Our fluffy, four-legged companions are normally nothing but friendly. Bicycles, unfortunately, have a way of provoking the worst canine behavior. This makes sense, as dogs descended from wolves, and wolves evolved to chase down their prey. A speeding cyclist may cause a dog’s predatory instinct to kick in. If you find yourself in such a situation, here’s the strategy you should take to deal with an attacking dog.
How to Deal with and Attacking Dog
- Use your water bottle – You can use a water bottle as a harmless but effective weapon to protect yourself from a dog. If the dog has given chase and is showing signs of attacking, squirting him in the eyes can make him slow down. Normally, this will startle him enough for you to get away safely.
- Keep dog treats with you – If you’re worried about the dog at an unavoidable house on your route, carrying dog treats can help to alleviate your anxiety. Only the most protective dogs will choose to chase you over a treat you throw. Use treats, sparingly, however, unless you want to train the dog to expect them daily.
- Pretend you’re on an “intense” interval – Most dogs, other than greyhound mixes and similar breeds, can only keep up with faster-paced biking speeds (say, 20 mph) for a mile or so. If you have a long enough straightaway ahead of you without any intersections, sheer speed may be your best bet.
If a dog ever bites you, immediately wash the bite with warm water and soap. Depending on the severity, call 911, and report the bite to your local animal control agency. If injured, find a personal injury attorney that will ensure you are compensated for any medical bills you incur.
Frederick M. Dudek is a cycling enthusiast and a San Diego personal injury attorney dedicated to bicycle safety and helping the victims of bicycle accidents, such as those caused by dog attacks.