Bicycle Travel > General Discussion

US dogs

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After many years of planning and lurking on this forum with the odd post, I've made it to the US.

Headed out of Boston MA last Friday and am currently, 10 days and 714 miles later, in a very nice Motel 6 just outside Erie PA.

But what is it with American dogs? They all seem to want to have a go! I've only had one proper chase me, which was a Rottweiler type thing somewhere around the Vermont/New York border area. As a racer, I gave it some beans and dropped it. Luckily it was on the flat, but if it would have been uphill lugging the fully loaded bike, that would have been a different scenario.

But everytime one sees me, either behind a fence, or even with it's owner who had it on a leash the other day, they still bark and go nuts.

I really can't remember the last time I got chased in the UK. I haven't a clue, but it's got to be over 20 years.

I've actually changed my route planning because of it to avoid the country lanes now in the hope that loose dogs don't do too well with more traffic. 

Rant over. Until tomorrow!

I live in Kentucky, widely regarded as the cyclist-chasing dog capital of the world. I've toured in the northeastern USA, and believe me, the dogs there are very, very mild compared to Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, etc.

Please do not change your route to avoid country lanes because of dogs! That would be a shame. Traffic is much more dangerous than the occasional dog who runs out into the road.

If you're really worried about dogs chasing you, buy a can of "Halt!" pepper spray. It's specifically designed to repel dogs. It shoots in a stream and is easy to aim, even while riding. If you hit a dog in the face with it, he will almost immediately stop and rub his face in the grass.

(Kentucky cyclist who deals with dogs on almost every ride, and has learned that it's no big deal)

ray b:
Living in Missouri - I agree with Jeff.
I put in a ton of miles a year, and can't remember the last time I was chased by a dog. (Of course I'm old and the memory ain't great.)
Traffic is much more dangerous than 99.9% of the dogs, who sometimes run for fun and entertainment - watch their tails; many are wagging.
A little squirt of water from the water bottle is enough to keep most at bay. Cans of Halt require a place to put them and require a little more practice.
Have fun.

Pat Lamb:
Now you know why American cyclists post about dogs so much!

I'm another Halt! fan.  "No!" or "Get off the sofa!" at the top of your lungs works on 90% of the dogs I've seen, but Halt gets the 9 of the last 10%.  (The very last 1% will charge until he's six feet away, just outside of the Halt's range, so he's somewhat experienced but probably won't bite you.)

The worst mongrels are the ones who are serious about attacking, and they make no noise until you hear the clatter of dog paws five feet back.  You need to have some way of responding quickly to those attacks -- I personally can't get a water bottle out in the time it takes that dog to close the gap.

I'll add my voice to the chorus saying to stay on the country roads.  It's a lot more pleasant to deal with a dog or two every day than trying to figure out where the shoulder ends, how to merge with traffic to get across a bridge, etc. multiple times every hour.

Have toured across 47 states and only remember dogs being an issue a few times… Once in Montana, several times on the same day in Missouri and once in Texas.

Usually they’ll chase you and stop. I carry bear spray and have used it on dogs a few times as a last resort. They all ran yelping back to their yard.

I wouldn’t ever not tour or change my route because of dogs though. Most of them wont bother you. A few weeks ago in Delaware a rather terrifying looking dog (I think a pit bull) came out of his yard as I approached. I slowed down and came to a stop and he walked up to me wagging his tail and was content with smelling me for a moment before retreating back to his yard.

I think a lot of it is you surprising them. They don’t hear you approaching and they see you out of nowhere so they react.


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