How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: always be careful, change routes if necessary and speak to them in a calm tone.
You may even need to get off your bike and walk beside it. Keep some dry food to offer as a distraction.
Unfortunately, encounters with aggressive dogs are quite common when traveling by bike in certain countries or areas.
And that’s one of the drawbacks of traveling by bike.
Tip: The biggest drawback of traveling by bike is quite possibly a sore bum, avoid yours from being sore by choosing the most comfortable bike seat for overweight riders.
This is especially the case when we travel in countries where street dogs are numerous.
Sometimes, in hilly regions, we meet dogs that protect herds against any possible attacks.
This is probably the most dangerous if we do not know how to react.
And let’s face it, it’s often the cyclists who make mistakes. Dog attacks are a reaction to what the cyclist does.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: Introduction
- 2 How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: 5 tried and tested tips
- 3 If you get bitten on the road
- 4 How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: Conclusion
How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: Introduction
Let’s start at the beginning: the dog is a domestic and protective animal.
We don’t really know why the cyclist often triggers an attack in the dog.
It’s probably the instinct to chase, bad training or sometimes just plain boredom.
However, what is known is that the dog often protects its territory or herd.
He must simply understand that you are not a threat to him or his little protégés.
If you encounter aggressive dogs on your bike, it’s probably because they simply feel threatened by your presence. So don’t take it personally!
The problem is that everywhere on the web, you are advised to shout, block your bike, throw rocks, drive faster, hit them with a stick, etc.
Honestly, this is not the right technique.
It is too threatening an answer, which may even anger the dog more and aggravate the situation!
Not to mention that it is cruel to inflict this on street dogs, who are often already in a bad way.
Of course, there are always exceptional, shocking and incomprehensible cases of dogs that suddenly attack.
This is especially true when they are poorly trained or trained to attack.
But, fortunately, street dogs or sheepdogs are not normally trained like that.
You can get out of it by following the recommendations we have given in this article.
While the safety tips in this article specifically focus on how to deal with dogs when cycling, we’ve also got a number of more general Bike safety tips for a bicycle vacation: 8 Best tips
How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: 5 tried and tested tips
What to do in case of a dog attack?
- Remain attentive, even if the owner is nearby
- Turn around if necessary
- Let them sniff you out when it’s a sheepdog
- Talk to the dog calmly
- Slow down or stop and walk beside your bike
Remain attentive and slow down even if the owner is nearby
When walking past a house, a dog can still get out of the house and not seem overly aggressive.
The master can even be next door. And then suddenly, if you don’t slow down, he can attack.
So, as soon as you see off-leash dogs or large, out-of-control dogs, you need to slow down even if the owner assures you that it’s a lovely dog.
If the dog seems intent on blocking your path, won’t let you pass and continues to be aggressive, the best thing is to try to go around by another route and turn around slowly.
There’s no point in forcing the situation. It’s better to go a longer route than suffer an injury.
Having some dry food is always a good idea as it can prove to be a great distraction.
Obviously, there is no such thing as zero risk, but you must realize that things work out pretty well most of the time.
The street dogs themselves have fear reflexes and try to impress us.
The aggressiveness of the latter is proportional to the way they are (badly) treated by humans.
Their temperament could well depend on the country and culture.
Let the dog sniff you
This is more relevant to domestic dogs, especially herding dogs.
In the mountains, if you see that you are approaching a herd, the best thing to do is to stay alert.
The dogs are usually not far away. Sometimes they don’t even pay us any heed.
Other times, you don’t see them coming at all and suddenly they’re there, very upset.
In any case, if you meet them, get off the bike and wait while you continue to talk to them.
They will probably come and smell you to check that it is safe.
When you come across sheepdogs, it is important to have good reflexes and to let them sniff you.
You just have to wait for the herd to move off.
Talk calmly to the dog
Talking to dogs helps keep them at bay. It’s not about yelling at them, just talking.
Talking also helps to calm us down and the tone of voice is important to a dog.
The dog won’t stop barking if you talk to it, but it will probably calm it down or even make him back off.
Some people also advise not to look a dog in the eye because it will be taken as a challenge.
Slow down or stop and get off the bike
It may seem impressive the first time. A dog comes running, showing its fangs and barking quite aggressively.
The first reflex of a bicycle traveler would be to pedal faster to get out of this situation quickly.
It works if you’re downhill. Not such a good idea if you;re going uphill. It is likely that the dog will catch up with us quickly.
In this case, the best thing to do is to slow down and move forward very slowly, either on foot by pushing the bike or by riding at a walking pace.
In reality, aggressive dogs actually have a bark that is worse then their bite.
Once you stop, they tend to move back. Then we advance slowly as they move away.
We have to be careful when we get back in the saddle and the dogs are behind us. Keep talking to them.
If you get bitten on the road
Don’t try to be a hero.
If you’re bitten, go to the next hospital to be vaccinated against rabies, it’s not even to be discussed.
Even if the dog did not look sick or seemed quite harmless, you must have the bite attended to.
It is essential to consult a doctor, even if you have already received the first three doses of the vaccine.
Getting a rabies vaccination does not provide complete protection.
How to deal with dogs more safely during a cycling vacation: Conclusion
The most important thing is not to show aggressive behavior.
If necessary, change routes, get off your bike and walk, and let the dog approach you while speaking to it in a calm tone.
Don’t try to challenge it or outrun it. As always, common sense is key.