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Doggone It!
How to handle charging animals

By: Cash Anthony

When it comes to handling dog problems on a bike, here's a couple of ideas:

If you have a dog problem that's chronic (a neighbor who routinely fails to fence or leash his critter), you may have to deal with the same dog repeatedly. You may find it handy in such a case to keep a can of black pepper on the bike. Let him come close (not within contact, though!) and get a co-rider to sprinkle it liberally in his face while you drive at slow speed.

You could also try the pepper spray stuff that is sold for personal protection. It may do the same thing, maybe even be better -- but you have to be pretty close to hit the dog with it in the face. There may be some long-term effects on the dog (besides to discourage him from chasing bikes!), such as damaging his eyes; however, this doesn't seem to be a problem for human beings who are pepper-sprayed.

Dog lovers may not like these ideas, but if you ride, you need some strong self-protective instincts, too. While it may infuriate you to see someone treat a dog badly, a big dog can be serious road hazard for a motorcyclist if the owner is stupid enough to let the animal run loose near a road.

The preferred method with the occasional dog adventure is to change speed so that the dog is confused. If it is trying to chase you on the bike, vary your speed so that the dog can't tell where you're going to be next. Slow down so that it overshoots your front wheel, then speed up so it can't catch you. In short order, the dog will probably give up.

The one thing you want to avoid is kicking at the dog. You can seriously destabilize yourself on the bike by doing this -- and if you kick out and he bites and grabs hold of your leg as you're moving, you are very likely to go down (besides having teeth marks in your boot!). If a vicious dog approaches you on your bike while you're stopped and unable to drive away, you'll be doubly glad to be wearing good boots and leather chaps.

Copyright © 1992 - 2022 by The Master Strategy Group, all rights reserved.

(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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