now, I say “most dogs.” Dogs run on instinct, and sometimes there’s just something that triggers their “attack” reflex, and they’ll come at you for no apparent reason. For those who’ve been attacked in this way, I feel for you, but I’ve not had to deal with it. I’ve only had a couple of dogs that really scared me, and that’s because I was on their property. There are a lot of rules of thumb for dealing with aggressive animals, but it seems there are always exceptions. Holding still usually works. Stand your ground but don’t agitate, and don’t run. Present the back of your hand, to offer your scent, but not an open palm, and offer your hand low, not above the dog’s head. Blah, blah, blah. These things have always worked for me, but I still hear stories where the dog attacks suddenly, or in spite of someone doing everything right. If you deal with these kinds of dogs all the time, I’d guess the pepper sprays would be your best option.

  24. Bill says:

    If you have leash laws in your area, report the owner to the police. You may have to appear in court, but it has a very chilling effect on dog owners in the entire area when they see someone fined in the newspaper for letting their dog run loose.

    I often use some version of the holding still strategy, hoping the dog will continue to bark. That usually brings the owner, who I politely tell that I will call the police if I see the dog in the street again.

  25. mike says:

    with dogs
    agression = more agression
    submission = more dominant behavior
    fleeing = prey drive chase

    so whats left?
    act like you don’t even care that they are there

    maintain your pace, don’t change your line, give them no more than a glance unless they get behind you

    if they get behind you maintain eye contact to keep them from trying to get your attention by nipping at your heel

    you should be fine as long as you’re not dealing with a pack of dogs where they’re behavior will change based on the pack dynamics.

    these techniques are especially affective on group rides, you can sit back and watch the chaos as everyone else yells sprints squirts water etc.

    also if you ever get into trouble with a “fighting” breed who does get a hold and locks down. You can trigger a reflex to open their mouth by pressing the inside of their cheek agains their back molars so that they feel like they are biting their own cheek.

    disclaimer I am not a dog behavior specialist so please do your own research, but the information above is a good place to start

  26. Stevep says:

    Try an ultrasonic dog repeller, I’m not sure what it’s called. Basically, it’s a little device that produces an shrill noise that is unpleasant for dogs and stops them in their tracks. It is inaudible to humans. They work. A coworker of mine could not believe how effective the ultrasonic devise was at stunning a particularly nasty dog on his commute. They have several advantages over pepper spray. 1. Legal in states where k9 pepper spray is not. 2. No aiming required – you can miss with pepper spray but not with noise. 3. Won’t anger a dog owner because the sonic stunner is very humane. Even though some dogs probably deserve what they get, bikers using pepper spray might create more problems by spraying someone’s beloved pooch with pepper. Better to use something less intrusive.

  27. Enhancement Smoker says:

    Two words: double deuce. Solves pesky dog problems once and for all.

  28. Pedaling Backwards says:

    most dogs just chase you. once in a while, they get nippy or just violent. the ultimate attitude adjustment is a smack in the head with a u-lock. works every time :-)

  29. jamesmallon says:

    Pepper spray is a weapon used on humans in Canada, but ‘bear spray’ is sold in many outdoor stores.

  30. steve says:

    Anyone try a storm whistle? I have friends that swear by them. I own one and carry it, but haven’t had to blow it yet. Apparently, it emits a pitch that is very unpleasant to dogs.

  31. john t says:

    Has anyone tried ignoring them? I have very few dog encounters, but I think it may work.

  32. john t says:

    Hi. I’m actually john t’s wife. I just peeked in.

    I understand the fear because I used to be afraid dogs and hated dogs.

    Our dog is timid and gentle, likes bikes and people. The strange thing is that he wants to go after someone else’s bike barking when we are at the park. In the case of dogs like ours, just like my husband said, keep going by simply ignoring him works. When he gets to the end of the park, he stops and comes back to me.

    Also, I found when people come to pet him, he backs off with his tail between his legs, but when he sees somebody who is afraid of dogs, he goes toward them.

    It seems yelling at them makes them even more aggressive. I know one dog I see almost every morning. He used to bark so aggressively at us. I’ve kept greeting him “Good morning, baby!” thinking maybe he is just like our dog and is barking because he is afraid. He now sits and just sees us going by. I sometimes even see his wagging tail.

    So, my conclusion is: don’t stop, keep pedaling, and as you pass say something with calm but friendly voice. If you are walking, I don’t know. I would be afraid and wouldn’t know what to do.

  33. Garth says:

    Just in time for a family bike outing when the kids were smaller, I read that an explosive yell like “Back off!” turns an agressive dog timid. As two big dogs ran out from a yard toward our younger son, I used it and it worked great. I was a hero, and pleased with my new-found powers. That was 11 years ago. I have used it many times since then, and it has always worked. One time was in a canyon and a pack of five large dogs came at me as I was climbing. I gave the yell and they all backed away and looked as if to say, “We…We’re sorry. We didn’t realize you h…had au…auTHORity!” Even with the little dogs, I’ve found you have to act like you’re out for the kill and they’re the prey. It totally changes their plans.

    Halt is very effective when you’re a pedestrian, but when I’ve tried it on the bike the stream was totally broken up and made ineffective by the wind.

    If it comes down to one dog and you, and you’re stopped, hold up the bike between you and the dog. He’ll try to get around it but you just keep turning with him. He’ll get frustrated and leave you. My bro-in-law who read meters for the gas company told me about doing that with an umbrella, and I can tell you from experience with a pit bull that it works. That was before I had Halt! or read about the sharp yell.

  34. chris says:

    I use pepper spray. It gets the owner to when they try to comfort their dog

  35. greg says:

    there was an entire discussion about this over at bikeforums: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=426568&highlight=dog

  36. CNYCommuter says:

    Best luck I had was with my foot. I had a yippy dog come at me full speed. I was more worried about it going under my wheels and me crashing. It reached me right just as I was going by – I didn’t even change course. I unclipped my foot and kicked it in the mouth as I went by. It went squeeling back to its owner, who had been ineffectively calling off her dog from the front porch. Fido never bothered me again.

  37. siouxgeonz says:

    Yelling or riding fast works with most of ‘em but the one who chomped my calf rather obviously wanted a piece of me. It was a Rott or kin to it and came charging out from a yard full of kids riding like mad on their four-wheeled motorized thingies. Chased us for a good quarter mile – we were moving pretty fast – and got his little piece but I just kept moving until I was out of range and then checked the damage, which was minimal broken skin ’cause I was wearing several layers. Dang thign came back out after us – a good half mile from the house – oh, and no humans bothered to.
    I got some really pretty bruises from that dude… Animal control put the thing under quarantine and said it didn’t have a history. It’s not on a regular route so I haven’t been back that way… frankly, it was out there so fast I didn’t have time to dismount, but I know its locatin so I would the next time.
    *Usually* my best authoritative commands work… not as well with the squirrels ;)

  38. vegancommuter says:

    just ignore them or change your route if possible.

    whack them on the head? not good…may cause bad karma in you being “whacked” by a 10 ton truck.

  39. Quinn says:

    Vegancommuter-

    Bad karma? I big difference, you arnet trying to bite the truck or the driver of.

    This is Karma- the owner doesn’t have the balls or brains to train their dog, the dog gets knocked stupid by a person on a bike with a U-lock.

  40. redcliffs says:

    I definitely subscribe to the idea that the vast majority of dogs are defending their property — they see you passing as a threat, but once you have passed, the threat is gone, they’ve won, and there’s no reason to continue on. I aim to outpace them, therefore, but primarily focus on getting past the property as quickly as possible. I would not advise unclipping, myself — the odds that you will throw yourself off balance and crash are significant when you’re waving your foot out there, and being on the ground will make the situation with a truly aggressive dog worse.

    One other thing: if you encounter a truly aggressive dog (as opposed to a most likely cuddly pooch that is giving chase mostly for fun or out of defensiveness), call the police — most communities are very anxious to identify and control dangerous dogs.

  41. Tim says:

    I have little sympathy for a dog which is chasing me on my bike and less sympathy for its owner. Ignoring is out of the question. Every human instinct argues against it. I’m much in favor of the chemical weapon or a U-lock or bike pump to the nose if a spray is not handy.
    I was attacked recently by a pit bull whose idiot owner watched smiling as his collar-less, leash-less dog ran after me. I was ready to swing my U-lock at it, but this poor animal was apparently afraid of a raised hand and veered off into traffic where it, unfortunately, narrowly missed becoming one with the pavement under a passing car. I wanted to turn around and use the U-lock on the owner, and I sometimes wish I had, but a deep breath and some better sense restrained me.

  42. vegancommuter says:

    yeah i’m with you on rapping the owner/guardian over the head with the lock…which can apply to a lot of drivers out there also. it also goes back to people actually “breeding” a certain type of dog that is often associated with aggressiveness in general. i think we all agree it’s not the dogs fault but it’s the irresponsibility of the person overseeing that dog’s actions therefore the dog doesn’t necessarily need to be “punished” for it.

  43. John says:

    Dogs chase. It’s in their blood.

    If you stop, most will stop too.

    It’s the few that will continue to pursue you that you need to worry about. Unless you know the dogs, you have no way of telling.

    So, I recommend:

    Buy one of those fake lime or lemon plastic squeeze bottles. Make a nasty batch of lime/lemonade/margarita with the entire contents.

    Fill the empty bottle with ammonia and place in jersey pocket, or water bottle holder, or front bag; whatever.

    When dog approaches next time, flip top and squirt a stream at the offender’s face. Stops them dead in their tracks.

    -John

  44. vegancommuter says:

    i say we close out this post…way too long on the reply side(i know..here i am posting again!)based on a somewhat petty subject as cars/trucks are deemed to be the most hazardous for a bike commuter. dogs chase? yeah in general but most would want to chase fury little animals as opposed to a bike.

    off topic but i once was reading a forum dedicated to road bikes(racing) and the concern was squirrels crossing their path and how to handle it. hello? you’re on some back country road…what do you expect to encounter? deal with it! by the sound of it most seemed like that wanted to eradicate the whole squirrel population.

  45. John says:

    vegancommuter,

    Depending on where a person rides their bicycle, a dog could easily be the most dangerous aspect of that person’s ride.

    And anyways, who decided that in order to start a subject, it had to be deemed most hazardous?

    If you don’t like the thread, don’t read it.

    -John

  46. vegancommuter says:

    okay…i’m starting a new subject…

    i’ve been shot at several times while riding through the east side of my neighborhood. this area has a high population of gang members…hispanic(it’s in their blood)

    does anyone else experience these hazards on their commute??

  47. John says:

    Not funny. Not at all.

    You didn’t start a new thread because you realize how cowardly, offensive, and inappropriate that comment is.

  48. vegancommuter says:

    i guess you can’t spot sarcasm when you see it.

    how does cowardliness play into this??

    lighten up a little John.

  49. Siouxgeonz says:

    It wasn’t a light comment. Sounds like when middle school bullies say “But I was just kidding!”

  50. Ride420 says:

    hey Siouxgeonz….boo!!! lol

  51. ChristopherPaul says:

    A dog came running up on me the other day and immediately I thought of the posts I read here. I sped up a bit but then remembered to squirt the bugger with some water. It worked! He didn’t like the strange stuff on his face so he turned around and started smelling flowers along side the road leaving me alone on my way home. I was extremely proud of my off-the-cuff-resourcefullness. Thanks you guys/gals.

  52. Melissa says:

    This is an older post, but I wanted to add a reply. Every off leash dog in an area with a leash law should be reported to animal control every time they are spotted. A few fines works wonders for owners who otherwise cannot seem to get their dogs under control.

    My employer is recovering from surgery right now to fix bleeding in his brain. A dog charged his bike out of nowhere, hit the tire and caused a wreck. The impact cracked his helmet. We are so thankful he was wearing a helmet in the first place. He was riding in an area with a leash law. The dog wasn’t agressive but it still caused a serious injury to a seasoned rider.

  53. I have had my run-in with a dog as well. But I don’t let it interfere with my biking.
    The life of a cyclist is an interesting one – and sometimes dangerous. But the rewards of cycling are worth the challenges.
    Gliding along, with the refreshing breeze giving you a boost, a feeling of freedom and a chance to enjoy a lovely countryside. I sometimes compare the joys of biking with flying -except at ground level.
    There are those challenges, as I mentioned, and sometimes they can be painful. Like the time a woman opened her driver’s-side door just as I was preparing to pass her parked car. Now that was painful – for both of us. She admitted that she should have been more careful and checked her side-view mirror before opening her door. No permanent harm done to either of us.
    Sometimes I feel as though all drivers have a thing about bikers. As if we just don’t belong on the streets. There are drivers who seem irritated that they have to be on guard for us and give us the right-of-way where warranted. It’s really odd when you think about it, because after all many of those drivers are also bikers. And I am also a driver.
    At many intersections you feel as though you have to read the driver’s mind. It becomes a game – albeit a potentially deadly one. You are coming up on a car that has his right turn signal on and you are going straight through. Many cyclists like to make a statement about their rights and boldly dash straight ahead, daring the driver to turn into them.
    I am never that daring. Or you can call me a chicken if you like. I simply don’t trust the odds, even if they are 1,000 to 1 in my favor. I will assume the driver doesn’t see me, or he expects me to stop, because I will always hesitate until I see him wave me through. That phrase “he was dead right, but he was still dead” comes to mind.
    One of the most dangerous challenges is the pothole. And in the Spring there are countless numbers of them. You simply have to be on guard for them at all times. If you ever hit a deep one, as I did once, you learn your lesson. They can really shatter your teeth. And you can find yourself going head-over-handlebars. Eternal vigilance is the watchword.
    Then there are the dogs. I like dogs. Most of them are friendly. And most of them are also restrained, either on a leash or behind a fence. But there are the occasional stray dogs that get excited about a cyclist whizzing by and just have to give chase. I always wondered what would happen if they actually caught up to you – until one did. And I found out. He bit me.
    Talk about pain. And the blood is scary. But the worst thing was that the dog disappeared before I or anyone else could restrain him and get him checked for rabies. That meant, of course, that I would have to take those painful rabies shots just in case the dog was diseased.
    From that day on I realized that I couldn’t take that chance again. I had to be prepared for the next dog that wants to give chase. So I had to find something that would give the dog a reason to decide he made a mistake to chase me, but at the same time not do anything that really hurt the dog or left any lasting harmful effects.
    My biker friend Tom gave me the answer after I mentioned the problem to him. He said he went to http://www.yoursecurityandsafety.com/dogrepellent.htm and bought the perfect solution. It’s a mace dog repellent that, with one spray, will halt any dog in its tracks. And it’s humane. There is no lasting after-effects.
    The great thing is that it’s less than $15, well worth it for solving my dog problem. It provides a velcro-like attachment so that I can secure the unit to my bike.
    Wouldn’t you know that I haven’t had the need to try out my mace dog repellent. I haven’t been singled out by another loose dog since I bought it.
    Just as well. I really would rather not have to mace a dog. But it’s a great feeling to know that I have a deterrent with me. I no longer even have to think about it. I just enjoy that feeling of freedom and observing the world going by. There’s nothing like cycling.

  54. beater says:

    A stick works – if the dog gets close enough, club it, using your bike as a shield. Once it’s down, keep hitting it and screaming until it exhibits submission behavior; if it doesn’t, keep hitting it until it does.

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