Author Topic: US dogs  (Read 3916 times)

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Offline mrriffraff

US dogs
« on: May 29, 2022, 09:17:29 pm »
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!

Offline jwaynelee

Re: US dogs
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2022, 11:16:34 am »
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)

Offline ray b

Re: US dogs
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2022, 08:28:16 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 01:30:37 pm by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: US dogs
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2022, 10:11:04 am »
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.

Offline Ty0604

Re: US dogs
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2022, 05:28:09 pm »
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.
Instagram: tyjames0604


Offline John Nelson

Re: US dogs
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2022, 05:44:37 pm »
Kentucky stands alone for dogs. I have carried HALT on most of my trips but have never used it. On my recent trip through Kentucky, I came closer to a dog disaster than on any previous trip. The dog's teeth actually pressed against my thigh, but it did not bite me.

After being harassed by many hundreds of dogs, they mostly give up before they actually contact you. Sometimes yelling works. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes sweet-talking works. Sometimes you have to stop. Sometimes you can outrun them. Sometimes you might have a chance to use your pepper spray. Sometimes the encounter happens too rapidly. It is absolutely true that some states have many more dog encounters than others.

My philosophy is to accept that dog encounters will occur, and deal with them when they happen. Each situation is different, but you soon learn how to handle them. If you keep this up long enough, however, you're probably going to get bitten eventually.

As has been said, I wouldn't let dogs affect my choice of routes. The risk isn't high enough.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2022, 05:46:38 pm by John Nelson »

Offline mrriffraff

Re: US dogs
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2022, 08:21:25 pm »
Thanks for all your replies.

First here's a bit of a personal update. I've not had a chase since, so I suppose we've made progress. One even barked and ran away!

However, I just don't get the dog's mentality here. As I originally said, you don't get chased in the UK and hardly ever even a bark. But here, virtually every time without fail, the dogs go crazy.

Monday I was going through a town (possibly Cambridge Springs PA. Doesn't matter) and an elderly lady was standing, waiting to cross with her dog on it's leash. It went totally nuts. Barking, growling and straining to have me. She kept hold so it wasn't a thing. Don't know the bread, but not one of those that looks like it wants a fight.

Then today, I had a day off in Medina OH. Took a ride to see the centre and generally chill. Riding down a residential street, a lady sitting on her veranda, holding her little pooch, but when I appear, same again, it goes totally crackers.

Anyway, despite me moaning about dogs, so far, this is the best 3 weeks I've spent away from work. Only 7 to go.

Offline staehpj1

Re: US dogs
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2022, 06:37:48 am »
There just might be something about you or your bike that is setting them off.  A buddy of mine once had a creaky bottom bracket that drove dogs crazy.  They can hear things we can't.  Could it be something like that?  If so some lube just might help.

They also tend to bark at people or things that stand out as unusual or possibly threatening and their idea of threatening can be anything they see as odd.  Do you stand out as unusual for some reason?  Do they bark at everyone on a bike or do they maybe single you out?  If they bark at all cyclists that really isn't my experience with most dogs in most places in the US.  If it is just you, understanding what is setting them off may help avoid the problem.

Different regions seem to be very different so you may find the problem goes away as you move on.  It may or may not come back elsewhere.  Missouri and Kentucky are the most likely place to be chased, but there are issues here and there elsewhere.  I always found it possible to deal with them others have already mentioned a few tips on that.

Things are much better these days than years ago.  As an old man I remember my younger years when you got chased by a dog or three on pretty much any longish ride in the country.  All dogs ran free and quite a few hated bikes.  Some didn't hate us, but liked to chase for sport.  It was just part of any ride.  The same rural roads these days you never see a dog on the loose.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: US dogs
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2022, 01:29:33 am »
About 33000 miles all loaded touring through 19 countries. It seems like American dogs AR fairly well domesticated and peaceful. In other parts of the world are dogs who would run you to Earth. They would rip you apart and eat you. There is nothing like that in the United States that I know of. Some are aggressive. They charge out from yards and roadsides at high speed barking and yelping and sniffing very close to your feet. In Lehigh Acres news, a pack of free-ranging dogs ran onto the porch of the house and killed a pet cat. It was a domesticated house cat probably raised by some people there. There was a story in New Mexico. A pack of free-ranging dogs mauled a woman to death.

Offline hankj

Re: US dogs
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2022, 06:34:01 pm »
My guess is that the UK has high population density, and so a lot more people around the dogs, and dogs end up being better socialized.  A lot of places in the US have low population density and dogs that are not socialized, and often trained and encouraged to be defensive and aggressive.  It's likely that in a lot of rural places in the US, where help from law enforcement etc is never close, having a couple dogs who are paranoid a$$holes is comforting.  Unless you're the person trying to ride by on a bicycle.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: US dogs
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2022, 08:31:22 am »
Just last week a very loud, aggressive, good-sized dog came off a property at me in the middle of nowhere Vermont.  Got within maybe 8' of me.  I didn't panic.  I gave him some yells and barks back and kept on moving.  Once he realized I was not going to invade his territory he retreated.

The scene of the crime:,-72.3711864,3a,75y,160.88h,90.5t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbkbTWiWCIeCZ_L9Bk67J6w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Offline Westinghouse

Re: US dogs
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2022, 02:43:23 am »
Recently in the news was a story. A man in Houston Texas was attacked by free ranging dogs. They tore him to pieces. One of his legs had to be amputated. He died in a hospital. The owner of the dogs is in big trouble, according to the news.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 05:07:24 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline Alessa3322

Re: US dogs
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2023, 09:11:36 am »
I had two dogs and I'm sure that the dog's behavior depends on how it was trained. This is the owner's responsibility.
When we understood that we didn't succeed in training, we addressed a professional. It was easy to find a trainer at in our area. I should say, that our dogs needed fewer lessons than we expected.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2024, 07:02:07 am by Alessa3322 »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: US dogs
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2023, 11:48:09 am »
Cycling cross country as in transcontinental, you will encounter dogs along the way. That is a given. As far as I know, there is not much to worry about. It is not that free-ranging dogs have not killed people in the United States. They have. In all my cross country tours I always ran into dogs somewhere down the line. They were not a big problem as far as real danger is concerned. They were just out for a romp. It was the thrill of the chase, I suppose. That doesn't mean they cannot be dangerous. They can be. It's a matter of odds.

Offline rayed

Re: US dogs
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2023, 06:25:50 am »
I had two dogs and I'm sure that the dog's behavior depends on how it was trained. This is the owner's responsibility.
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« Last Edit: December 23, 2023, 05:34:09 pm by rayed »