Attacked by dog when cycling!!! What should/couldy I have done?

(34 Posts)
Piffpaffpoff Wed 20-Feb-13 22:55:56

So today, going past a park on a cycle path I got chased for about a 1/4 mile by a small dog that was snapping, barking and it actually managed to get a hold of my foot 2 or 3 times. There are teeth marks on my shoes!! I screamed at it, kicked out at it but nothing was making it stop. Eventually, it lost interest and ran away. I hung about and waited for the owner to come over (and to be fair, she did approach me). I was v calm and explained that her dog had bit my shoe and she should keep in under control in future. She said that it chased me because I continued to cycle and had I stopped, it too would have stopped. I said that that was unreasonable, she had a responsibility to keep it under control in a public space when other people were about and that other people may not be as reasonable about it as I was.

Anyway, my question is this - realistically what else could I have done? The dog was totally out of control, she was shouting on it the whole time it was chasing me and it never came. It was still running about barkng the whole time I waited to speak to her, spoke to her and then cycled off. Should I have called the police and reported it? But if I did, how do they/I identify the dog if they've left? How else could I have got rid of the dog? It was a really horrible experience and I want to know what else I could do if it happens again. sad

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 20-Feb-13 23:22:10

Bloody hell. Not much advice here I'm afraid but hope you're ok. Think you were very reasonable with the owner! She should have the bloody thing under a bit more control than that, anything could happen to it.

You were a lot more restrained than me, I've have kicked its arse all the way back to the park. I bloody hate horrible snappy little dogs.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 09:21:41

Thank Ilove, I'm fine apart from a very sore throat from all the shouting and screaming!

Pan Thu 21-Feb-13 09:42:06

Glad you're fine Piff. Someone else could have panicked and fallen off. For me it's the owner that should be kicked into the middle of next week. Arse.

The dog owner was the unreasonable one.

Had you stopped, yes that dog may have stopped but equally another dog may have attacked you more. She should have apologised unreservedly.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 10:10:05

Thanks all. Not, yes an unreserved apology would have helped but it was definitely 'sorry, but.....'. I'm just so glad I didn't have the DCs with me, that's what's really pissing me off about it now - I'm a grown up and can rationalise it but if it had happened to a child, they would have been totally traumatised by it. Grrrr. Anyway, I'm away out on my bike again shortly so hopefully I will have a less eventful trip today!

DeepRedBetty Thu 21-Feb-13 10:42:20

I run a dogwalking agency.

IME some dogs will start to chase bikes, of those most will give up when called back, and those that don't will stop if the bike does. I usually call out something like 'hang on while I get him on the lead, otherwise he might follow you'. However, if the cyclist comes belting up behind without using a bell I might not have time to do this. I could conceive a situation where a dog has become so overexcited that it continues to bark and snap even when the bike is no longer moving but I've never seen it happen. If the owner was too far away to call to you to stop then the dog was too far from her to be under control.

Naturally if I've discovered a dog is a bike chaser then I take it where bikes aren't.

So advice for the future.

Make sure dog walkers know you're approaching, give them a chance to call their dog in.

If you are being chased, stop.

One of our family dogs turned out to be a bike chaser, a group of boys went past, he started in pursuit, we shouted please stop, but they ignored us.

Our dog must have just kept following until they got to the main road. He was killed instantly by a car.

If a dog is a bike chaser, it should not be off the lead where there are likely to be bikes.

My dog is a "jumper" ie if he finds someone he will bounce at them enthusiastically to say hello. He is in no way aggressive when he does this. However, this is one reason he is always on the lead when walked and why I reel him in when I see other people and warn them he is a bouncer. (the other reason is that the little bugger refuses to come back if running free)

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 10:57:15

Thanks for the advice deepred and sorry to hear about your dog. I can see that you as the dog owner might be confident that it might stop if I stop but having had it bite my shoe three times already, I had less confidence that it would ease off!

Btw the dog was in the park on the other side of a 4ft stone wall about 200m from me when I went past on the cycle path so there was no need or requirement for me to alert them to my presence. I always ring my bell if walkers or dog walkers are in front of me on shared use paths and about 95% call their dogs and hold them as I pass.

Lafaminute Thu 21-Feb-13 10:59:44

Awful!! We have a dog and my kids love dogs but both would be terrified by that behaviour. I run and sometimes get dogs running out of their driveways after me - it makes me sooooo cross: we should have the right to run/cycle/walk on a public path without fear of being attacked. A neighbours dog bit my hand while I was talking to her out walking one day, she now puts the dog on a lead when she sees me approach - I would always make sure my approach is noisy (ring your bell!) so they have time to put the dog on a lead.

MrsBeep Thu 21-Feb-13 11:05:49

I agree with Not , if a dog is somewhat of a jumper or chaser then they have to be kept on a lead, or perhaps taken somewhere that there are no bikes allowed or at a very quiet time of the day.

I probably would have reacted the same way as the OP...what would you do if I dog bit at you 3 times? I think you'd try and get away from it, surely?

I have had a dog jump up on me, smearing mud all over me and ripping my jeans, the owner no where in line of sight. When the owner did appear he said "oh, he can be a bit of a jumper, gets excited by ladies"...my husband and I were horrified by this reaction! No apology whatsoever.

Belugagrad Thu 21-Feb-13 13:03:49

I've had this out running a couple of times and I have wondered what to do, not been bitten but been chased and had dogs jump up at me. One dog owner told me I should stop but I resent that fact that I should have to stop my exercise to appease a dog, so I guess I'll put up with being chased, it doesn't happen very often. Its a difficult one though and you have my sympathies.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 13:16:42

Your're right belu it doesn't happen very often - in 20 years of cycling this is only the second time that I have genuinely been afraid that I was about to be bitten or mauled. Still, that's two times too many.

Anyway, positive action - I've just contacted our lovely community policy team to ask their advice on whether it's something I should be reporting to them if it happens again. I don't know if there is anything they can or would do about it but it would be good to know. I worry about what would have happened if it had been a child on a bike or scooter or similar, the owner had no control whatsoever.

Booboostoo Thu 21-Feb-13 14:51:20

The right thing to do to stop a dog from chasing you is to stop the bicycle, avoid eye contact, make no noise, keep your arms close to your body (ideally folded) and turn your back on the dog if you can.

Having said that, the fault is with the owner for allowing the dog to chase in the first place. It's not your responsibility to train their dog or help them control it, although you may wish to stop purely for your own safety.

Chasing and barking are one thing, snapping and actually making contact so as to leave marks are a much more aggressive behaviour. The Dog Warden is the best person to contact about any dangerous dog, they are trained to deal with them (and this doesn't necessarily mean put them to sleep, it may mean advising owners, etc).

Owners who have dogs with poor recall and aggressive tendencies should keep them on a lead. If, for some pig headed reason they do not want to, they should at least muzzle them.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 15:23:30

Thanks Booboo, thats useful specific advice - I'll try and be brave enough to try that if it ever happens again. Natural instinct though is to try and get away especially if, like me, you're not very 'experienced' with dogs.

littleducks Thu 21-Feb-13 15:35:16

The thing is you worry if you stop they you are then just a stationary target! some dogs would probably stop, others might just do more damage!

Booboostoo Thu 21-Feb-13 15:36:19

I appreciate what you mean! The natural instinct is to run, but then that triggers the dog to chase, the movement of your feet pedaling mimicks a small prey trying to get away so again triggers the hunting instinct in the dog. Screaming, squeeling and shouting again mimicks the sounds prey makes so triggers the dog's instincts to attack. Ideally you need to do everything you don't at first want to be doing!

None of this excuses the owner's lack of responsibility for their dog's actions, merely explains how dogs tend to react.

On the positive side most dogs are happy, well adjusted and well behaved so I hope you never have the bad luck to come across such a dog again!

MirandaWest Thu 21-Feb-13 15:38:28

As a cyclist and not a dog owner, without reading this thread I would have no idea what you are "meant" to do if chased by a dog. If this had happened to me and the owner had said what I should have done then it wouldn't really have helped.

Booboostoo Thu 21-Feb-13 15:45:03

Just for info's sake if you ever fall down when a dog is attacking wrap yourself up in the foetal position, cover your face with your arms and keep still and silent...if you possibly can, I appreciate it's something that's easier to say and do!

Booboostoo Thu 21-Feb-13 15:45:26

and should be than

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 16:07:58

Thanks again Booboo, all really useful information. I did think at the time that my shouting might have been making things worse but it had worked once before so it was worth a try. Plus I sort of hoped it might make the owner realise I was in quite some considerable distress and they might run over and help - but no, no such luck!

Belugagrad Thu 21-Feb-13 16:19:30

I have a question, If I stop and then the dog stops, when is iit ok to start running/ cycling again? 30 seconds, 1 minute etc? Thanks! Sorry no dog experience here.

WifeofPie Thu 21-Feb-13 16:23:59

Some dogs have a 'chase' instinct...It's not always accompanied by aggression though. My dogs don't chase bikes or people but we run on (off-leash) trails that are used by dog walkers, runners and cyclists. I always slow down to a walk when we run towards other dogs as I don't know whether they are chasers or not and similarly I call my dogs to me (and make them sit) when I see cyclists approaching as they could accidentally run out in front of a bike. Cyclists we share the trails with have shown similar consideration by ringing their bells and slowing down to avoid the risk of collision.

I think in shared areas it's just about consideration and common sense. Whiz zing past off-leash dogs is never a good idea but neither is allowing a bike-aggressive dog to be off-lead on a mixed-use trail. On balance, I think you should have slowed down and definitely stopped when you realized the dog was chasing you, but the lady shouldn't have had that particular dog off-lead in that particular area.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 21-Feb-13 16:37:01

Can I just clarify I did not whizz past the dog, it was in a park, over 200m away and the other side of a 4ft stone wall and I was on a path outside the park. It chose to bolt off out the park gate and chase me. On shared used trails I always slow down when passing anyone, person or animal. I even ring my bell to alert people of my approach.

Anyway, lots of good advice on here thats very helpful, thanks everyone.

lljkk Netherlands Thu 21-Feb-13 16:42:42

You did nothing wrong, OP, you didn't have any great choices.

If you went on a cyclist website they wouldn't criticise you & they would split down the line 50-50 about whether it was better to shout at & kick the dog or to stop and face it down. There are risks both ways and it wasn't your responsibility to try to figure them out.

some cyclists would mutter about carrying something like mace for such attacks, too.

I probably would have stopped and faced a small dog. I'd try to kick & get away from a big one, though. Using my bike as a shield if big one was very tenacious. Ideally you stop and face the dog before it gets close enough to chase, then the bike is easier to use as a shield.

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