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.