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Any advice on how to deal with dogs while touring?

We are now about 2000km's into our 3,400km trip from Zurich to Donaueschingen, Germany and along the Danube to the Black Sea. We've had no problems with dogs along the way ...until we entered Romania yesterday. They simply love to chase after bicycles and bark furiously, and sometimes growl, in a show of canine force. Today we even had a pack of about 7 of them chasing after us.

Our approach so far has been to load our jacket pockets with rocks, come to a full stop when chased, put the bike between us and the dog, take a rock in our hand and lift it up as if ready to throw. They do eventually back off but I have found myself throwing a few rocks at the more persistent mutts. It becomes a bit tiresome, and time consuming, to be stopping several times per day to wait out the canine threat.

We looked around for pepper spray and/or water pistols but haven't been able to find either.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

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barking vs biting

Hi Michelle,

I asked my sister, who is a vet, about this, and her response was that it's the dogs that don't bark while charging or chasing you should be worried about. When you get into rabies territory, however, things can get unpredictable. A good stick across the handlebars seems to work for lots of people.

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When you see/hear them coming, reach for your water bottle and when they get close, give 'em a squirt. Or take a mouthful of water and spit it at them.

A vet once told me that sometimes all you need is to break the dog's concentration to give you time to get away. He said yelling, "Get off the couch!" sometimes works, because it's an out of context comment, but one that most dogs have heard, so it will momentarily confuse them. Of course, that only works in English-speaking countries, so you may have to learn the same phrase in the local language.

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Water spray or Wasp Spray

Squirting in their face with your water bottle makes them stop or slow down so you can get away. A can of WASP spray fits in a water bottle cage and will stop any type of attacks, human or animal.Just take the cao off when you are riding and put back when done. Remenber wind direction is a factor.

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Thanks for the responses. We

Thanks for the responses. We'll try some of the suggestions and also try to get some pepper spray as well.


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Two suggestions:
1. a squirt bottle with an ammonia solution kept by the handlebars. A bead into their eyes will provide a quick, non-permanent deterrent.

2. a compressed air horn in a can. This can break their concentration a lot better than "get off the couch". It also works with bears,
errant drivers, etc...


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Dog deterent

A loud whistle hung around the neck is distracting and easy to use. Wasp spray for the most determined, best used if stopped. My biggest concern with dogs is them running in front of the bike and causing a crash. Had bad experiences with that.

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One other thing...

Unclip the foot on the dog side in case you need to kick. Aim your foot for the base of the skull. I use a 'thrust kick', intending to strike with my heel.

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whistle works, but also a dazer

Had many dog 'atacks' ;) We work with a whistle and a Dazer, The dazer works 80%, and yell!!!!!!! like home, go, act stronger then the dog.

Karin and Marten

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Air horn

I bought an air horn for the traffic in Vietnam and by accident found that it works on dogs too. Every dog stopped dead in its tracks with a short blast, I think it may be the pitch of the horn that affects them.

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I'd like to thank all of you

I'd like to thank all of you for the great tips and advice. It's all useful stuff.

What I ended up doing was just ignoring them as I rode up. Either they picked up on the "whatever, I don't care" energy I'm now emitting ...or word has made it through the Romanian canine grapevine not to mess with these tough Canadian chicks. After all, one of their canine compatriots did get grazed by a rock at one point ...or maybe the dogs in Dolj and Olt Counties are different from the ones in the preceding counties where we used sticks, rocks, loud and firm yelling of "hey!", along with a shrill emergency whistle while coming to a full sudden "don't mess with me" kind of stop.

...Michelle and Patti

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