Allow me to first say, I like dogs – nearly all dogs. I’ve owned a dog most of life. I am currently without but I think of getting one regularly – I miss the companionship.
With that out of the way, I DO NOT like being barked at while riding bike (or walking or any other time). Even less, I HATE being chased/threatened by dogs. I blame dog owners for the problems. These behaviors can be trained out of a dog. I know – I have done it – there is no use arguing about it.
I ride in rural areas so there are many dogs. I hear dogs barking a LOT. I even categorized the different types of dogs here. I get attacked pretty regularly – probably once per week – maybe more. The behavior of the Comedians and Sportsmen is very annoying. The behavior of the Nulls and Assassins is frightening and dangerous. I’ve flown thru more than one stop sign with a dog or two at my heels. Imagine getting whacked by a car whilst fleeing from a dog attack – nice.
For a year and half I’ve tried to find a reasonable dog deterrent. A few months ago a dog came at me from a ninety degree angle – directly from the side. The only thing that kept his teeth out of my leg was my fist impacting the side of his skull – the result of a lucky swing on my part. All this occurred with the owner standing there on the side of the road watching – no leash, in a public place. A violation of county ordinance. I know, rules are for OTHER people… I get that.
The dog “training spray” approach works but I hate the expense. A ten dollar can only lasts for a few weeks.
The home-grown spray bottle of diluted vinegar works. I hate the bulk and clumsiness of carrying a trigger-pump spray bottle – especially on long rides when both of my bottle cages are needed for drinks.
I’ve considered carrying a pistol after a few of the more frightening attacks. Yes, I would shoot those dogs – the ultimate deterrent. However; the bulk and weight of a firearm is downright annoying. Spending money on the lightest components for your bike only to toss on a 5 to 8 pound firearm – no thanks. A BB gun (air pistol) isn’t much better. Obviously, either of these could create major conflict with the dog owner. The type of conflict that I’d just assume avoid – never mind the fact that it was not me breaking the law and/or county ordinance.
So, I kept researching possibilities…
A few weeks ago I stumbled onto the Dog Dazer II. It is an electronic dog deterrent that uses sound – ultrasonic sound. I was a little skeptical but REALLY wanted to find a solution. I figured the device was worth a twenty-five dollar test so I ordered one from Amazon.
Click ahead a few weeks… the unit arrives.
For my daily ride, I picked a route on which AT LEAST a dozen dogs bark at me and occasionally attack.
Guess what!?!? Not a single bark for the entire ride! The Dazer must work! But wait… I had not actually used the unit. I mean, I never pressed the button – so that can’t be it. Pure luck, I guess.
I made a little sleeve using velcro strap around my bike’s stem to hold the Dazer. When I say I “made”, I mean I saw some velcro laying on the table and I stapped it onto my bike – it was far from a real design/manufacturing effort!! However; it actually works pretty well. The Dazer is easy to pull out and reasonably easy to slip back into place while riding.
The very next ride, opportunity presented itself. I came upon a medium size dog in a fenced yard that ALWAYS runs along the fence and barks. A tap of the button on the Dazer and the dog not only shutup but stopped running and darted the opposite direction! SUCCESS!! I liked what I saw.
Over the next week or so, I had many opportunities to use the Dazer. So far, it has worked in every situation. I have not yet had to deal with one of the truly frightening attack situations using the Dazer but I am hopeful that it will work in that situation as well.
I’ve noticed that the closer the dog and the less “stuff” between them and the Dazer the better. Fences, shrubs, etc… all minimize the effect. There is definitely a distance limit. I’ve tried it on a couple dogs that are a ways away (50′ or more) and there was no noticeable effect. That’s ok, my goal was not to quiet the entire county – just the dogs nipping at my heels!
One very nice benefit of the Dazer is that there is little no observable action by YOU, the rider. By this I mean that the owner of the dog (if nearby) does not see you hit the dog, spray something at it, or anything else. Thus, a conflict with the dog owner is much less likely.
So far I am very happy with the Dazer II.