Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: New Jawn on August 22, 2021, 07:39:50 pm

 
Title: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: New Jawn on August 22, 2021, 07:39:50 pm
I listened to a podcast ("The Pedalshift Project") and the topic was dog deterrence.  Wanting more info, I found "Bike Forums" with numerous threads on dogs and cyclists.  From what I gathered, Kentucky and Missouri are far and away the most problematic states on the TA, with many saying that being chased 3-5 times a day while passing through is common.  The discussions quickly turned to what to do, the merits and demerits of various pepper and bear sprays, staying on your bike versus getting off to avoid swerving into traffic, etc.

All of that makes me want to avoid those two states by taking the Norther Tier route.  Yes, dogs everywhere, but having listened to two podcasts and having read a number of long threads on the topic, Kentucky and Missouri (and a few areas of Texas) are where problems are more likely to occur, so....

For those who've actually done the TransAmerica central route, was that your experience? 
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: staehpj1 on August 22, 2021, 08:16:22 pm
Yes there were chasing dogs.  No I didn't find it to be that huge of a problem.  Maybe it is because I am old enough (70) that I remember a time when every rural ride around home involved some kind of dog encounter.

On the TA all of the dogs had seen Halt spray and knew what it was.  Even pretending to hold something and making spraying sounds/gestures was pretty effective and outrunning them was kind of fun any way.  They generally didn't seem to be in it for blood.  More for the fun of the chase.

I think only once did I really feel threatened by dogs on a bike tour and that was in the Central Valley of California.  I got triple teamed by three aggressive mutts on a steep enough uphill that I had to dismount.  I felt lucky to get away unscathed.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: HobbesOnTour on August 23, 2021, 12:39:12 am
This is an interesting one.

I made my own way from Charleston to Nashville and had to deal with dogs every day. Honestly, they almost ruined my tour.

What I found was that even though I could deal with them (I have a squeezable water bottle - a squirt or two was usually enough) the thought of a dog up ahead really impacted on my enjoyment.
After a while a simple dog bark drove the anxiety needle higher.
Approaching dogs sent it higher again.
I had a few bad scares which ruined some otherwise good days.

And yes, traffic combined with dogs was often not pleasant. Drivers either were unaware or uninterested.
In a couple of cases owners weren't too interested either.

My usual method was a squirt of water.
I stopped a handful of times but preferred to keep moving if possible. I had a trailer so that limited flexibility of moving the bike when stationary. I also use a clickstand - an instant stick if I need it. And my mirror saved me a couple of times from silent chasers.

The thing is, I like dogs and generally have no problem with them. Plus, in quite a lot of touring in Europe I've only ever been chased once - by a comically tiny terrier. The shock almost had me off - not the dog.
I have some pretty good techniques for dealing with anxiety like this but they weren't working for dogs. It was a daily feature.

I have an understanding of dog behaviour (far from an expert) and can usually tell when a dog is simply protecting his territory or actively attacking.

The cure for me was the Natchez Trace Parkway - not a dog in sight. A few days of no dogs started to restore some perspective and get the needle back to a normal level.

That was probably not what you wanted to read. Sorry.
But, on the bright side, you have a lot of time to prepare, to get to understand dogs and to mix with them as much as possible. That would be my suggestion, rather than change your route.

I often think that what's going on between our ears can be the heaviest load we carry. Some people aren't put off in the slightest by dogs, others very much are. One hundred people could post here and say it will be fine (and they'll most likely be right) but it's your tour, your enjoyment. Not theirs.

Good luck!

Edited to add:
BikeForums can be overzealous to say the least. There's a thread that paints large swathes of the US as being inhabited by meth induced zombies. It's a wonder anyone rides a bike!
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: John Nelson on August 23, 2021, 01:46:52 am
Yes, dogs are annoying. But they are a manageable problem. I’ve done both the TransAm and the Northern Tier. Yes, the dogs are worse on the TA. But I still recommend the TA over the NT, even with the dogs. A bicycle tour involves oh so many challenges. Dogs are just one of them. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: HikeBikeCook on August 23, 2021, 06:43:13 am
You can take a look at the TransAM Eastern Express Route https://www.easternexpressroute.com/ (https://www.easternexpressroute.com/) and miss the most annoying dogs and some of the worst climbs. Having hiked the AT through that area you have already experienced that area of the Appalachians. Believe or not, one of the climbs that people often rate as the hardest on the TransAM is coming out the the hiker's paradise of Damascus, VA.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: staehpj1 on August 23, 2021, 07:07:08 am
Believe or not, one of the climbs that people often rate as the hardest on the TransAM is coming out the the hiker's paradise of Damascus, VA.
Yep.  I can attest to the fact that on the TA the climbs in the east were far more difficult for me than the ones in the west.  They may have been shorter, but they were  much steeper.  If anything I was in better shape being road hardened a bit since I was going W-E, but the eastern mountains were much harder.  Whether that is a good reason to opt for the Eastern Express depends on the rider.  I would hate to miss that part of the country, but yeah, you would miss a lot of the more difficult climbing and probably see way less dogs.  I hope to do the TA for the 50th anniversay of Bikecentennial and 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Given that I will be 75 years old by then I may be looking to avoid those steeper climbs and might choose the eastern express myself at that time.  The TA in the east was already pretty challenging the first time, so at 75 I have serious doubt of being able to manage it.

For a fit younger rider I recommend the normal TA unless you really are freaked about the dog thing and think you just can't deal with it.  Lots of riders who were worried about that do manage though, so you need to decide if it is a challenge you can cope with.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: New Jawn on August 23, 2021, 08:20:03 am
.... I made my own way from Charleston to Nashville and had to deal with dogs every day. Honestly, they almost ruined my tour.

What I found was that even though I could deal with them .... the thought of a dog up ahead really impacted on my enjoyment.
After a while a simple dog bark drove the anxiety needle higher.
Approaching dogs sent it higher again.
I had a few bad scares which ruined some otherwise good days.

That.  Exactly that.  I don't want to wonder what unleashed dog(s) will come charging out of a trailer to try to bite.

But let me back up just a bit.  Early this summer I started to follow "TobyRail Touring," a vlog on YouTube of two ordinary guys doing the TransAmerica.  They posted a short video nearly everyday, they were unpretentious, non-racing ordinary riders.  That vlog is what got me started.  I'm not a cyclist, but when I saw it, I thought, yeah, I want to do that, I can do that. 

Then episode 61.  They were riding with two other guys for a bit.  One guy got ahead maybe 1/4 mile, and from the vlog, "out from behind a trailer came two massive pitbulls.... I've never ridden faster in my life... One of them hung with me for several hundred yards."

That could have had a very bad ending.  He didn't get bitten, but at the end of the day you could tell he was still shaken up.

So that's when I started paying attention to the issue of unleashed dogs and learned from numerous threads and vlogs that Kentucky and Missouri are where it's a much bigger problem than other sections.  I had no idea.  And the thought of dealing with pitbulls and other similar breeds -- not charging Yorkies or annoyed Basset Hounds -- and me planning on riding by myself... that creates a lot of anxiety.

Now I know that dogs can be an issue in any state, but if I can measurably reduce the number of potential attacks by avoiding those two states, then that's a very tempting solution.   And in my 1,100 miles hiking the AT, not one single time did I confront an aggressive dog.  Black bears were the danger, but I never gave them a thought and didn't carry bear spray.

I'll check out the Eastern Express.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: Pat Lamb on August 23, 2021, 08:46:35 am
Well, you get to decide what you're going to do.  I think it'd be a pity, though, for 20 seconds of video to deter you from the TransAm route because of dogs.

Pete mentioned Halt! and I carried some on my TransAm trip.  Rather than daily, on the worst part of the trip, I probably pulled the Halt! spray twice a week or less, and used it perhaps a half dozen times.  There was half a can left at the end of my ride.

As for hills, I can't remember all the "contours of the land" quote -- perhaps someone can help me here?  I relished conquering the contours of the Appalachians as an obese, middle aged, and overloaded man.  If that sounds too tough, take the 2% maximum grade on the Eastern Express instead.  (Or you could do it younger, slimmer, and less loaded, but where's the fun in THAT?)
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: HikeBikeCook on August 23, 2021, 08:49:52 am
The biggest threat to hikers on the AT from wildlife is the brown recluse spider in shelters and not the bears.  ;D I think that and tick bites are the two most dangerous wildlife encounters hiking the AT.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: staehpj1 on August 23, 2021, 09:13:09 am
Now I know that dogs can be an issue in any state, but if I can measurably reduce the number of potential attacks by avoiding those two states, then that's a very tempting solution.   And in my 1,100 miles hiking the AT, not one single time did I confront an aggressive dog.  Black bears were the danger, but I never gave them a thought and didn't carry bear spray.

I'll check out the Eastern Express.
The Eastern Express is probably a good option if it relieves your anxiety.  It is about perceived danger though.  If you were weighing actual risks dogs in Missouri and Kentucky probably wouldn't move the risk needle and cars would stop you from riding at all if the small statistical risk dogs pose was significant enough to worry you.

If the actual statistical risk were enough to stop you fron riding the full TA, there are many other far more likely risks that would make riding it out of the question.  I seriously doubt that dog attacks are statistically a large risk in the case of riding the TA.  I think you hit it right when you compared it to black bears on the AT, but bet the risk is even lower.  Statistically the danger is actually very low for fatal bear attacks on the AT and pretty low for any attacks at all.  I read that it is typically something like one every 8-10 years for a fatal attack on the AT (deaths from dogs on the TA is likely zero).  People die that freqently or more frequently of other things on the AT.  There is hypothermia, falls, heart attacks, drug overdoses, and even murders which all are probably somewhere near that number.  Heck, I read that at least 4 people are know to have died from lightning strikes on the AT.

Only you can say whether the stress of it would ruin your trip though.  How much did you stress over there being bears on the AT?  How much do you think you would stress in the 12 days or so of "dog country"?  Depending on your answers maybe you could consider the full TA or maybe the Eastern Express is thje best answer.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: jamawani on August 23, 2021, 11:20:48 am
Hey NJ -

Do you ever just head off somewhere where you've never been before?
Just turn left and hed down that dirt road and see where you end up? Y
ou might dead end at the county dump.
But you might also have the best bikr ride of your life.

There's planning and there's overplanning.
(There's also planing and paneling.)
There so much info out there that it can sink a battleship.
What's more, you can plan the "perfect" route -
and within three days your plans have changed.
Weather, road closures, no longer on schedule for your nightly stops.
Just ask anyone who has toured for a long time.

Planning is a good thing, but it will only be broad outlines.
Yes, dogs are a thing on the TransAm in Kentucky & Missouri.
Most of us have managed them without incident.
I happen to have a deep bass voice like a ghetto blaster.
And the obscenities I yell at those mutts cannot be repeated here.

But time of year matters for what route you choose.
You'll have more bike-oriented communities and run into more riders on the TransAm.
But a more northerly route may be a bit cooler in summer and with fewer dogs.
Can't remember when you said you were planning to do your trip.

I'm not a super big fan of the Eastern Express.
But it is a mapped route - if haved a route already mapped out is important to you.
The Northern Tier has a lot - a mean a lot - of Great Plains to cross.
The TransAm has west Kansas and eastern Colorado after Kentucky & Missouri.
The new Parks, Peaks & Prairies is a good compromise.
Although I might do the bike trails across Wisconsin and S. Minnesota instead of MSP.

I've ridden from the Deep South to the Far North.
And, yes, dogs are an issue in the South.
But it's more than dogs - the attitude towards roaming dogs in the South -
Is linked to a broader disdain for cycling in the South.
(And I have gotten in trouble here for saying so in the past.)

I have had more things tossed out of pickup windows at me in Missouri than anywhere else.
I had a 300-lb c-store clerk in N.C. say, "Why are you doing something stupid like that?"
It can happen anywhere, but more often in the South.
Plus there are far more bike trails, county parks with camping, bike shops in the Midwest.

So, maybe give some consideration to a route further north.

Pic - Empty back road in Indiana
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: zzzz on August 23, 2021, 11:42:48 am
I think most of us (except Jamawani) have a sample size of one, we were at this specific spot, at this specific time and that’s what we know. I did the transam and there is only a single dog I remember.  He was a big boy and he seemed pretty vicious but eventually he tired out and went home.

If you do this trip you’re going to be on the road for 4K miles. There will be some number of incidents, some great, some not so great, along the way that there is no way to plan for. The very best thing you can do is get your attitude in the right place:

You’re on an adventure of a lifetime! And in the end, whatever You run into, you will deal w it and you will come out just fine.

I’ve taken 6 long bike tours and everyone of them stands out in my memory as among the best 4-5 weeks of my life. Whatever route you take, some days or some incidents will suck, I can guarantee it, but taking a big trip like that is  as life affirming a thing as you can ever do.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: staehpj1 on August 23, 2021, 11:59:09 am
FWIW, despite Jamawani's comments I didn't find the people or the dogs to be a problem on the Southern Tier or other rides in the southern half of the US.  I actually greatly enjoyed the people I met on the ST.  Much of the way the scenery sucked, but the food and the people were nice and the dogs unremarkable.

I will say that the reservation dogs looked rangey and mean, but they seemed too lazy to bother to chase us.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: ray b on August 23, 2021, 01:44:29 pm
Most older cyclists will tell you that loose dogs in the countryside are far less a problem now when compared to the the 70s and 80s.

(I'm reminded of the scene from American Flyers, in which our protagonists take a route to meet Eddy for some high intensity training. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up.  Strikes me, that the scene - purportedly in Wisconsin, was actually shot in Missouri....)

I live in Missouri. I can tell you, loose dogs are far less an issue now than 30 y ago, and certainly no reason to miss the scenic river roads of the trans-am.

As I've noted before, you do your do diligence and do a lot of things right, but I would encourage you to spend more time on your bike, and less time in review of the (often negative) stories that are posted to help others plan for the worst.

I've been on the road now for 6 weeks, and there is nothing like time on the bike to keep the anxiety at bay and the stories in perspective.

Safe travels.

(Oh - and don't ask why, but we refer to hillbillies in Missouri as "Hoosiers.")
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: New Jawn on August 23, 2021, 05:34:03 pm
I appreciate all of the comments -- you people have given this novice lots to think about in the next 9 mths.

I am all but committed to stopping by Colorado Springs on the journey west.  Looking at the ACA routes and other options, I will probably cobble together a combination of various routes.  All will be novel, so hopefully there's no such thing as a bad route.

I wish that I had a partner for the ride but I always hiked solo so I should be used to it.   I didn't give bears on the AT a second thought (tick-borne Lyme disease, yellow jacket nests, and giardia were, in that order, my bête noire), so I hope to get over the fear of pitbulls and bully breeds.

My bike should be ready within 2 weeks.  It's been a huge struggle to piece it together in a time when parts are so damned hard to find.  But I very much look forward to doing some very long rides on the weekends in prep. for going across county.  But truth be told, my first purchase will be a can of Fox Co. or Sabre pepper spray for dogs.

I've got a lot more questions, but I don't want to wear out my welcome so I'll shut up for now.

Again, thanks for your patience and information.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: John Nelson on August 23, 2021, 07:16:54 pm
hopefully there's no such thing as a bad route.

I wouldn’t go that far. There are lots of bad routes, lots of terrible routes, lots of blah routes, and a few good routes. There are many unsafe roads, where you’ll be saying, get me the hell out of here! And many boring routes where nothing interesting ever happens. Well-researched routes are golden.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: Nyimbo on August 23, 2021, 08:57:07 pm
I rode W-E on the TransAm from Oregon to Colorado and then in Eastern Colorado I veered off north to continue across on the the EasternExpress route.  I did not do so to avoid dogs or to avoid riding the more difficult E mountains sections. I did so because I wanted to experience the Katy trail and I wanted to pass through St Louis and Cincinnati to visit some family along the way.  I had mixed feelings about the EasternExpress. I thoroughly enjoyed both the Katy trail and the GAP and C&O. I think experiencing those two well known trails made it worth the trade off of missing the Eastern half of the TA.  I also quite enjoyed my ride across Ohio.  From St Louis to Cincinnati was the the least favorite section of the whole ride. (Well that and about 40 mile of wind swept Southern Wyoming.)
BTW Staehpj1 my worst ever dog experience was also the California Central Valley.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: TCS on August 24, 2021, 09:18:00 am
As for hills, I can't remember all the "contours of the land" quote -- perhaps someone can help me here?

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.  Thus you remember them as they actually are, while on an ebike in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." - Ernest Hemingway
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: Pat Lamb on August 24, 2021, 02:53:52 pm
As for hills, I can't remember all the "contours of the land" quote -- perhaps someone can help me here?

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.  Thus you remember them as they actually are, while on an ebike in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." - Ernest Hemingway

Thanks for that!  (Though I'm not sure ebikes are quite as bad a motor cars...)
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: HobbesOnTour on August 25, 2021, 07:39:27 am
I think it's a pity that you are considering an alternative route. The comments about "perceived" fear and the real risk of traffic are spot on, I believe.
As are the comments on over planning.

You have 9 months to get your head straight. Since this is your first tour, the processes you establish now will most likely become permanent (or at least difficult to change). I think you should pay attention to that.

The problem for me was that the dog situation was such a shock to the system - I wasn't prepared. Traffic, despite being more dangerous (and sometimes pure malicious) was easier to deal with because I had prepared for that.

If you do wish to create your own routes I recommend https://cycle.travel/map A very handy website with instant access to Streetview.
My biggest issues when creating my own routes were the disappearance of shoulders (often at county lines) and bridges. I came to hate bridges.

Once you have your bike, load up and get as much practice under your belt as you can. Instead of cycling down a local road, try to imagine where you want to be cycling. It will all come together.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: TCS on August 25, 2021, 02:06:04 pm
Thanks for that!  (Though I'm not sure ebikes are quite as bad as motor cars...)

Oh, no-no!  Ebikes are great!   :D  It's just that when you ride to the base of a big climb and dial up the assist, well, that's a different experience.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: Westinghouse on September 09, 2021, 03:42:56 pm
Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a disabled veteran planning a transcontinental bicycling tour on a recumbent bike.

As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement and sound of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolling around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around the property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I was cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargeant. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whiff of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.

Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike between myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and there was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA.

As for some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a firearm would save you.  Some of those would run you to earth and kill you and eat you. I had never seen anything even remotely as vicious as those, and have not seen anything like it since. If there is any such thing as a homicidal, insane, psychotic, murderous, savage dog, those dogs were it. For those dogs I would seriously recommend using a flame thrower. I have never encountered dogs anywhere even remotely that ferocious in the USA. Thank God for that chain link fence. Those were raised to be extremely murderously violent.
 
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: John Nettles on September 14, 2021, 10:20:33 pm
Depends on what you are looking for. I have ridden the TA, NT, and most of the PPP.  I would definitely take the TA over the others if I have not ridden it before.  I have ridden parts of the EE too.  If  you are totally concerned about the dogs and can not stop worrying about them, use the EE and maybe swing down to the TA in Kansas (from Clinton, MO).

Like others, I carry Halt! but rarely use it.  My current can is probably 4 years old and is half full.  I squirt it at the start of each tour to ensure it does indeed still work but other than that, water bottle usually does the trick. When I tour with one couple, I am actually the "bait" because the lady of the couple is 80+ years old and is not a fan of barking dogs (bitten a few times).  To me, a lot of it is learning if they are "protecting their territory" or are actually looking to get to you.  I would say 95% are the former.  The worst are the ones where you only hear the toe nails clicking on the pavement and their panting. You look down and lo and behold, there is a snarling dog 3 feet back.  Scares the bejebbers out of me.  I usually swerve into them (they are behind me), get the Halt! and slow up a bit so I can get a good shot at them.  Works every time.  If it is a pack of dogs, I look for the alpha dog.  Take care of it and the rest follow suit. As mentioned, a squeeze of the water bottle and a firm commanding voice usually does the trick.

Tailwinds, John
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: staehpj1 on September 15, 2021, 07:00:24 am
Oh, one other thing.  One of my companions discovered that yelling "Go Home" had no effect, but "Bad Dog" seemed to work better.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: John Nettles on September 15, 2021, 07:04:49 am
Oh, one other thing.  One of my companions discovered that yelling "Go Home" had no effect, but "Bad Dog" seemed to work better.
In Alabama we yelled "Get off the damn couch!" which seemed to work.  ;D
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: Pat Lamb on September 15, 2021, 09:07:10 am
In Alabama we yelled "Get off the damn couch!" which seemed to work.  ;D

It's kind of funny; the smarter dogs give you a look like "but I'm not ON the couch!"  I can usually get away from them while they slow down to think about it.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: staehpj1 on September 15, 2021, 09:15:33 am
That is funny.  Anyway, yelling "Go Home" is a waste of breath with most of them.  I suspect they may have even learned that it is something that helpless victims say, a "kick me" sign of sorts.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: New Jawn on September 15, 2021, 11:37:35 am
After a good bit of reading numerous blogs and threads on the topic, I've decided to better my odds of avoiding hillbilly dogs by avoiding hillbilly country.  I'm going to do the Eastern Express, which connects to the KATY trail, and from its southwestern terminus, a short connector to where it connects to the TransAmerica in Eureka, Kansas, to continue on through Colorado, etc. 

I read a good number of blogs about the TA central, and nearly all report that unchained dogs were quite common in Kentucky and eastern Missouri, with a majority saying that they just assumed that each and every trailer and roadside shack will have at least one semi-feral mutt to circumvent.  This will be my first long solo ride and I just don't need the added stress.

That said, I will still carry a can of bear spray.

If all goes well, my next goal will be putting together a hopefully dog-free, 3-week trip to do both the Cabot Trail (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) and the Viking Trail (Newfoundland).  I will start a thread on those trails and the planned trip a bit later, but never hurts to post the idea should any of you want to join in. 
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: HikeBikeCook on September 15, 2021, 11:47:23 am
Good luck on your ride. I hope you are a great hill climber because the Cape Breton Highlands are beautiful, be prepared for some steep climbs and ocean breezes.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: misterflask on September 19, 2021, 10:10:42 am
I can recall 3 dog encounters on the TA
1. Somewhere in western Kansas a pack of 6-10 dogs surrounded me preventing changes in course and speed while a pair nipped at my heels.  They were having a grand time and apparently intended only limited malice.  It was concerning at the time but mainly annoying in retrospect.  I'm still plotting revenge.
2. A large dog in Missouri embarked on a spirited chase with apparent ill will in his heart.  As noted, TA dogs often respond to faked pepper spray and shouts of 'Bad Dog', which fortunately worked just well enough here.
3. A tiny dog in Virginia ran along for too long nipping at my heels.  Just annoying.

There's a nice gravel ride near my home ruined by a pack of aggressive dogs that will run you off the bike against a bramble hedge until their redneck owner calls them off.  He calls them home but doesn't exactly discourage them.
Another roadbike ride nearby is universally avoided because the owner will run after and intimidate bikers in his car if someone sprays his aggressive dogs with water.
Title: Re: Hillbilly dogs
Post by: John Nettles on September 19, 2021, 01:00:36 pm
There's a nice gravel ride near my home ruined by a pack of aggressive dogs that will run you off the bike against a bramble hedge until their redneck owner calls them off.  He calls them home but doesn't exactly discourage them.
Another roadbike ride nearby is universally avoided because the owner will run after and intimidate bikers in his car if someone sprays his aggressive dogs with water.
If I rode that road, I would tell the owner one time to get their dogs under control or the animal control would be called.  I would warn him that something like the 3rd call and the dogs are gone due to being a "continued menace".  And I would tell him that if he ever tries to intimidate me again I would give the video evidence to the police and press charges.  And I would follow through on both if need be.  To me, this case (and most cases) are usually about the owner not exerting control and/or the owner being a bully.  I feel sorry for the dogs because they are basically trained/not trained to do something. Obviously, feral dogs are another matter.  We would call animal control if the dogs attacked.

After several severe accidents (riders hospitalized) with dogs in our county, the bike clubs doesn't hesitate to call animal control and/or the sheriff and file complaints.  Usually, after the first complaint, the owner ensures the dog is fenced in and the owner doesn't try to pull that stuff anymore. Plus, in our county the owners are liable and once warned are really on the hook financially.