I’m sure dogs love bicycles as much, if not more, than cyclists do. There is something about the sight of a bicycle passing by that drives dogs crazy.
There’s this theory of dogs just defending their territorial boundaries (unseen by us humans of course) but to me it must be some kind code to live by that all dogs world-wide adhere to. How else can one explains the global occurence of dogs chasing cyclists in Malaysia, China, the US, Europe. It is a Global Honor Code of any bark-worthy dog.
The dog chase can be roughly categorised into 3 attack mode.
1. The dog see you coming from a distance and start to charge right at you.
2. The dog waits for you to arrive along side it and start to give chase (attacking your overdeveloped calf from years of cycling).
3. The dog kindly let you pass first and then give chase.
In any case getting chase by a dog or packs of dogs is no fun especially when you are touring fully loaded with your bike heavy with panniers all around plus the kitchen sink. Although the adrenalin rush will help you through the chase yet there is still worry that you might someday lose control of your bike and fall down leading to the pack of dogs devouring you down to the bones. Not a pleasant thought at all.
Therefore every cyclist needs to have his / her own Dog Strategy and here are a few proven strategies gathered from various cycling sites such Darul Ehsan Touring Cyclist FB page.
1. When a dog approaches you, stop cycling and get down from your bike. Pretend as if you are grabbing a stone or a stick and make the throwing motion at the dog. Chances are, the dog is already conditioned to seeing the move (ie in the past, somebody did throw a stone or stick at the dog) and will retreat for safety. If the dog is the warrior-type and thrives on challenges thus keeps charging at you, you should just throw your bike at the dog and run in the opposite direction.
2. Approach the dog in your normal speed (but getting ready to accelerate) and if the dog starts to bark and chases you, give the dog your loudest scream (words like “NO” or “HOIII” is normally effective). In that split moment when the dog is startled by your scream, accelerate with everything you got. The surprised dog will find it difficult to keep up with your sudden change of pace (be careful not to fall from your bike, if not you’ll be dog meat)
3. Use technology, there are already handheld devices available in the market such as Dog Dazer that emits high frequency sound that dogs find irritating but not audible to human hearing. I’ve seen Pak Ngah using it to a pack of dogs before and it seemed to work as the dogs just ignored us and let us pass.
You can try any of the Dog Strategy above during your next encounter with dogs when you cycle. Where possible be kind to them, the dogs are just being dogs. That’s why i love cats. They will never chase a cyclist.