How to handle a dog chasing you while cycling in the countryside is always a popular topic. In our Ontario bike club we once had a member bitten by a dog during a ride.
While cycling in the Finger Lakes region of New York State with a large group we came to a point where there was a dog on one side of the narrow road eyeing us. On the other side was a barn. We yelled out at the dog “go home”, and in response a voice came out of the barn, “he is home stupid”.
In my experience of bicycle touring across Europe I have yet to find to have a dog chase me or my colleagues. European dogs are used to cyclists and seem to have been trained not to chase.
In North America that is not always the case. I realize that not all dogs chase cyclists, however when they do these are some of the different methods used in handling the situation:
- First, if the owner is nearby enlist their help. Some cyclists even explain to the owner that the dogs cannot see the spokes in the wheel when moving
- Squirt from the water bottle into the face of the dog, up to 10-15 feet away
- Outrun the dog. I find this works if you are at the head of a group but the dog is ready for the followers
- Yell “out”, “stop”, or “go home”. This is the method I use and it sometimes even works
- Get off the bike and place it between you and dog while backing away
I am sure you may be aware of situations where a dog has either bitten a rider or chased a cyclist off the road injuring them. Be sure you are wearing a bicycle helmet in case you do fall.
I do not know which method works best and would be interested in any feedback. I find the dogs are just protecting their property and will not pursue you too far. At a minimum it adds even more excitement to your riding.