by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
In movies and TV shows, it's not totally uncommon to see a man or woman running away from a dog, a couple of dogs, or even a whole pack of dogs. Chasing dogs are scary and while it's not too probable that you'll be chased by a pack of dogs anytime soon, you should have a couple techniques up your sleeve in the case of such an event.
You can use common items to aid you in your prevention against dog chases and one of those items you can use is a simple folding umbrella. You can ward off or scare a dog by opening the umbrella in the canine's face; it's abrupt and I know that it would startle and scare me off, so I'm pretty sure it would work for dogs!
If you can't outdistance a pursuing dog on your bike, dismount and use the bike as a shield. Shield is kind of a funny word to use for warding off dog chases, but really that's what the bike can be. You may damage your bike, but hopefully the bike-shield can ward off a dog long enough for someone to come over and help you out. If necessary, try squirting the dog in the eyes with your water bottle.
Distraction is always a good option to keep in mind as you prevent those dog chases. Keep dog treats, such as biscuits or raw meat perhaps, in your pocket. What sane animal isn't distracted by food? Throw the treats or meat slabs (ha!) in the direction of an approaching dog. Fling the food as far away from you as possible and when the dog turns to pursue the food, you turn and move as far away as possible.
If dog chases tend to be a problem for you, you can take more drastic chase-prevention measures. Carry a personal "dog alarm." This is a pocket-sized alarm which emits a high-pitched noise that arrests the dog's behavior. It is an aerosol and is sold with refills. I'd only recommend going this route if dog chases are a real problem for you; I doubt it's worth it unless you use it often.
Many dogs respond well to simply a firm tone. Most times when a dog is chasing you, it's just excited to see you, rather than menacing. If you simply speak to the dog in a commanding but calm tone, the dog will more often than not, respond well.
Always remember that it's the dog's owner's responsibility to make the dog isn't threatening others. You may need to draw attention to the dog's over-excitability or menacing nature, but hopefully the owner will be paying enough attention to his or her dog anyway. If someone is going to have a dog, that dog needs to be under control.
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