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Is this just bad luck with aggressive dogs or is this normal?
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Erik Basil

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.

Dena Kelley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.



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

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?