Dogs: Don’t let them hound you

September 30, 2010 | Bike Safety, Rural Bike Safety, See Me Bike Safety
dogs chasing bicycles

A friend of mine who cycled cross country said dogs were his biggest problem.

Every rider has a problem with dogs.  A much younger friend claims he outruns them, good luck to that.  I know I can’t.

Here’s what I’ve tried:

A water pistol with or without a very mild vinegar or ammonia solution.  Effective but it’s very hard to hit a dog running at you diagonally, and if the owner sees you he could bite worse than the dog.

An aerosol powered boat horn.  Very effective if you can get it about 10-15 feet in front of the dog’s face it will absolutely stop him.  I zapped a monster Shepard who fell down as if shot, then got up and ran away.  But there’s the same problem aiming at a running dog.

Riding directly at an approaching dog and yelling.  Since you are so much bigger (taller) the dog will back down.  The problem is the dog has to be coming from the front and you have to be careful not to swerve into traffic.

My cycling buddy came up with the best solution I know of.  He concluded that if you keep riding at speed, dogs see you as prey and it stimulates them to run you down.  So we slow way down when dogs approach, point our finger at them and in a very commanding voice yell:  STAY.  If they still come on we stop our bikes and continue to yell stay or GOOD DOG.   We then slowly pedal on until we are past their territory.  It seems to work well enough since we haven’t been bitten in several years using this technique.  Try it.

What’s your experience with dogs, what works for you?   Please let us hear from you.

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