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Andrew Tettenhorst
(tettenhorsta) - MLife

Locale: Socal
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/15/2012 17:59:35 MDT Print View

In about the last month I've done 2 trips up in the Sierra, one was Minarets Lake/Ediza/Garnet Lake and the other was Sabrina Basin (Sailor Lake, Midnight Lake, Baboon Lakes). In the just 8 days backpacking between the 2 trips I've been barked at/harassed by 4 dogs. Here's the breakdown of each situation:

-Photographing Ediza Lake in the morning I came around to the meadow on the eastern bank where a young yellow lab commenced snarling, snapping, and barking at me approaching within a couple feet. Its owner was also photographing near the bank and tried to get it under control which took some time. I didn't feel threatened by it and just went on doing my thing, it proved more of a distraction for the owner than for me as he was trying to get it to stop barking and bothering the 25+ other people around the lake.

-Next was at Garnet Lake. Was shooting Banner/Ritter reflections and a dog barked at me from several hundred feet away. The owner got quick control of it and it stopped barking. I never got close to it and I got out of their camp's line of sight while moving to a new shooting angle so it didn't escalate.

-Third time was at Midnight Lake. A group of older day hikers were lounging around the outlet of the lake and their cocker spaniel mix started snarling snapping and barking at my wife and I as we passed by them. One woman in the group sat there and watched it harassing us and did nothing. It at one time brushed up against me but did not bite. We kept moving and walked by and a couple of group got control over it.

-Last time my wife and I were hiking from Baboon Lakes back to the Sabrina Basin trailhead. As we were passing by Blue Lake I saw a couple of 1 man tents off on the side of the trail. As we passed by a dog let out a couple of barks, didn't think much of it, kept moving and the dog seemed to be coming up on us from behind barking. Feeling that something was different this time I stopped and turned around and was facing a full grown Doberman snarling and barking at 20-30ft. This was the first time I had felt threatened and chose to stand my ground until the owner finally took control.

The only one of these incidents that I felt even slightly worried in was with the Doberman. All the others involved dogs I wouldn't really consider a threat. Now that I've thought about it though, even a small dog bite would require hiking out for proper treatment and ruin a trip. My patience for people in the backcountry runs thin, seeing illegal camping, fire rings, garbage and I really don't have any left over for bad dog owners. I really had to hold my tongue in the Doberman situation, I wanted to tell the guy I would kill his dog if it got within range. I figured opening my mouth would just irritate me even more so after he got control of it I just turned around and continued hiking. With the realization that even a small dog bite could ruin a trip the next aggressive one I run into might get a trekking pole or shoe to their face.

I've thought about carrying a large knife for protection against dogs, but already realized that if you are able to use it you're already being bitten and that would ruin a trip and require returning to the trailhead, though if a dog did attack it would make killing it easier. Trekking poles are a good candidate but seem awkward to use as a weapon against a fast moving large dog, they would seem to the lightest option though if you already have them. Mace would also be a possibility, though if unused its just dead weight, not to mention limited use in wind. I'd almost rather have a full sized knife for its multi-use potential and close range defense and use the trekking poles to hopefully keep any aggressive dogs at distance.

Anyone else have problems with dogs and how did you deal with them? I also wonder if telling the owner in a non-threatening way that if their dog is menacing someone it is within the person being menaced rights to kill the dog. Do you think this would make them think twice about not keeping control of their dog on the trail?

Edited by tettenhorsta on 08/15/2012 18:04:38 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/15/2012 18:07:06 MDT Print View

I've started carrying dog spray. I haven't had the need to use it yet. I'd rather have the spray than a big knife.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/15/2012 18:18:04 MDT Print View

You carry a water pistol full of full-strength cleaning ammonia. If the dog goes into full attack mode, you let him have it right in the face. The liquid stops him in his tracks, and in some cases it temporarily blinds the dog.

It is unfortunate that the dog owner can't control his dog better than that.

Maybe there is something about you that dogs hate!

--B.G.--

a b
(Ice-axe)
Re: Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/15/2012 18:35:57 MDT Print View

I have the opposite effect on strange dogs and i don't really know why.
Even mean mountain dogs like me for some reason.

Do you wear large dark sunglasses? That scares dogs.
I don't wear them unless on snowpack or desert.

A backpack will spook dogs.
Nothing you can really do about that.

A large brimmed hat maybe.
I always wear a large hat when hiking so i dunno if that spooks them.

Eye contact.

This is a Biggie.

The fear of a bad past dog encounter will show in your eyes the milisecond you make eyecontact with a strange dog.

Please understand i am not implying you are afraid of dogs.
Maybe the fact that you anticipate the dogs reaction (barking) is what the dog is "reading" in your glance.

They read tension.. any tension, as aggresion, so they respond with aggresion.

If you manage to lock eyes with a strange dog either you need to maintain eye contact until the dog relents or totally ignore that dog until it relents it's agressive behavior.

Either approach can work.

(I realise this can be hard to implement. If a large dog is running at you and barking the natural reaction is to retreat. It is possible that standing your ground in a non-chalant manner will have a calming effect on the dog. THIS WORKS FOR ME BUT I DON"T RECOMMEND THIS TO EVERYONE.)

In other words.. there is an extreme case possible in every situtation, so the afore mentioned advice would not always be appropriate.

This is obviously very subjective advice.

Proceed at your own risk.

Maybe those dogs were just a fluke.

Edited by Ice-axe on 08/15/2012 18:50:09 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal?" on 08/15/2012 19:00:35 MDT Print View

It certainly shows that those dog owners need to keep better control over their dogs (i.e. a lot more obedience training and socialization) or keep them on leash!

Put a sweet loveable dog (I'm thinking that Lab) in a strange place, and it will often start acting aggressive through fear. These are the dogs whose owners say "He never does this at home." Of course not, but he hasn't been trained and socialized to behave normally in strange places such as the mountains. These dogs can become fear biters, the most unpredictable of all. You can assume that a Doberman will do its aggressive guard dog thing (although not all Dobies, by any means, are aggressive), but a Lab?

I've been tempted to carry a squirt gun or pepper spray since my dog has been attacked a couple of times by loose dogs on the trail. Unfortunately, I don't think I could use it without spraying my dog, too! Personally, I'd rather spray the irresponsible owners--they're at fault, not the dog--but that would get me into big trouble!

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal?" on 08/15/2012 19:44:17 MDT Print View

With that many encounters, I'd contact the FS/permit issuing authorities to give descriptions of dogs/people and time/location, maybe they can follow up with correspondence with those parties. I also feel if you do something, it'll make you feel like the bad guy and get the dog owner upset. On the other hand, I'd defend myself by whatever means and let the owner deal with his dog getting killed or injured. I've kicked at least one neighbors dog that got too close to me while acting aggressive. A dog bite will be having a red streak up your arm under 12 hours.
Duane

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Dog owners on 08/16/2012 09:50:29 MDT Print View

It's normal. I've come to hate dogs in the backcountry. And that's coming from someone that usually has a dog with him. Most of my trips are into designated wilderness areas where dogs are required to be leashed. I rarely see any dogs but mine on one. I really don't even care about that as long as the dog is friendly to both people and other dogs. I keep mine on one to keep them from bothering other hikers and to keep them out of trouble. And my dogs are friendly and well trained. But there are people who don't like dogs and some people, like my sister, are really scared of any dog.

I used to try to be diplomatic about it but those days are gone. The owners are always defensive about it like they can't understand why I'm unhappy with them and their dog. Too bad.

I have a rule. If the person says "Don't worry, my dog is friendly", don't believe them. But if they don't say that, be ready for trouble.

At the recommendation of a dog trainer, I started carrying SprayShield (you can get it at Petsmart, etc). I haven't used it yet. It's a citronella spray and harmless to the dog. It doesn't work on all dogs but pepper spray doesn't either. Some dogs become more aggressive when hit with pepper spray. I've only carried it so far when my dog is with me but I might start taking it all the time. The last 2 times I went without a dog, I've been charged twice by dogs that were barking and growling. Each time I crossed my trekking poles and put them out in front of me pointing at the dog and the dogs stopped. And each time, that movement seemed to get the owners attention as well and they moved a lot faster to get their dogs. Of course followed by the usual "Sorry, sorry, sorry".

It's frustrating but there's not much you can do about it except be prepared to deal with it.

Edited by rlnunix on 08/16/2012 09:57:21 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 10:18:27 MDT Print View

It is common, but I wouldn't call it normal. If people are going to bring dogs, they need to be on a lead and under control, period. Dogs can have a protective nature and I don't think barking is unusual at all, but they should be quieted by the person handling them. Allowing a dog to run loose and exhibit aggressive behavior is simply not acceptable. It goes beyond manners and is a huge liability. At some point, an aggressive dog is just another form of assault. IMHO, if people have dogs that don't behave well in public, they need to stay home.

I consider a dog as livestock. The owner is responsible for their behavior and the outcome if property or persons are harmed. What would you do if someone let their horse run loose? I think pepper spray would be appropriate with a dog, or any other means of defending yourself against an aggressive animal. You might have to use the pepper spray on the owner right after dosing the dog!

I do day hike with my dog and he is kept on a lead. He isn't aggressive and does well with other dogs. If a group is coming down the trail, I step aside and have my dog on a short lead if not by the collar, so it is obvious that I have him under control. Many people are wary of dogs and I don't think it is fair to subject them to my animal. If they want to stop and pet him or talk, that is great--- and at their choice.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
RE Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 11:01:32 MDT Print View

I would say it's the "new normal" but it shouldn't be. Many people seem to think they don't have a responsibility to be good dog owners once they go in the woods (maybe they're that way at home, too, though). It frustrates me that even in areas clearly marked "dogs must be on leash" that people just ignore it and loose their dogs.

I hike with my dog and starting next weekend will be camping with him as well. He's a rescue and although quite friendly he's large and a mixed breed German Shepherd and people are afraid of him due to his size and his GSD appearance. I keep him on a leash at all times unless I am absolutely positive I am in an area where there are no other people and where it's legal to let him run loose (usually up in the mountains, very remote). I feel that I do a good job of controlling him and ensuring that he is safe from other people and their dogs, and that they are safe from him (his only real vice is he's a jumper so I make sure to keep his head down as people are passing to make certain he doesn't try to jump on someone).

Personally, I recommend carrying pepper spray/bear spray. Of course, I live in bear country so I have it anyway, but I wouldn't hesitate to spray an aggressive dog, if I felt an attack was imminent.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Leash Laws on 08/16/2012 12:21:24 MDT Print View

From what I've seen, most dog owners think leash laws are optional. I hear "But it is harder to hike with my dog on a leash!"

That may be so....but it is your choice to take your dog to place that mandates leash laws.

Occasionally I get a question about the AT from people in the CO area. Some ask about their dog. When I mention that be aware that on the AT 40% of the areas requites leashes, the above conversation tends to happen.

So it goes...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: RE Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 14:54:54 MDT Print View

Dena pondered, "I would say it's the "new normal" but it shouldn't be. Many people seem to think they don't have a responsibility to be good dog owners once they go in the woods (maybe they're that way at home, too, though)."

Nope, people are consistently STUPID in town too, and like the man says, "You can't fix 'stupid'." I frequent a local Sunday flea market and there is a dog fight just about every Sunday. People have told me they bring their misbehaving mutt to a crowded venue with other dogs to "sensitize" them. Right.

I saw a Golden Retriever that would walk along calm enough and then make a psycho lunge at another dog passing by with no warning signs at all. It freaked me out, and I'm used to big dogs and their stunts. The owner said, "Yeah, he does that." Why anyone would bring a dog like that to a busy public place with lots of other dogs is beyond me. Somebody's kid is gonna get bit in the face and the lawyers will stampede. Sigh.....

People let their kids run havoc the same way or worse. And then you have the kids AND the dogs together. That needs to go to Chaff :)

I love my dogs can't imagine not have a mutt or two around, but I know very well that isn't universal.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 15:06:18 MDT Print View

I was hiking on Badger Creek, came to someone camping.

Their dog ran up to me, barking, snapping at me, ears back and other agressive signs.

Usually when dogs come at me I just stand there and ignore it, but this time I held up my boot between it and me. Didn't actually kick it though.

The owner said it was "just spooked" and never does that.

Riggghhhhtt... never does that... and then they called me a "spook" whatever that is : )

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 15:11:01 MDT Print View

Lately I have backpacked in some wilderness areas where dogs are allowed. I will see people hiking along with their dog on a leash, and there is a simple muzzle strap present on the dog. I guess that is to keep the dog from actually biting somebody. It seems to work wonders for keeping the dog calm (and also me!).

--B.G.--

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 15:38:55 MDT Print View

My dog is very timid in the back country. Aggressive, no, bark at anything and having another seem as if it's aggressive, possibly, (bite no way).

My dog will even stay up most of the night looking around as it "knows" there are things out there. By the end of day 2 she's tired.

I always get down and sit on my feet and clap for any dog in the backcountry to come here. The act of being nice and not as any potential threat makes a huge difference on the way the dog will act when it sees you. Plus you will know almost immediately if the dog is going to aggressive or not friendly when you get low and call it toward you.
If it barks, I stay down and let it bark, at least it knows that I am not being aggressive and it will have no reason to be aggressive back to me.

This has worked 100% of the time I have come across a dog in the back country and I see many more dogs just wag their tails and approach me before I did this.

You also have to realize that you are coming at them with the big pack on that looks deceiving to a dog. They may take it that their owner needs to be protected from it.

When a dog that will protect it's house or car is put in the back country, some may still feel that need to protect and that surrounding area grows to involve anything it sees or comes across.

Isn't this at least part of the reason we get a dog in the first place?

Edited by awsorensen on 08/16/2012 15:41:35 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 15:52:40 MDT Print View

I think it's great for humans and dogs to go hiking and off leash as long as it's well behaved.

95% of the time dogs are well behaved, come up to me with tail wagging, fine.

Even when the dog agressively barks and snaps at me, fine, I'll just stick my boot up if necesary.

Trekking poles are good.

People should get their dog (actually, it's themselves) trained

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 15:53:37 MDT Print View

Bob wrote: "Lately I have backpacked in some wilderness areas where dogs are allowed. I will see people hiking along with their dog on a leash, and there is a simple muzzle strap present on the dog. I guess that is to keep the dog from actually "

There are several brands of halter style leads now. They work on the idea that where the dogs nose is pointed, he will go. You can control a large dog easily with such a lead. I've had two dogs that wouldn't heel well and the "Halty" lead worked immediately , turning a tug of war into a pleasant walk for both of us. Most dogs adjust quickly with minor muzzle rubbing.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: RE Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 16:54:22 MDT Print View

"Somebody's kid is gonna get bit in the face and the lawyers will stampede. Sigh...."

Or somebody'll exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and there'll be one less problem dog to worry about. SIGH...

We live in troubled times. I find this whole thread very depressing. Nobody should have to worry about having their backcountry experience ruined by an aggressive, unleashed dog. If you can't control your dog, keep it out of the backcountry or suffer the consequences, as far as I'm concerned. No room for compromise here. Period.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 17:42:42 MDT Print View

A friend of mine was hiking fairly far in front of me on a 10 day trip, and we were in a place with lots of off leash dogs. I randomly stopped to talk to some of the dog owners coming the other way about the trail conditions, and would find out that their apparently happy go lucky well mannered dog that was letting me rub their belly, had just previously barked viciously at my friend when he passed them by. My friend has always been a little skittish around dogs, and my working theory is they must pick up on his body language and react to him as some kind of threat. So, I'd take a guess that you are displaying your annoyance with how dog owner keeps control of their dog, and these dogs are triggering on that.

Consider that the one main job that dogs have had for the tens of thousands of years they've been living with human beings, is to warn them of threats and ultimately protect them. So, in a lot of ways, a dog barking while we are in the area is what we should expect (especially in some place remote). I think our best bet with dogs, is to try and think about them like dealing with black bears. By and large, they aren't going to do anything and so it is just a mental game of getting familiar with them and knowing how to behave around them.

To directly answer your last two questions. I grew up with exposure to large territorial dogs, and on the occasion these days that I run into a dog that is protective of something and barking or even charging at me, I first try to relax my body a bit and give off an impression I could give a crap and keep going the way I am going without even looking at them much. I've never had to go much beyond that. Now, as far as confronting an owner and expressing that "somebody" might kill their dog if they don't keep it under control (which their definition may be different than yours); I don't think they'd probably react very well and would most likely escalate into a shouting match that you both would just relive in your minds for the next few days with a lot of anger.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Doggy pop psychology on 08/16/2012 19:37:03 MDT Print View

I take different approaches, depending on circumstances.

Usually when a dog gets a certain distance from me it looks like it's sizing me up to decide whether I'm a threat or not. I try to act before the dog gets to the decision point. If the owner is there I will greet him or her in a casual, friendly way - if the dog sees that we are OK with each other it won't feel threatened or that it has to protect its master. If the owner isn't there I'll try baby-talking the dog: "Hello puppy", that sort of thing. I'm trying to put the dog in a juvenile mindset (I read somewhere that dogs are just wolves that have been bred into a permanent juvenile state) so it's less likely to be aggressive, and it establishes me as dominant in a totally non-threatening way. Maybe total BS but it seems to work.

If a dog expresses aggression from a long way off it's a totally different scenario. Then I look for high ground, and rocks and/or a stick big enough to put a serious hurt in it if I'm attacked. In the event that I'm charged without time to prepare, I've decided that my approach is going to be to try to put my stick in its mouth, and then try to make it come out the other end. Fortunately I've never had to try this. I have also rehearsed a speech to the owner, explaining to him in a friendly and helpful tone that if his animal bites me it won't be a good thing, because we'll all three have to go to the hospital, and if the vaccinations aren't up to date they will remove the dog's head to check for rabies, and even if the shots are current there's still the hassle of the police report, and the lawsuit, and odds are that their insurance company will make them get rid of their pet.

I also make a point of thanking responsible dog owners who control their animals and/or who have trained them well enough that they just ignore me (I don't like being jumped and slobbered on either).

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: dogs on 08/16/2012 19:55:27 MDT Print View

Kind of a disturbing thread.
As the old saying goes, "There are no bad dogs, only bad owners."

You don't sound like a dog person, which is absolutely fine. No reason you should have to put up with someone who can't control their dog. In lieu of contemplating butchering them with a knife, I'd invest in the pepper spray. Likely more effective and more likely to result in a justifiable action when the dust settles. Be a shame to stab someone's family pet over a misunderstanding, when effective non-lethal alternatives exist.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: re: dogs on 08/16/2012 20:52:45 MDT Print View

"You don't sound like a dog person, which is absolutely fine."

Actually, I get along fine with most dogs, more than fine with a select few. To me, dogs are just like people in that they have unique personalities. As with people, some I like, some I don't, most I can take or leave. The problem arises when I am confronted by a dog, or person, bent on doing me serious harm or threatening same. The people part I've gotten pretty good at avoiding down thru the years, same with dogs most of the time. On trails in the backcountry it's a bit different due to the dog's territorial instincts, the subject of this thread.

"No reason you should have to put up with someone who can't control their dog."

My original point, exactly.

"In lieu of contemplating butchering them with a knife, I'd invest in the pepper spray."

Which would require me to carry extra dead weight to protect myself from something I should not have to deal with. I reject having to compensate for some jerk's irresponsibility. Fortunately, it is not an issue where I do my backpacking, at least not so far. The problems for me have arisen on Cascade day hikes close in to Seattle, and they have been few in number to date. Nonetheless, they are profoundly disturbing when they occur, and confront me with the type of situation I have made a lifestyle out of avoiding. Make no mistake, I could, and would, kill a dog or go down trying if it came to that, but who in the he!! wants to be in that situation? I, for one, feel that by far the preferable situation is for dog owners to realize that they are responsible for controlling their dog in the backcountry, including anticipating the dog's territorial response and heading it off before it escalates into a confrontation with potentially disastrous consequences for all concerned. My 2 cents.

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 21:19:16 MDT Print View

" I also wonder if telling the owner in a non-threatening way that if their dog is menacing someone it is within the person being menaced rights to kill the dog. "

No such thing as a non-threatening way to say this. It may still be effective with some, but many are going to hear it as "I hate dogs and I'm want to kill yours given the least excuse" and just get aggressive themselves.

"Please leash your dog"/"Leashes are required here"/"my partner is scared of dogs"/"I'm allergic"/"I'm hungover and can't handle the barking right now" are all more likely to get a sympathetic and prompt response.

n.b., dogs tend to use barking as a way of avoiding confrontation. It's the critters who silently stalk you that you really need to worry about.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/16/2012 22:36:58 MDT Print View

Any time I have suggested politely "Did you know that leashes are required on this trail?" (as they are on Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area trails), I've been stared at as though I have two heads. Most don't even bother to answer.

I suggested to the CGNSA trail supervisor that they could probably make back the salary of someone stationed at the Eagle Creek trailhead to ticket owners of unleashed dogs. He answered that all the fines go to a Federal victims' fund and that (as most of us already knew) they lack the budget for staff to do such things. I will no longer hike that trail with my dog because of so many unleashed dogs up there! Much of that trail is carved out of the cliff ledge and with a couple of dogs romping around me and mine winding me up in his leash, it can be quite dangerous.

What really makes me mad is that it's those irresponsible owners who will ultimately result in the banning of all dogs on USFS trails, which means that I will no longer be able to hike. I won't go without him (security reasons as well as not being able to afford kennel fees). No, mine is not at all aggressive but is quite a wimp, and he's certainly not a good watch dog (I joke that a burglar trying to come through my window would probably get his face licked), but of course strangers don't know that and are impressed by his size despite the perpetually wagging tail.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/17/2012 11:53:04 MDT Print View

"dogs tend to use barking as a way of avoiding confrontation. It's the critters who silently stalk you that you really need to worry about."

Seems like this has been the case in a lot of situations I have seen. Head low, ears back, and silently trying to get behind you is how a lot of dogs behave who mean business. Not always though. I just try to be careful and use common sense.

Ryan

David Adair
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/17/2012 16:24:17 MDT Print View

Pretty much normal. I enjoy meeting people with well mannered dogs in the back country. An experienced backpacking dog is relaxed and comfortable in the wilderness and usually a pleasant character to meet. Most dogs will have less experience and feel a little insecure on the trail which often results in their taking a defensive posture.

Realize that, as humans, we have a special ability to recognize the human form and human facial features rooted somewhere deep in our DNA that dogs don't have. For example, if I put on a funny hat it takes my dog 15 seconds or so to realize it is me and not some hungry Sasquatch. So keep in mind when a dog encounters you on the trail it may take him a while to figure out: what you are, if he knows you, and what your intentions might be. Barking and trying to look intimidating all the while of course.

When I encounter a hostile dog I stop and say something like "HEY! lets keep the noise down a little. Are there people with you?" This helps the dog identify you as a person (and a bossy dominant one at that). Most of the time the people are not far behind the dog and will hear this and call their dog back.

Edited by DavidAdair on 08/17/2012 18:44:00 MDT.

Brett Rasmussen
(ascientist) - MLife

Locale: Grants Pass, Oregon
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/17/2012 17:48:12 MDT Print View

I have been bit by a dog on two different occasions hiking as a kid. Both times with the owner present. One time the bite was proceeded by a "don't worry he's friendly." In addition to this the numerous times dogs have been aggressive to me has left me kind of bitter. Still I am by nature non-confrontational, so I don't say anything when I see an unleashed dog where leashes are required. I have read all about how to act around dogs and I carry pepper spray. I don't want to get in the way of someones love for there dog. I just wish more dog owners could see the perspective of someone who has had repeated bad experiences with them and is in the back-country to get away from stress, then has to wonder if they will be bit by some dog while still trying to maintain civility. I feel better prepared to deal with wild animals, because I don't have to worry about an owner when I feel threatened. How close and how much barking until I can kick, throw, or spray without the owner feeling like I acted unnecessarily aggressive. Because in there eyes the dog is just barking to be friendly.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/20/2012 08:38:27 MDT Print View

IMHO it is a bit of everything, owners, dogs, place and you. I have a dog. I have be bit by at least two dogs. I walk my dog off leash when ever possible, breaking the law. My dog has been attacked by a leased dog that got away from its owner, I ended it. I believe everyone knew I was HOT. I have pretty good control and understanding of my dog. I can not 100% guarantee its behavior, it is not me. Some dogs are frighted, others aggresive. I have developed an attitude with dogs, I will do what is needed when needed, I don't carry anything special. That doesn't work with bears though.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 08/20/2012 09:37:48 MDT Print View

David wrote: "When I encounter a hostile dog I stop and say something like "HEY! lets keep the noise down a little. Are there people with you?" This helps the dog identify you as a person (and a bossy dominant one at that). Most of the time the people are not far behind the dog and will hear this and call their dog back."

I've told dogs to shut up and that has worked, along with "go home." I remember looking at one dog in the pound with some comments on his cage tag about not following commands or something to that effect. He was barking and I told him to sit and he shut up and sat and made good eye contact. I guess he was just used to someone like me.

One time I was climbing over a good sized blowdown and got one leg up on the log to have a Golden Retriever pup pop up on the other side. He was happy and really friendly but having an animal come out of nowhere like that scared the day lights out of me. I laughed after, but couldn't move fast enough when it happened. His owners had let him run ahead and he stopped and waited when he got to the blowdown. I didn't know what it was at first--- almost time for fresh underwear :)

Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Trail dogs on 09/05/2012 23:15:06 MDT Print View

The people who say that it's not a dog problem, it's an owner problem, have hit the nail on the head. I work with animals, and have seen every kind of dog out there act aggressively... it's certainly not breed specific either, I have seen aggressive (yes, genuinely aggressive) puppies, and the bottom line is that every dog, no matter the size and breed, has teeth and they know how to use them. The common denominator is lack of pack leadership on the part of the owner.

As far as dogs on the trail... I always take mine with me, and they are almost always unleashed. That said, I do actually take a leash with me, which is more than a lot of people do! I don't flagrantly break leash laws, but I'm certainly not going to abide by one if I'm the only person at the trailhead. My dogs are trail trained... when we see or hear people approaching I call them and they walk beside me. When we get close enough to people, we pull off to the side of the trail and I make them sit until the people go past. I often get compliments about how well behaved they are, and people think it's cool that they carry their own backpacks. In my opinion, if every owner had proper control of their dogs there would be no need for leash laws in the first place.

The very worst offenders are the people who think that just because their dog is friendly, it should be allowed to roam unchecked. The point I always try to make to people is that yes, sure your dog is friendly, but how can you guarantee that the other dogs on the trail are? If your friendly unleashed dog goes running up to someone else's UNfriendly leashed dog and gets attacked, guess who is in the wrong? And yet the owners of the attacked dog are always the ones who are up in arms about it.

As for dealing with aggressive dogs on the trail... well, it's hard to tell someone who is terrified of dogs to act like they're not afraid. A dog is not going to be fooled by that. Pepper spray is certainly an option, especially since a lot of people carry bear spray anyway, but it doesn't always work and you have a good chance of spraying yourself with it as well. In my professional opinion, the best way to deal with an out and out aggressive dog is to stand your ground and confront it with a stick. Dog owners will always act defensively if you try and hurt their 'baby', so it's best to go for a defensive rather than an offensive strategy (ie. forget knifing it in the chest - not a good option from any angle). For an 'iffy' dog, get down on its level and talk to it... that will often turn a fear biter into a friend, but be prepared for the stick as a backup strategy.

@Bob - Those 'muzzles' you are seeing are not really muzzles... they are not meant to stop a dog from biting. They are the 'Gentle Leader' or 'Halti' style leash which is designed to be similar to a horse's halter. The idea is that by directing the dog's nose with the leash, you are able to control it a lot more easily, and they work very well on dogs that pull on their leash a lot. We use these at work in our training programme for unruly dogs... it's amazing how quickly a dog learns not to pull when you have control of its nose!

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
This thread is so disturbing on 09/06/2012 10:50:10 MDT Print View

Just saw this thread, and I want to directly address the OP's comment about considering a large knife to be able to easier kill dogs with....I want to make it clear I am NOT making excuses for people who don't control their dogs....there is no excuse for having a mean dog off leash or harassing people, but something you have to remember is that dog people are nutty about dogs. Irrationally, emotionally, nutty. Nutty and overprotective.

I am a dog person. I can admit this. I do control my dogs, but they still can and do bark when they see a stranger. It's part of what a GOOD dog does - they alert their owner to the presence of strangers. The difference between a good dog and a bad dog is that a good dog will mind when their owner calls them off or tells them to be quiet... 99% of the time. (and to be frank, when my dogs don't back off from a person, there usually is a reason - I trust their judgement)

Here's the rub, if a stranger appeared on the trail and whipped out a large knife and started waving it around because my dog barked, or just ran up to say hi, that stranger had better be prepared to use that knife on me, because if you wave a knife at my dog, you might as well be waving a knife at my kids, and that's the way dog people think... Also, if you pull a knife out, I don't know your intentions, and I will be forced to assume you intend to use it and take proactive measures to protect myself, my friends, my family, and my pets. Most rational people understand this and think the same way. All pulling a knife will do is escalate a situation from bad to peotentially life threatening.

if you start waving a knife at someone's dog, or, god forbid, STAB someone's dog, nothing good can come from it. Nothing good at all. Remember, a lot of people bring guns into the back country (regardless of legality). You kill someone's pet and they will NOT react rationally. Period, end of converstation.

Just whack the dog with your trekking pole instead, or use bear spray, throw a rock, etc, and save lives all around. I can't begin to say how disturbing it is to read one poster saying that he thinks a family pet's life is not worth the "inconvience" of carrying the weight of pepper (BEAR) spray. I mean, think about that for a couple long seconds. He is literally saying that he would prefera LETHAL method of defending himself over a NON LETHAL one because the non lethal one is HEAVIER or INCONVENIENT.

I started a thread a bit back where I said that some in the UL community are so obsessed with weight that they lose sight of the bigger picture and got somewhat shouted down for it, but here you have someone saying that taking a life when there are non lethal alternatives available is acceptable if it cuts weight.... Sheesh.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/06/2012 10:55:29 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: This thread is so disturbing on 09/06/2012 11:26:50 MDT Print View

I can see where you are coming from Dave - people love their dogs. We love ours too. I don't think anyone here would prefer to actually kill a dog on the trail. What they would rather do is not be put in the position to have to make that decision - that's the rub here. If hiking why should someone have to determine whether a dog is "just trying to say Hi" or ready to chew their leg off? There is no way for me (or you) to know exactly what that dog is going to do.

Do your part in not creating a bad situation by keeping the dog on a leash and as close to you as possible when around other creatures(humans included). This way, I'm not in harms way and neither is the dog. Is this a reasonable expectation?

I hike with my wife and kids all the time and no dog, human or otherwise is going to behave aggressively towards us. If that means killing a dog - sorry. If the dog owner has a problem with it we can discuss afterwards.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 09/06/2012 11:36:34 MDT.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
I agree ryan on 09/06/2012 11:44:06 MDT Print View

Ryan, I agree that we shouldn't have to deal with irresponsible people.

Your expectations are 100% reasonable.

Problem is that reality clashes with that notion. Reality is that there are UNreasonable idiots out there who don't train, leash, or control their dogs. We also shouldn't have to deal with litter, we shouldn't have to deal with people who are irresponsible with fire, who are rude, etc etc etc etc ad nauseum.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to deal with any of that crap, but we live in the real world and as such sometimes that means we are inconvienced by inconsiderate people. The fact that there are jerks out there is just part of life. That's no justification to do bad things ourselves though. Just because someone is an inconsiderate jerk and doesnt stop their dogs from barking does not excuse someone KILLING said dogs when they could just as easily protect themselves in a non lethal way.

Say someone is driving recklesslyt and cuts you off on the freeway, forcing you to slam on your brakes and nearly causing an accident... You shouldn't have to deal with that, but does that give you the right to speed up ahead of them and force them off the road, potentially killing them when you could just as easily call the police and report them as a reckless driver? Not the perfect analogy, but you get the point.. We all wish we lived in a perfect world where nobody inconvienced anybody else, but that's not reality.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/06/2012 11:48:26 MDT.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/06/2012 11:46:43 MDT Print View

Dead dogs don't bite, and you might have to deal with the owner, but you wont be facing his angry dog while doing so.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
You gotta be kidding cameron on 09/06/2012 11:56:10 MDT Print View

"Dead dogs don't bite, and you might have to deal with the owner, but you wont be facing his angry dog while doing so."

naw, you'll just be facing someone who is completly enraged to the point of losing rational thought by the fact you just killed what most people view as a member of their family... possibly armed with a gun, or knife...

You would really prefer that when you could just as easily spray a dog with bear spray?

I just don't get that kind of thinking.

I know it seems like I'm beating a dead horse, but I just think people need to take a long hard look at what they are saying and the things they are advocating. Some of these thought trains peope are riding are just sickening.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/06/2012 12:01:37 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: I agree ryan on 09/06/2012 11:57:57 MDT Print View

True, we are inconvenienced by inconsiderate people sometimes and I would never kill another human being over an inconvenience. However, to me, a dog in my personal space(or my families) and acting in an aggressive manner is no longer an inconvenience. It is a threat to our safety. In those cases, I have no issue with taking the dog's life. Because of the actions of the dog and the irresponsible owner, now we're all "inconvenienced".

The difference in your stance and mine is the value placed on the life of the dog. We will not find a common ground on that point and that's OK.

P.S. - You're assuming the nutty, extremely emotional, illogical dog owner will be totally fine if I kick, punch, or spray their dog. In most cases they will not appreciate this either.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 09/06/2012 12:02:43 MDT.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
There's different levels on 09/06/2012 12:21:06 MDT Print View

Again ryan, i mostly agree with you,

but there are different levels - I'd be pi%%ed if you kicked or pepper sprayed my dog, but if you pulled a knife on, or even killed, my dog, you would be escalating things to a whole different level. There's a major difference between me being upset you pepper sprayed my dog, and me losing my ability to think rationally after watching a pet I consider to be a family member get murdered (which is how us animal nuts would think).

I think the difference is not that people place different values on the dog's life, it is that when someone chooses to escalate a situation to a lethal level when there are NONlethal options available.

I just can't get behind that kind of thinking. As long as there are nonlethal options, there is NEVER any excuse to skip them and jump to lethal options. It's sick.

Don't you agree that's reasonable? Choose NONlethal first?

Personally, I always assume worst case scenario: Say a dog looks like it's going to attack, I assume it will, and shout at it, whack it with a stick, throw a rock, bear spray it, etc. There are DOZENS of ways to defend yourself without just jumping to "pull out a knife and kill it" and making the situation worse.

Consider both scenarios, and tell me which you would prefer to create. Please don't give me the "the dog owner created the situation" line... that's BS - once you escalate, you are creating a whole new scenario..

It's not about how much value you place on the life of the dog, it's about how much value you place on life in general.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/06/2012 12:31:55 MDT.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Trail dogs on 09/06/2012 13:58:27 MDT Print View

The thing is dogs and pets in general used to be live on the farm and they preformed a job, whether its was herding, hunting, or security. These days dogs and pets have been re-marketed as family companions whose function is to replace children or otherwise give emotional support to humans. This means that instead of being in its own fenced in large farm area dogs are asked to perform no function except shut up and lay down. people are now trying to cram dogs into small apartments and little yards. they act like they are little people and expect others to treat them with the same respect and benefits of the doubt as humans.I owned dogs and would never dream of exposing people to them unleashed nor would I force my dog to hike simply because I enjoy it ( he can't speak up for himself and say no thanks) nor would I expose my dog to a public that doesn't know him and he doesn't know in turn.
I have no sympathy for dog owners who bring their pets unleashed onto public lands. What ever happens to the dog or other people is 100% on the head of the owner. If someone is in ones judgment irrationally scared and overreacts and harms or maims your unleash pet its 100% the fault of the owner for putting their pet in that situation. If you want to assault the person after they defend themselves from your dog go ahead. But remember when your burying the body of the passerby how easily that situation could have been avoided if you followed some simple courtesy. the public has no responsibility to take dog whisperer classes to avoid being assaulted by your dog.
I cared about my dog too much to be so selfish.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
This is irresponsible on 09/06/2012 14:39:40 MDT Print View

"I always take mine with me, and they are almost always unleashed...My dogs are trail trained... when we see or hear people approaching I call them and they walk beside me."

What do you do if I surprise you or your dogs? You don't see me until I am a few feet away? I would suspect that if I surprised your dogs, no matter how well trained, they would feel threatened. And now you do not have them under your control...

The most common words from a dog owner when their dog is off their leash and the dog attacks/bothers/etc. someone else is "he/she has never done that before...". If the dog is not on a leash they are NOT under your control, period. EVERY dog has something that will cause it to not obey their owner. The owner may not know what that something is yet.

When in public places (including the back country) keep your dogs on a leash. I don't want to be in a position of having to hurt them to defend myself. And I am not a dog owner and therefore not necessarily good at knowing when I actually need to. If I feel threatened I will defend myself.

Keep them on a leash for everyones, the dogs included, safety.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Everyone sees it differently on 09/06/2012 14:52:59 MDT Print View

"it is that when someone chooses to escalate a situation to a lethal level when there are Nonlethal options available."

The problem with this is that the person feeling threatened by an unleashed dog may not agree that there are Nonlethal options available.

"You" may not have the same opinion on what is threating. I remember being in a camp ground with my 2 year old daughter. A friendly and very large dog came running (off a leash of course) up to us. That dog was almost injured by me. It apparently understood my aggressive stance (I stepped in front of my daughter) and stopped. I was afraid that the dog would jump on my daughter and injure her. Had it simply gotten close enough for me to kick it I would have. I would have aimed for either the chest or head and I would have kicked as hard as I possibly could. It's quite possible the owner would not have understood. The dog wouldn't hurt anyone, he was just being friendly. But I felt my daughters safety was being threatened and would do whatever "I" deemed necessary to protect her. And I would error on the side of insuring her protection...

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
You expect them to know this?!? on 09/06/2012 14:57:31 MDT Print View

"Here's the rub, if a stranger appeared on the trail and whipped out a large knife and started waving it around because my dog barked, or just ran up to say hi"

You expect the other person to know that your dog only wants to say hi? That is a big problem. You cannot expect others to know the intentions of your dog. If they don't like dogs they likely see every dog as a threat. Even if that is not the case, other conditions may cause them to see a threat where you do not. See my real life story above. I would have used whatever I had handy at the time.

Ron D
(dillonr) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: There's different levels on 09/06/2012 15:23:19 MDT Print View

Dave - The trails where I live are full of unleashed and poorly controlled dogs, I have had my leashed dog attacked twice, once by a large single dog and once by a group of three dogs. Both times the dog owner was indifferent because their dogs were family and they were not going to find fault with their pet. If you cannot keep your dogs under complete voice command and in sight at all times or if it is aggressive then you need to leash them on trails, anything else is irresponsible on your part and invites injury to your dogs, other animals and fellow hikers.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Impossible on 09/06/2012 15:30:31 MDT Print View

" If you cannot keep your dogs under complete voice command and in sight at all times..."

This is impossible. You cannot keep ANY dog under complete voice control.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
re: you expect them to know this? on 09/06/2012 16:04:35 MDT Print View

"You expect the other person to know that your dog only wants to say hi? That is a big problem. You cannot expect others to know the intentions of your dog. If they don't like dogs they likely see every dog as a threat. Even if that is not the case, other conditions may cause them to see a threat where you do not. See my real life story above. I would have used whatever I had handy at the time?

I don't expect you to know the intentions of a dog. All I expect is for you or anyone else to respond REASONABLY when approached by an unknown dog. Just like in your real life example - your FIRST reaction was to step between the dog and your child, a REASONABLE reaction. Had the dog become aggressive you said your second action would have been to kick the dog, again, a REASONABLE reaction.... What you didn't do was skip straight to "I'm gonna pull out a knife and try to kill that thing" as others have written that they would.

Is it really too much for dog owners to ask others to react reasonably and not lose themselves to fear just because there is a gdog out on the trail?

Let's look at it from the perspective of a dog owner: Say my dog runs up to your kid to say "hi". You step between your child and the dog peels off. No harm. Say it comes in and you kick at it... also no harm.

Now let's look at it if instead, you just pulled out a knife and start waving it around... Or worse yet, as my dog comes up to be petted, you stab her... That's like pulling out a knife and stabbing a stranger hiking towards you because you don't know if they intend you harm or not.

Last I checked, more people get killed by bad humans every year than by dogs, so why don't you just carry a knife and try and stab every person whol looks a bit dodgey you pass on the trail?

I don't expect people to know a dogs intentions, what I do expect is for them to, given the choice between using a nonlethal way of defending themselves and a lethal one, choose the nonlethal as a FIRST option.

Is that really so very unreasonable?

I mean, be 100% honest: do ANY of you think it's unreasonable to expect people to choose a NONlethal option BEFORE resorting to a lethal one? That's the true quesetion here.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/06/2012 16:11:40 MDT.

David K
(aviddk) - F

Locale: SW Oregon
Re: Impossible on 09/06/2012 16:30:40 MDT Print View

"This is impossible. You cannot keep ANY dog under complete voice control."

You obviously have never been to a sheep dog trials. You would be totally amazed at what Border Collies can do being directed with only hand signals. You truly won't believe your eyes.

Having been both a dog and cat owner and still a lover of both, I really enjoy not having the expense or the worry of owning one. I see that there is yet another rescue of a dog underway in the Columbia River Gorge. Sometimes they have to rescue both the dog and the hiker. I agree that eventually on the most heavily impacted trails dogs will be banned.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Different abilities on 09/06/2012 16:35:08 MDT Print View

The problem is whether the "victim" believes they have a non-lethal method at their disposal. Change my scenario to me carrying my hatchet. The dog is a Bull Mastiff. It barks at least once just before it gets to me. It decides to jump up on me to play. I can tell you that I would have hit the dog as hard as I could with the hatchet.

Someone else may feel just as threatened by a much smaller dog. I felt confident in my ability to protect my daughter from the dog. Not everyone will. The person should not be put in the position in the first place. The dog should not be endangered either. That is irresponsible dog ownership and ALL consequences are the fault of the owner.

BTW, in my case the dog only veered away about two or three "steps" from me. I should't have been placed in that situation. The owner is the one that deserved a kick to the head! ;^)

And yes, one should use a non-lethal method to stop an attack if they believe it will work and have the opportunity. However, it is up to the "victim" to make that determination.

Edited by Hitech on 09/06/2012 16:37:20 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: There's different levels on 09/06/2012 16:39:20 MDT Print View

"Don't you agree that's reasonable? Choose NONlethal first?"

It's as reasonable as me asking you to please keep your dog on a leash, but as you said, we live in the real world. If dog owners loved their dogs as much as they say, why not keep them out of potentially dangerous situations? Knowing that some people would kick, pepper spray or try to harm your dog on the trail.

Ultimately, I place my life and my family's lives above ANY animals. I'm not going to take the chance on trying to kick it, find a rock, etc. Most dogs are much quicker than I am. I honestly don't care if the dog owner loses the ability to think rationally.



Ryan

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
You still cannot be in "complete" control on 09/06/2012 16:41:22 MDT Print View

"You obviously have never been to a sheep dog trials. You would be totally amazed at what Border Collies can do being directed with only hand signals. You truly won't believe your eyes."

I have not, but I stand by my statement. The more/better trained the dog the more under control they will be. However, there is something that will cause them to ignore commands from their owner. There may be very few things, but there will always be something.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Dogs on leash on 09/06/2012 17:00:29 MDT Print View

"As far as dogs on the trail... I always take mine with me, and they are almost always unleashed. That said...SNIP....My dogs are trail trained... when we see or hear people approaching I call them and they walk beside me"

Not doubting you per se, but EVERY dog owner says that as justification about why they can ignore leash laws.

My impression of this type of sentiment is:

"These laws don't apply to me because my dog is well trained".

Besides being a sentiment I don't agree with, it is also not truly the case I find in many instances.

Perhaps I am a bit of a meanie, but dog owners choose to take their dogs where leashes are required and should not think the regulation does not apply to them. They are just making it more difficult for the dog owners who obey the regs. Owners who flaunt leash laws make it easy for Open Space mangers to decided to ban dogs all together in an area. Plus, the dog owners have a choice: They can choose to go where leashes aren't required.

As for the fabled border collie who is a combo of Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Mr Peabody, I doubt the average golden lab who is named "Whitney" with a bandanna around his neck and carted around in a Subaru wagon with CO-EXIST and/or INSERT LOCAL FOOD CO-OP HERE bumper stickers have that same level of training, discipline and experience as our legendary border collie (TM). ;-)

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/06/2012 17:46:04 MDT Print View

Back in my cycling days, about 25 years ago now, I read the wonderful Richard's Bicycle Book by Richard Ballantine. The best book ever written on the subject.

The section on dealing with dogs has always stuck in my memory. He advocates a take no prisoners approach. Suumarised here http://www.ditdotdat.org/bigcity/2007/01/how-do-you-fend-off-a-dangerous-dog/

Please note I am not endorsing this approach and have had dogs all my life. Currently one rather lazy retired Greyhound who is never off the leash.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Dogs on leash on 09/06/2012 18:20:11 MDT Print View

"As for the fabled border collie who is a combo of Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Mr Peabody, I doubt the average golden lab who is named "Whitney" with a bandanna around his neck and carted around in a Subaru wagon with CO-EXIST and/or INSERT LOCAL FOOD CO-OP HERE bumper stickers have that same level of training, discipline and experience as our legendary border collie (TM). ;-)"

Mags-

I rarely open-mouth laugh at posts on BPL, but this one got me. Bravo my friend.

Ryan

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
You're making my point for me on 09/06/2012 19:12:41 MDT Print View

"Ultimately, I place my life and my family's lives above ANY animals. I'm not going to take the chance on trying to kick it, find a rock, etc. Most dogs are much quicker than I am. I honestly don't care if the dog owner loses the ability to think rationally."

Dog people look at their dogs as family members. You write that you are OK skipping straight to lethal methods even when you don't know the intentions of a dog to do you harm or not.

When you choose to pull out a knife, you are creating a situation that is about a million times worse. See, with a dog, you don't know if it is going to attack or not, but when you pull a knife, you are saying thet you INTEND to KILL, not just do harm.

Dogs bark for a lot of reasons: to say hi, to alert others, to warn you to stay, to threaten, to communicate. People only pull knives with the intent to kill.

Barking is a maybe, pulling a knife is a clear statement of "I intend to kill (what is to a dog person)a member of your family". By your own rationale, the dog owner would be perfectly justified in putting a couple rounds in you to protect himself and his family. You, not the dog owner, are taking the situation from "this dog MAY want to cause harm" to "this person INTENDS to not just cause harm, but KILL", all when you could easily control the situation without escalating it via many non lethal options.

It's senseless and it's stupid, and can only lead bad places.

Like I said, it's not about the amount of value you place on a dogs life vs a humans, it's about the amount of value you place on life, period. There is no excuse for chosing lethal methods when there are non lethal options.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/06/2012 19:30:42 MDT Print View

Then train your dog to tuck tail and find you when someone greats it by pulling a knife, a trekking pole, a rock, a loud voice ...

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Mine are off leash and I dare you to object on 09/06/2012 19:53:55 MDT Print View

Frankly, our three dogs are too large and powerful to hike with leashed, because they pull and surge too much. It's not safe for us. We could get knocked over in an instant.

The two Presa Canarios are 160lb each and the Tosa (our baby) is over 145 by now. I reckon Fangora (the puppy) will wind up larger than the two boys, but you never know. Either way, that's a lot to handle when they go all turbo on us! We got the three of them from a shelter in Crescent City, and we're not sure about their training but they sure do have mean stares.

Anyway, if you see Cerberus, Sanguinus or Fangora on trail, please do pull out your knife or hatchet. We're ultralighters, and it's a real PITA to carry as much meat as these three need. Go ahead, scream. It won't last long.

Now, Whitney, the yellow lab? Sounds like a nice dog.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: You're making my point for me on 09/06/2012 19:57:29 MDT Print View

We're beating a dead horse here Dave. We're just going to have to disagree. I value human life more than any dog's life. You are definitely a dog NUT.

p.s. - I never said I would pull a knife. I usually choke the life out of my numerous dog victims with my murderous hands. (I'm poking at you here - don't have a panic attack)

Ryan

David K
(aviddk) - F

Locale: SW Oregon
real dogs on 09/06/2012 20:01:41 MDT Print View

Believe me, I have no dog in this fight. LIke Ryan, I live in a hyper-hipster western town full of uber-whatevers all that have two huge mis-behaved dogs that eat organic, natural and local food. (the owners and their pets) Nevertheless and with apologies for thread bifurcation here is a you tube video of how well behaved a dog can be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri2Mdhkx18I

Dogs like this sell for 10s of thousands of dollars and would take years to train. Whitney, the local beast, is not worth anything and has had virtually no formal training whatsoever. Probably can't even walk on a leash.


Not wishing to be bitten as collateral damage I will sign off this thread.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
tasty on 09/06/2012 20:03:48 MDT Print View

doggies taste so good with black bean sauce ... yuuum ...

do aggressive dogs taste better?

dont view a dog coming up to you as a threat ... view it as an opportunity to fill yr stomach ;)

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Real dogs on 09/06/2012 20:27:30 MDT Print View

Sure, BC's are dynamite at herding (and most everything else for that matter). But they are trained specifically for that. That does not mean that there isn't something that will cause them to ignore commands. If you want a dog to ignore a stimulus, you have to train to THAT stimulus. If you don't want your dog to chase a bear, and you don't happen to have a bear handy, good luck on that training. You might find out at an inopportune time that Fido won't listen.

Or you could just keep him on a leash.

A dog trainer I worked with had a student with a GSD that put an OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion) title on his dog. That's no small feat. He worked relentlessly with the dog and the dog was flawless. Then he moved to the mountains and some deer went through his yard and the dog took off. The guy wasn't worried and called his dog. The dog kept going and he didn't see him again until the next day. He started training around deer and got to where his dog was reliable on recall around deer. But a deer is not a porcupine or a bear and it's a lot tougher to find them to train with.

Or you could just keep him on a leash.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Mine are off leash and I dare you to object on 09/06/2012 20:37:19 MDT Print View

"Frankly, our three dogs are too large and powerful to hike with leashed, because they pull and surge too much. It's not safe for us. We could get knocked over in an instant.
"
Train em. If it's not safe for you to be walking your dogs on a leash, why is it safe for them to be off leash around others? I know what you are saying as I've had a big dog before but I wouldn't have wanted him running over some small child on the trail. 150 lb dog vs 50 lb child? No question who loses that collision. My 80 lb, world's friendliest dog, Golden could also run one over if I let him run free. But I don't.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: Mine are off leash and I dare you to object on 09/06/2012 21:04:13 MDT Print View

Erik, if your dogs are that bad, they should be left at home.
Duane

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/06/2012 21:45:10 MDT Print View

Owners, with dogs too big to handle, and too untrained to have on a leash, how cute.


*they* are THE problem.

Spend some money, train your dog.

14M ammonia will stop almost anything, destroying at least one of the five primary senses in the process. Appropriate for dogs and owners, irresponsible to use against bears and wolves.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
I doubt it. on 09/06/2012 21:59:27 MDT Print View

Look up the dogs I referenced. I will give $100 cash to anyone with the balls to spray ammonia, pepper spray or even a lit flamethrower at any of the three described dogs. Internet Heros may apply.

Heck, I'll even send flowers to the funeral. Because I just care that much.

Fellas, way more heat than light in the latter stages of this thread. If you don't quit, I'm sending Cerberus to eat your house.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
RE: I doubt it on 09/07/2012 09:09:57 MDT Print View

"Look up the dogs I referenced. I will give $100 cash to anyone with the balls to spray ammonia, pepper spray or even a lit flamethrower at any of the three described dogs. Internet Heros may apply."

Yeah, I know what they are. I'm one of the dog nuts. Keep that cash in your pocket while hiking. If you think people are going to roll over and play dead if your dogs act aggressively due to the intimidation from their size and looks, you haven't thought it through. In fact, your dogs are probably MORE likely to get sprayed because of that. That and your "I dare you" attitude. Walking with 3 large dogs (a pack in this case) that you can't control and don't care? A lawsuit waiting to happen. Or worse. Much worse.

Edited by rlnunix on 09/07/2012 11:08:59 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
realize on 09/07/2012 10:08:17 MDT Print View

people who are threatening with their dogs online do realize that if something were to happen, lawyers would have a field day with some of these posts ... showing all the aggressive intent and all

if i had a vicious dog, i wouldnt go threatening online about it ...

of course id turn it into a tasty meal ;)

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I doubt it. on 09/07/2012 11:27:39 MDT Print View

Erik, I know nothing of the dogs you say you have. If I ran into something of that stripe on the trail, I'd be inclined like previous posters and take appropriate action, up to and including taking a big as_ rock or whatever and start with a mouth or head shot, not to wound, but to kill or maime (sp) at the least. I've had dogs (Dobies) in the past and would very embarrassed at the least if I acted as you say you do or would. Other dogs I would tolerate, just not very aggressive dogs.
Duane

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/07/2012 11:33:20 MDT Print View

As a dog owner, the turn of this thread is distressing and I've stayed out of it because the argument over lethal vs. non-lethal force on dogs seems to have gone out of the common sense realm and into the crazy realm. But Erik and his comment about his big dogs is bothersome to me. You don't get a pass on controlling your dogs, following leash laws, and being polite to other hikers just because your dogs are large. If you can't follow the law and do your job as a dog owner, then you have no business taking them out on trails with you. You're exactly the type of dog owner (with attitude, no less) that causes problems that result in closures of trails to dogs entirely. I absolutely expect other dog owners to have complete control over their dogs and to have them leashed if the law requires it and to keep their dogs away from myself and my own dog. If your dogs pull and that makes it dangerous to take them on a leash, then you owe it to them and to everyone else to train them properly to not pull or to leave them home since you can't control them. With the size of your dogs and your unwillingness to keep them under your physical control, you are creating the very circumstances that may result in someone using lethal force on one of your dogs and what's a shame is that will be entirely your fault and not the fault of the dog since clearly you can't be bothered to train them properly.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
laws on 09/07/2012 11:33:36 MDT Print View

I think we know why there are leash and control laws...

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Train your dog. on 09/07/2012 11:50:25 MDT Print View

Your comments are showing you as a bad owner, Erik. You happily admit that you can't control your dogs, they pull you along, and you think it is something to be proud of?
I had a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and it would walk by my side on a leash without pulling. Simple training.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
dog inducesd hysteria on 09/07/2012 12:29:08 MDT Print View

I wonder if any of the people advocating shanking fluffy the golden retriever because she *gasp* barked at you have ever heard the expression that fear is an acronym for False Events Appear Real?

In the hopes of introducing a little sanity, I did a little research last night.

What it all boils down to is that the next human you pass on the trail is between 500 and a 1000 times more likely to kill you than a dog.

I also was unable to find a single instance of a fatal dog attack in the backcountry at any time in the past 20 years, but also found numerous instances of hikers being murdered by humans.

Many have made the arguement that you, as non dog people, don't have any way of knowing the dogs intent, and that justifies pulling out a deadly weapon and trying to kill the animal.

Of course, you also have no way of knowing the intent of humans you meet on the trail eithier. In fact, dogs are much better at communicationg intent - they bark, growl, bare their teeth, etc. hwereas a human that intends you harm will often engage in deciet (hey kids, want the candy?) to get you to drop your guard.

So, by your own logic, when approached by an animal that is 500 times more likely to KILL you than a dog, an animal with unknown intentions, and animal that is capable of far, far more cunnning and dangerous actions, you should be pulling out your knife and trying to stab that animal too in order "to protect yourself". Yet you don't. Why?

Simple: Hysteria, Fear, and Ignorance.

You are overestimnating and overreacting to a minor threat to your well being and ignoring a much more real and likely threat. The TRUTH, once you get beyond your INGORANCE and overblown FEAR, is that the odds of you getting seriously injured by a dog pale in comparison to the dangers you face in a daily basis just driving down to work.

Even worse, you are advocating actions that will only create more, and much bigger problems.

All I can say is that if you really are concerned about your saftey, please don't go around trying to shank sparky because he is running over to say hi, nothing good can come of it.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Escalation on 09/07/2012 12:53:16 MDT Print View

A friend who is a state park ranger said the only time she was physically attacked was by an owner who had an off leash dog and wouldn't leash it. Not attacked by drug dealers and growers, drunk drivers, poachers and others criminals she had confronted and arrested.

Apparently tensions run high on both sides in regards to dogs. It would seem good sense
to be moderate in approach in dealing with dog activity. In the end what is needed is
owner education and not everyone learns by "being taught a lesson".

I do admit throwing rocks at a dog that was snarling and snapping at my toddler. And getting into chest bumping and shouting with the angry owner.

Personally if my dog were a real threat to someone, I would like it to be pepper sprayed.

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
the law etc on 09/07/2012 13:01:19 MDT Print View

backpacker's law (pdf)

The dog question is interesting, Dave, while I admire your fondness for dogs, I believe you just made up your claims out of thin air, the 1000 to one or whatever, ie, they are not linked to reality. The question properly put would be: what is the actual incidence of backcountry dog bites. Not how many dogs kill people vs how many people kill people. I looked briefly for such stats and found none. When learning this, you'd be able to cite actual sources for the data. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the incidence of dog bites are FAR higher than the incidents resulting in murder by another human. I personally don't fear getting killed by a dog, but if a dog attacked (attacked, note, not barked), I'd certainly consider that the end of the discussion on the dog's rights, and an excellent reason for carrying a good knife. But I've never been attacked by a dog, nor do I expect to be. The vast majority of dogs I see backpacking are excellent creatures, outstanding. I'm going to guess the actual problem is not generally real backpacking, but those spots that are more hike in campsites where non-backpackers tend to go.

Matthew Edwards has the right idea, though sadly what he's talking about requires becoming a person like him, but that's what I'd strive for too. I came across a woman with her dog hiking and, like Matthew, started communicating directly to the dog, which was one of the most intelligent dogs I've ever seen in my urban environment. Urban dogs strike me as being much worse in general than rural dogs, they don't get the same experiences. She was amazed that the dog didn't bark at me, and actually after a few moments, let me pet it. Same idea as what Matthew is talking about.

Now for people who insist on backpacking with a dog that is unable to grasp the situation and act accordingly, they really need to stop doing that, if your dog is stupid and can't handle complex situations without freaking out, then stop bringing it with you. And dogs, like people, are stupid or smart, and have good or bad judgement. That stuff about it being the owners only is nonsense as far as I'm concerned, a smart dog is smart, a dumb one is dumb, that's not on the owner. Sometimes dog nuttery goes too far, I love smart dogs, some of the best creatures out there. Dumb dogs, not so much.

The pdf above, which seems to have been assembled primarily for AT backpackers seems to be general enough to give a proper idea.

The dog section is pretty clear, the owner is liable for the actions of the dog. The assaultee is permitted to defend themselves against dog attack using the amount of force required to do so. Since if a dog is lunging at you and about to bite, that is not the best moment to take careful consideration of the feelings of the dog owner, who has already failed in their legal responsibility as a dog owner.

I want to believe the guy upthread with three large dogs he is unable to restrain or control is joking, if not, that is why dogs are banned from areas, so congratulations on being the exact source of the problem.

I also have no dog in this, though I have always wanted to go backpacking with a dog, so I appreciate the emotion on it. However, I also have a friend who has 2 pit bulls, incredibly well trained, but I've seen their training fail when they got confused. Not a good feeling to see a dog get confused, and dogs aren't nearly as smart as we want to think, instincts are closer to the surface than with humans.

Edited by hhope on 09/07/2012 13:16:01 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Well said, Dena on 09/07/2012 13:30:48 MDT Print View

Certain threads seem to predictably go screwy: gun vs bear; wilderness permits versus commando camping; dog vs human. Feelings run high, and beliefs differ and facts don't matter much.

I teach my gradeschoolers to notice how people argue over beliefs (none us can ignore weighing in on abortion, marriage equality, or climate change) while if someone gets their facts wrong, mostly we can ignore it* (if someone claims the sky is purple or they saw a unicorn yesterday, we change the topic but quick).

*but I'll admit to going off on someone claiming iron is a insulator and fat isn't when posting after having two beers.

Back to gradeschoolers: Before speaking, Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If not, don't say it.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: dog inducesd hysteria on 09/07/2012 13:36:20 MDT Print View

Animals are not four legged humans no matter how much animal nuts try to convince people. Animals are unpredictable and they don't know the civil mores or the law. They can not be reasoned with. One has no way of communicating anything to a dog other than submission or dominance and threats. Comparing them to people is a false equivalent , as false as they come, if not a total strawman.
the real threat from dogs is not so much being killed by them but being bitten and seriously mauled. BUT and this is a BIG BUT children can be killed and if they get mauled its a serious,serious injury.
Most people are not dumb, the over whelming number of unleashed dogs I run into on the trail are not simply saying "hi" they bare their teeth, snap and growl. No animal in the animal kingdom including man is confused about the message the dog is sending them.
I had dogs and know how to act to stop the dog from actually attacking ( but its never a certainty, again animals can be unpredictable ). But why in the hell should I even have been put in that situation? Even if the threat was a bluff from yet another "good" dog its rude beyond all measure to subject me to that. Want to compare that to a person now? What if I stopped you on the trail and with feet apart chest out and held my trekking poles ready to hit you over the head yelling "turn around or else!" and then demanded that you talk me down and prove you are not a threat to me or my hiking partners. Thats the equivalent of what many dogs owners do to people.
The most annoying thing of all is the same pattern plays out with unleashed dogs over and over again.
It goes like this:
-hiker walking silently enjoying nature,
-dos runs out ahead of you out of the bushes.
-dog usually surprised starts growling and snapping and barking furiously.
-Now I have to stop what I was doing and see if the dog will calm down or if I have to start being aggressive and dominate to scare it away.
-the owners 5 minutes or much more behind finally gets close
-the dog hearing its owner usually relaxes and its tail starts waving it demeanor changes now that if feels safer.
-the dog owner sees me and their now happy friendly tail waving dog assuming I must have been happy to meet their perfect dog on such a fine day.
-then they see that Im not pleased at all and maybe ill say something or just shake my head in disgust.
-the dog owner oblivious to what happened won't believe it and writes me off as another "dog hater".
-dog owner never changes their ways.
This is what happens 99% of the time I come upon a dog in the NH Whites.
Was I in any real serious danger? Probably not. But why, why, why, is this acceptable ? I would be embarrassed and ashamed if I did that to other people with my dog. And if a hiker is with their children the stakes go WAY high for those people. I can't even be mad at a father who felt like kicking and injuring my dog if my dog ran after their children growing and snapping. Hikers with unleashed dogs are animal abusers at worse neglectful and inconsiderate at best.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 09/07/2012 13:51:17 MDT.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Re: dog induced hysteria on 09/07/2012 16:22:24 MDT Print View

Excellent title added to the thread replies.

Just for the hysterics with big rocks, knives and (presumably titanium) machine guns, I just mail-ordered three more Presa Canarios from the Supermax in Crescent City. Of course, I cannot reasonably be expected to control such animals, but I will train them to attack the scent of Cuben fiber...and fear. It's your responsibility not to annoy my pets as long as we're still in America and my tax dollars paid for this park!

After releasing the now-six imaginary dogs on the PCT this next summer, I will increase the bounty to $1000.00 for each of you gnarly-outdoorsmen who demonstrate the fortitude to do what you claim you will when Cerberus, Sanguinus, Fangora and the three meaner ones (Newt, Osama and Periwinkle) approach. By the way, neither Tosa nor Dogos Canarios bark, so be sure to get down their level to make friends.

I also have titanium sporks and gold fillings for sale. We call these "deadfall".

Oh, and since my six dogs don't stay near when I leave them off-leash, I tend to encounter other people's dogs on trail. My practice is always to talk to the dog. I do this with horses, mules and llamas, too. Good practice in my experience.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Dogs on 09/07/2012 16:41:01 MDT Print View

The simplest thing for you, and safest thing for your dog and other hikers, is to either keep them on leash, or put a muzzle on them. A muzzle not only stops them from biting anyone or anything, but also stops them from eating stuff that's not good for them. Example: cooked chicken bones, chocolate, etc...A muzzle also makes them less threatening to other people. It's a win-win-win solution.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
re Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/07/2012 17:28:10 MDT Print View

The muzzle would be good for an aggressive dog, but a leash keeps dogs from jumping on people. And many dogs are quite friendly and don't bite, but don't think twice about jumping up on a stranger. What they're trying to do is get up to your face to "meet" you, but many people see it as an act of aggression, and it's simply annoying. My dog, unfortunately, is a jumper and I haven't yet been able to enlist someone in a "Marley and Me" moment to make him stop. I keep him leashed any time there are other people around, whether the law requires I do so or not. I don't want him scaring anyone, or accidentally scratching them.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
What Erik's dogs really look like on 09/07/2012 18:45:29 MDT Print View

Eight dog names.

Devilish.

Hmmm....

Ah ha!

Devil Dogs




You kidder you...

Derek Westcott
(drwestco) - F
Some random points on 09/07/2012 19:07:14 MDT Print View

On both sides of the argument:

1. To the original point, I'd hope that it's just bad luck and not normal for most people to encounter unruly dogs. Just one data point, but I can't recollect that I've ever run into a trail dog that I've felt threatened by, and am having trouble thinking of any that I'd even classify as out of control. May just be good luck on my part, but I'd like to think that bad dogs are the exception here.

2. You'd have to be pretty unobservant to be unable to distinguish a friendly dog from an aggressive one. Dogs aren't shy about showing their true feelings - they're pretty simple, open creatures.

3. To those that feel threatened by ANY dog that approaches them, it must suck feel that way, but I have a hard time understanding your viewpoint. I've met some people that freak out at every little rustling sound in the bushes, thinking that a bear attack must be imminent. Similar to the vehemently anti-dog folks, the best I can do is shake my head and feel a bit sorry for you.

4. Leashes aren't panacea. It just takes a trip to the dog park to see untrained dogs lunging and yanking their owners around to know this. Often, I'd rather a friendly but excitable dog be free to jump a bit, instead of having an additional tether for me to trip over.

It all comes down to responsible owners and trained dogs. Being militant about pointing out leash laws doesn't help in any way - it just gives the anti-dog person something to feel smug about.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Some random points on 09/07/2012 19:42:10 MDT Print View

Pointing out leash laws is not "militant" nor is asking people to simply follow the rules designed to protect both people and dogs "smug" nor I have ever meet an actual anti-dog person even if they are nervous around them.

The problem here is that many dog owners just want to do what they want. So they dismiss people who have regular bad and rude encounters with irresponsible dog owners by "imaging" that they are overreacting to cute little friendly dogs that just want to play. Or they label them "anti-dog" as a way to dismiss their concerns.
I have pointed out that most encounters I had with badly trained dogs are not witnessed by the owner and they probably hike for years ignorant that their dog is one of the misbehaved dogs.

the amount of dog encounters can depend on where you hike. In the northeast many people from the city and burbs like to go to the mountains with their pets on the weekends and they feel entitled to let the dog roam free as many have an impression that the woods is a lawless no-mans-land where they are free to do as they please.
The more people dismiss bad experiences the more likely signatures will pile up quickly when someone gets around to filing a petition to ban dogs altogether.
I had dogs and many pets growing up. A relative trained police dogs. Im not jumpy around dogs or any animal. I know when a dog is playfully yapping and when they are threateningly bearing teeth snapping, and barking warnings. I do see unleashed friendly dogs who just ignore me when they wander by, some want to play so greet and meet sniffing my hand. I have poured water in my palm to let them have a drink when they are too far from any water. But for everyone of those their are 3-4 dogs who defiantly don't belong out in public with out a short leash. Plus those friendly dogs can turn on you for any reason and they may be friendly to me but maybe there is a child hunched over to look at a bug around the corner and the dog is surprised by them, panics and bites. I would like to see more dog owners ticketed for animal neglect and endangerment. When they get a few of those on their record they will have their pets taken away and lose the right to own any more. Maybe thats what needs to happen to protect these poor dogs and the public.

Derek Westcott
(drwestco) - F
Re: Some random points on 09/07/2012 20:31:37 MDT Print View

You need look no further than this thread to find actual anti-dog people. Anyone advocating violence against an animal simply because it approaches off-leash is anti-dog.

Your point about a dog's unpredictable behavior is equally applicable to leashed animals. Kiddo reaches down to pet leashed Fido; Fido snaps at outstretched hand. The leash accomplishes nothing.

Slavishly following the rules just because they are rules definitely counts as militant in my book. Instead of using a bit of judgment for a particular case, some people seem to get a kick out of pointing out every little infraction of others. Complaining about a well-mannered dog being off leash fits squarely into this category.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Really? on 09/07/2012 20:38:05 MDT Print View

"4. Leashes aren't panacea. It just takes a trip to the dog park to see untrained dogs lunging and yanking their owners around to know this. Often, I'd rather a friendly but excitable dog be free to jump a bit, instead of having an additional tether for me to trip over."

First of all, we're not talking about a dog park here. (You can have dog parks. Ask your vet about them.) If you're in the back country and you are tripping over leashes, something isn't right. Leashes may not be a panacea. But a dog on a leash, except for Erik's now mythical PCs, can be controlled. If someone really can't control their dog on a leash, they should trade them for a more appropriate pet for them. A goldfish, perhaps. A dog on a leash is not running up to attack my dog, who's friendly, non-aggressive, but still on a leash. Which I find ironic. My friendly dog is on a leash. The aggressive dogs are running free.

I was actually told by someone on here that when two off leash dogs tried to attack my dog, that I was at fault for having my dog on a leash. (Great advice when you are far from a TH and hours from vet care.) If he was off leash, the dogs would have "worked it out". Instead, as the dogs, with their owner chasing after screaming at them to stop, raced up to us snarling and growling, I kicked them as hard as I possibly could. One in the head and one in the neck (I missed). And I was extremely lucky that one was a bit behind the other. They backed off but kept barking and snarling until their owner got to them and grabbed them by the collar. And after seeing me kick his dogs, he still apologized to me. If those dogs were on a leash, their owners and I wouldn't have had our glorious backcountry experience tainted by yelling, screaming, obscenities, and dogs getting kicked. Panacea? No. Effective? Yes.

They probably felt very comfortable letting their dogs off leash, at least once they were in camp. Their reaction when the dogs took off made it clear they knew there was a big problem. The wife was screaming for him to get the dogs. But they were at the end of a meadow with a long view of the approach and the trail ended in a box canyon. There was no way they thought someone could come up from behind them. Until we bushwhacked into that canyon and came out. Then all hell broke loose.

Overall, it was educational experience. They learned to expect the unexpected. And hopefully, but probably not, to leash their dogs. And their young children may have learned some new words that day as the dogs were racing towards us.

"It all comes down to responsible owners and trained dogs."

Responsible owner and LEASHED dogs.

"Being militant about pointing out leash laws doesn't help in any way - it just gives the anti-dog person something to feel smug about."

I'm the least anti-dog person you'll ever meet. But I am anti-dumba$$. Do I feel smug about pointing out leash laws? No. I'm doing them a favor. Saving them from fines and possible harm to their dog. Which is the main reason to leash your dog. To protect them.

I have no problem hiking with my dog on a leash, even when it isn't the law. Why is it so hard for others to do the same when it IS the law?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Unleashed dogs gave me a good scare (but meant no harm) on 09/07/2012 21:02:46 MDT Print View

A pair of unleashed dogs gave me a really good scare on the Colorado Trail. I was hiking up a multi use section of the trail and two mountain bikers went by. A moment later their two dogs came running behind them. Only thing was these were some kind of sled dog or wolf/dog hybrid. They looked JUST like wolves and they were running toward me!
For a brief minute I thought I was about to get eaten by the first two wolves in the state! Fortunately I remembered the bikers before I did anything and the dogs ignored me.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Some random points on 09/07/2012 21:07:27 MDT Print View

"You need look no further than this thread to find actual anti-dog people. Anyone advocating violence against an animal simply because it approaches off-leash is anti-dog."

That's true. But based on my experiences, don't get excited if I look like I'm prepared to deal with an aggressive dog. And someone saying "Don't worry, he's friendly." doesn't make me let my guard down. Twice, I've had seemingly friendly dogs try to attack mine. Sometimes you can tell a dog's intentions and sometimes you can't. Even the Dog Whisperer gets bit.

"Your point about a dog's unpredictable behavior is equally applicable to leashed animals. Kiddo reaches down to pet leashed Fido; Fido snaps at outstretched hand. The leash accomplishes nothing."

No it's not. It's nothing like that at all. If you have a dog on a leash I can walk right on by outside of the leash length and I don't care if your dog is Cujo. Parents allowing a kid to pet a strange dog, no matter what the owner says about the dog is a completely different subject.

"Slavishly following the rules just because they are rules definitely counts as militant in my book."

Obeying rules that you don't like is militant in your book? How convenient. You know the rule that I don't like. Drunk driving. I should be able to drink till I can't stand and drive to the liquor store for more. Right? Why not? I don't like that rule! Why should it apply to me? I'm a great drunk driver, just ask me!

Another rule I don't like, defecating away from water sources. Why should I have to walk at least 200 feet away? That's far! And digging a cathole takes time too! Sure it may impact others but why is that my problem? I'll be long gone! I don't like those rules so why should I follow them?

You want to break the rules, that's up to you. You can justify it to yourself. But trying to justify it to others is a lot harder.

Edited by rlnunix on 09/07/2012 21:17:22 MDT.

Derek Westcott
(drwestco) - F
The Rules on 09/07/2012 21:23:47 MDT Print View

Nice straw man. Having a dog off the leash is clearly in the same category as driving while intoxicated.

I have no problem bending arbitrary rules when the conditions warrant.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Sure on 09/07/2012 21:26:38 MDT Print View

You obviously have no problem doing whatever you want no matter what the rules if you don't find them convenient to you. Rules? Those are for other people! Right?

Bending? You actually mean breaking, right? Bending does sound a lot better, though. And please define how a leash law is "arbitrary".

Edited by rlnunix on 09/07/2012 21:32:10 MDT.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/07/2012 21:42:34 MDT Print View

This thread made me think more about how I should best deal with badly behaved dogs the next time.
I think the polite way would be to say

" Excuse me, you're dogs are not trained to be off leash"

I think that is a polite way to get the point across with out me devolving to cursing or a lecture.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 09/07/2012 21:43:33 MDT.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
made up stats? NO. Bad Harald! Bad! on 09/08/2012 14:43:02 MDT Print View

Harald, i didn't "pull my stats out of thin air"

According to CDC and FBI stats dog related fatalities/year in the US = +/- 30
According to CDC and FBI stats human caused fatalities/year in the US = +/- 15000/year

15000/30 = 500 times as likely to be murdered by the next hiker you pass on the trail as be killed by toby the terrier

Even if you just compare dog bites resulting in injury to the # of violent crimes comitted by humans, you are still twice as likely to be seriously injured by the next hiker as you are to be attacked by a dog.

So why all the hysteria about dogs and none about the only truly dangerous animal you enocounter on the trail?

FEAR (False Events Appear Real)

So, everyone, please calm down, and please, if you seee me and maile on the trail, don't pull a knife on us. OK?

Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Safety on 09/08/2012 23:49:23 MDT Print View

Somehow this thread has made me much more wary about the kind of humans I meet on the trail than the kind of dogs...

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Dogs on 09/09/2012 08:12:00 MDT Print View

"So why all the hysteria about dogs and none about the only truly dangerous animal you enocounter on the trail?"

Probably because this is a thread about dogs. There have been PLENTY of threads about what to carry to deal with dangerous humans on the trail.

My kit has changed over time based partially on my experiences. I don't carry anything for humans because I've never had a bad experience that would make me feel that I should. I carry SprayShield for off leash dogs because I've had multiple bad experiences with off leash dogs. YMMV.

Edited by rlnunix on 09/09/2012 08:24:11 MDT.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
Dogs on 09/09/2012 09:50:47 MDT Print View

You're missing the bigger picture on that point Randy.

This thread isn't really about dogs - at least not anymor IMO. It's about what is an appropriate response.

In the threads about protecting yourself from humans, you don't see people saying that if you come across a two legged animal that *might* be a danger immiedietly resorting to lethal measures.

Say for example you see someone and they immiedietly jump off the trail, or maybe they are muttering to themselves, or any slightly erratic behaviour that might make you feel a little threatened but isn't a blatant declaration that they mean you harm, you don't see people saying "pull out your gun and shoot them" as a FIRST response.

Yes, if you see someone running at you with a knife, you should assume they mean to harm you and take any level of precaution you need to defend yourself, but the simple truth that a dog running towards you or barking doesn't mean they intend to attack any more than someone talking to themselves in the backcountry means they intend you harm, yet in this thread, for some reasons, you have bunch of people who seem to think that not only does it mean that, but that it also gives them excuse to kill a family pet without facing any repercussions. As I've said a couple times now, it's about ignorance and fear.

Actually though, reading this thread has been quite liberating. I've decided to apply the logic of the fluffy stabbers to everyday life. Next time I see someone driving erratically, instead of just slowing down to get away from them, I'm just going to shoot them. After all, them not paying attention while driving might cause an accident that could hurt me, so they deserve to die. Oh, and last night, my neighbors were having a party and were really loud, causing me to lose sleep. I could have just called the police to complain, but that would be inconvenient and cost me cell phone minutes, so instead I just nailed their doors shut and set the house on fire. After all, not getting enough sleep could have been bad for my health, so they deserved to die, right? I mean, why should IO have to deal with them being loud? It's not fair to me to lose sleep.

There are all sorts of inconsiderate people out there in the world who do all sorts of things that can cause you and me harm. That does NOT give us liscence to go around KILLING people or their pets when there are plenty of just as effective, less leathal, alternatives available. Sorry, it just plain doesn't. Anybody who thinks it does is just plain messed up in the head.

I'm done with this silliness.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/09/2012 09:52:00 MDT.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
This. on 09/09/2012 15:37:49 MDT Print View

"Somehow this thread has made me much more wary about the kind of humans I meet on the trail than the kind of dogs..."

Ditto this.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: This. on 09/09/2012 19:47:55 MDT Print View

So, uh... will anyone walk these dogs for me?

I've got some of those extendo-leashes you can use.

Harald Hope
(hhope) - M

Locale: East Bay
ummm, no, sorry on 09/10/2012 12:06:42 MDT Print View

According to CDC and FBI stats dog related fatalities/year in the US = +/- 30
According to CDC and FBI stats human caused fatalities/year in the US = +/- 15000/year

Dave, with all due respect, this thread is not about non trail dog or people attacks, it's about backcountry issues with dog encounters.

As I said, you made up the stats, since such stats do not exist, I looked for them a bit, and could find nothing that seemed even remotely related.

So try to keep focused on the actual topic of the thread.

If you expand the topic to an area so large that it no longer has anything to do with the topic, then I can bring in car deaths, smoking deaths, and a variety of other deaths that dwarf the question at hand, but unfortunately also have nothing to do with the question. Obviously, since car deaths far outweigh human or dog attack deaths, the clear conclusion we should make is to never drive to the trailheads, right?

Also, as I clearly indicated, the actual question was not deaths, it was attacks. On trail, backcountry attacks. Or off trail, whatever. Bringing in the deaths thing was just a way to polarize the question, which is yet another debate method I can't remember the name of that helps actually avoid the real question.

So this would be a variety of offenses in terms of clear coherent discussion. Making things up out of thin air, red herrings, and various other fun methods of ignoring the actual topic aren't very productive.

So let's return to reality, the question is actually about the number of backcountry dog attacks. I noted I've never experienced such things, never actually seen an aggressive dog myself, but I don't discount the experiences of those who have.

Note I'm not antidog, just anti stupid dog. I really have to scratch my head when the actual point is so far buried, makes me think you actually don't want to think of the actual question, or ignore it, or not admit it's a valid question.

So focus, the question is on back co8untry dog attacks. I have no data on that question, neither do you. My experience shows me it's not an issue to worry about, but other people seem to have different experiences. No idea why that difference exists, that's certainly an interesting question though.

I went for a day hike the other day and kept waiting for the barking aggressive dogs, but, denied, the dogs were all nice and well behaved, one woman I saw around a corner with a big strong dog, which made me sort of tense, appeared in front of me after rounding the corner with her dog perfectly controlled, to her side, very close, leashed, and didn't even raise a sound when it passed me. That would be a smart owner and a smart dog, an excellent combination.

You clearly were totally unable to read what I wrote, because something I said clicked some emotional trigger in your brain and turned it off. If you had read what I wrote, you would have noted that I am interested in the actuality of backcountry dog attacks, never seen it myself, never had issues with dogs on the trail, but am able to read other people's words and not get some emotional brain death. When I noted that if a dog lunged at, attacked me, I would consider that the end of the discussion, I also noted that is a situation I never expect to see. Note the non black and white nuance there? Try it sometime, it really works much better than flipping out.

The actual question is interesting, and actual facts on it would also be interesting. Also interesting to learn would be why some people have these experiences and others don't. Many actually interesting questions. That's why I said it's an interesting question. With actual facts, one could say, well, actually, there are only x number of backcountry dog attacks per year, making this y percent more or less likely than say, a mountain lion attack, which is statistically one of the least likely events to happen to a human being in the USA.

And the actual things that triggered the thread was not even an attack, but a stupid dog freaked out in nature and not properly controlled by the owner, a situation that isn't actually excusable. So the actual question is, given that largely inexcusable situation, what is society supposed to do? Blaming the victims is not generally smiled upon, don't you agree? Your other examples re people on the trail seem to have nothing to do with reality either, so I'll ignore them. As a person who likes dogs, think about the actual question, what are people to do when faced with a tense situation where they are not at fault, and where the outcome is not a given? Blaming them is not really very cool, there's steps those people can take, like pushing to have dogs banned from trails, I guess, which is why such regulations tend to be created.

Edited by hhope on 09/10/2012 12:28:55 MDT.

Derek Westcott
(drwestco) - F
Re: Leashes on 09/10/2012 13:01:45 MDT Print View

I was reminded of this thread on Saturday, as I was wandering some of the bootleg trails in a local park and a very large unleashed doberman sauntered out from around a corner. It was immediately obvious the dog posed no threat, as it sniffed a few bushes then came over to demand a head scratch from me. The owner did do the cliche, "don't worry, he's friendly" call, saying that some people are specially wary of breeds like dobies. I couldn't help but comment that it was clear we had a vicious killer on our hands here.

Yes, this was a city park, and yes, the dog technically should have been leashed. Nothing would have been served by doing so, though.

Relevant to this discussion? Probably not. Just coincidentally amusing to me, given the tone of this entire thread.

Dave Ploessel
(mailesdad) - F
Um, yes, actually HARALD on 09/10/2012 15:28:10 MDT Print View

Harald, I HOPE (pun) you are just really bad at google and not just dismissing my stats ads made up in order to continue to ignore my valid points, but the simple fact that if, when you google "annual us dog fatalities",the VERY FIRST link is to a wikipedia article that cites the CDC stats (I actually compiled the CDC stats from the CDC itself because I don't trust wiki 100%) leads me to believe that you are.

Here, I'll even post the link for you, since you apparently can't use google:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_States

I didn't make up the stats. Please stop saying things that are not true about me. It only makes you a liar and destroys any credibility your arguements may have on this topic. The stats are there for anybody with sufficient brainpower to find. You accuse me of "turning off my brain" yet you are unable to do a simple google search? Give me a break. You obviously also lied about looking for the stats yourself because they are right there for anybody who cares to look. Instead you go on to attempot to back up those who base their own arguements on purely anecdotal evidence eg "my friend the ranger said this one time" instead of solid numbers.

Anecdotal evidence is just that. Anecdotal. It has no bearing on this topic.

I said I was done with this topic, but your lies about me cheesed me off enough to get me to post. Please don't lie about me again. Thanks.

Edited by mailesdad on 09/10/2012 15:33:07 MDT.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Leash on 09/10/2012 19:23:24 MDT Print View

I ALWAYS kept my dog leashed when in public places, including parks or trails.

While I knew my dog was well-tempered, I couldn't expect everyone else to know it.
And so, I kept him on a leash, and he was not unhappy about it, and everybody else felt safer because of it.

And no other dogs ever approached us in any threatening manner. It might have been because my dog was a 145 pound male Rottweiler with a 30-inch collar.
But he never harmed a fly, for his entire life, all the way up to his death from old age last year.
People were often afraid of him, because of his imposing appearance. They would walk on the other side of the street.

The vet said to me, "He's too nice. He's giving Rottweilers a bad name". And he laughed.

But, getting back to the dogs in public thing, I think it's the right thing to keep them leashed. It's respectful of the other people who don't know your dog is friendly. And the dog isn't undergoing any torture to be on the leash.
I think it's just the right thing to do, and it precludes anything unpredictable from happening, and it's safer for everybody.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Leash on 09/10/2012 19:36:00 MDT Print View

Some dogs are not safe to have on a leash.

The owners aren't strong enough to control them, and are unwilling to train them.

It's dangerous to such irresponsible owners to have such dogs on a leash.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Leash on 09/10/2012 20:44:24 MDT Print View

It's dangerous to such irresponsible owners to have such dogs

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Mine are off leash and I dare you to object on 09/11/2012 07:34:15 MDT Print View

"we're not sure about their training but they sure do have mean stares."

So, let me get this straight: you got three oversized, un-trained dogs bred for fighting and you don't have them leashed because they pull on the leash. I sincerely hope that you're joking.

Sean Heenan
(roadster1) - M

Locale: Southeast mountains
bites on 09/11/2012 08:17:38 MDT Print View

386,000 bites per year that require emergency room visits, 16 deaths.(CDC stat last year available) Can anybody here say liability, send in the lawyers lose your dog and maybe even have it put down. Why would you want to do that to your dog???

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Bites on 09/11/2012 08:24:39 MDT Print View

386,000 bites. Is that in the USA where you can get a nice payout?
I've been bitten a couple of times, but simply cleaned it up myself without visiting a hospital.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re: Leash on 09/11/2012 08:35:07 MDT Print View

And some dogs can be controlled by their owners, and the dogs ARE controlled by them.

YOU, Mr Cameron Kennedy, make a lot of assumptions and passive-aggressive insinuations.

Edited by towaly on 09/11/2012 13:03:07 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Leash on 09/11/2012 11:59:15 MDT Print View

Cameron's joking about comments made earlier. Go back and read Erik's posts and you'll see where he's coming from.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
re Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal? on 09/11/2012 12:03:57 MDT Print View

I think Cameron's comment was a tongue-in-cheek remark to a certain poster here who thinks that having 3 large dogs that aren't properly trained somehow makes leash laws inapplicable to him.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
bad. on 09/11/2012 12:35:05 MDT Print View

this thread is BPL at its worst.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: bad luck with aggressive dogs is normal? on 09/11/2012 12:42:49 MDT Print View

It's six dogs, they're perfectly trained to attack the scent of cuben (and Cuban, but let's leave that alone for now) and I don't see why I should be discriminated against just because these fine, magnificent, hungry dogs are stronger than I happen to be.

I've had a lot going on in my life and it's unreasonable to expect me to have dogs like this on leash and behaving however you impose your judgement on them to be.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re: Re: Leash on 09/11/2012 13:16:05 MDT Print View

Okay. Perhaps I'm over-sensitive about the issue, and if I spoke in error, I apologize.

As an owner of Rottweilers for 20 years, I have seen this issue get blown into the public policy level where entire municipalities and private insurers are taking steps on a wide scale to undertake breed-specific banning, as if every animal and owner are automatically guilty, even if nothing ever happened.

Each bite incident or death is certainly a tragedy, but for every one of those, there are hundreds of thousands of these loyal and magnificent dogs that never hurt anybody, and have loving, sensitive, caring, and respectful owners.

As I stated previously, I always leashed my dog in public, for his own good, and the good of myself, and respect for the people around me.
And my Rottweilers were models of outstanding behavior, and none of them ever hurt anyone or anything. They slept on the couch with my cats! The cats were their friends!

HElinTexas C
(Helintexas) - MLife
Another pov on 09/13/2012 08:04:37 MDT Print View

I am one of the aforementioned dog nuts. One of my neighbors...nasty woman,,, came over and smacked my shelties nose with a towel for sticking it thru the fence while my dog and another neighbor's dog barked at each other (the neighbor trespassed into someone else's yard to do so. Then she lied about to me...not realizing I was sitting in my backyard reading.)I say this because I still have a memory of how upset I became when it happened.

So I totally get what Dave is saying about how a dog nut would react if someone just pulled out a knife and on first reaction killed a dog. He is right that there would be some crazy stuff happening between the two humans afterwards.

Yet I totally understand where the other side is coming from.

I would never, never, never, never walk my dog without a leash. First, as a sheltie she is a talker...ie she barks. Even tho she is a petite, very beautiful dog that most people want to pet....she does like to bark when she sees other dogs (not an aggressive bark..a.hello bark)..unless she is scared by the dogs at that point she literally stands up and hugs my legs. Second, she is entranced by squirrels....not a good way. She wants to chase them. So, when I walk with her, I absolutely NEVER let her off the leash. I do not want her to run off nor to surprise or unwittingly scare someone.

I hike/ bike in 2 main areas. I have had 4 encounters with dogs off of leashes. 2 of them were no big deal. 1 made me apprehensive. 1 very much terrified me. On 2 of those occasions, I had my leashed dog with me. The one case that worried me... A very large dog came loping around the corner...noticed me and my sheltie and shot toward us. I grabbed up my dog and turned her away from the other one. This big dog, thankfully, wasn't biting yet but get reaching for my dog. I had my hand on its neck and was shoving it away while yelling 'down'. My dog literally was bunched up on my chest with her front arms clutching my neck. This dog while standing was almost as tall as me. The dog wasn't biting nor growling...but i can imagine if it had been. I am not sure what would have happened. The situation took place in seconds. The dog's owner came flying over and yanked him down. Of course, apologies were flying.

The terrifying time occurred while biking. The trail is a 30 mile rails to trail that does go by a few homes near 2 of the designated picnic areas. One home had a large breed white husky like mutt. I had seen the dog and its 'teenaged' pups on a prior occasion lolling around the picnic area while people had food out. The next time there was no one around as I approached. Suddenly, the large adult shot out of the brush after me. It was snarling with all of its teeth bared. Let me tell you, the adrenaline went off the charts. I am not a speedster. I am built for endurance, not speed. But I never have moved that fast. I was standing and pumping those petals like I was Lance Armstrong. I can still remember looking down and seeing how close those teeth were to my calves. That dog could move. It was only total fear...total flight...that kept me from being bit. I love dogs,..but if that dog would have made contact..I would have done some serious head trauma to it. My fear was so strong I would not have been able to control my response.

No one under any circumstances should leave their dog unleashed. Never. No matter how trained. You put other dogs at risk and other people as well. Let your dog enjoy the outdoors at the end of a leash. If you want it to run free, buy a house with a backyard and fence it in. Trails are not the place to let your dogs explore. Even if there is no leash laws, you should be responsible and leash the dog. The first dog, according to the owner, was a very well behaved and well trained dog. Didn't stop it from reacting to my dog. Clearly, the second dog was not leashed nor fenced in. In neither case, is there any posting about keeping animals leashed that I have noted.

I do not feel that lethal force should be the first reaction. But, after being in those 2 situations mentioned above...I can possibly understand why someone could react that way. BUT...I think a reasonable person can tell the difference between a situation where lethal force is needed initially and when it is not. When the dog came at me and my dog, I didn't feel overly threatened. I was worried that a situation might occur because of the 2 dogs. But although it was large and baring down on us, it didn't appear vicious. If it had at any point, I would have fought tooth and nail. That second time on the bike.....yes, I can certainly see where someone would choose lethal force.

But as I said at the beginning......lethal force to a dog can result in some totally irrational behavior from that pet owner...

Edited by Helintexas on 09/13/2012 08:09:45 MDT.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Thanks for your experiences and comments on 09/13/2012 10:01:43 MDT Print View

To sum up:
I think that the human is supposed to be the intelligent factor in all of this, and it is the human's job to control the environment so that dangerous events are circumvented by appropriate actions.

No matter how well-behaved and well-tempered my Rottweilers were, I NEVER forgot that they were 145 pound male Rottweilers that had the physical characteristics to become serious killing machines.
They never did, and never seemed to even want to do harm, but you can never forget that they have the potential. If you do, you are doing yourself, your dog, and everyone else a disservice.

Being a responsible dog owner is not a chore. It's a delight. And it helps to ensure a long and happy relationship with your dog and the people and animals around you.