By Pico Triano
Photos: Pico Triano and Pixabay
When we first started riding as a family, experience warned me that we would eventually have to deal with someone else's not so friendly canine companion. This isn't meant as a how to article, but just a recounting of a few of our experiences and how we handled them.
We created something we called the dog drill. While touring or training together, mom always took the lead and dad always brought up the rear. The kids were strung along between us. Not only were the kids told what they should be doing in the event of a dog “attack” but we practiced. When the cry would go up the kids would move away from the edge of the pavement allowing mom to drop back and dad to come forward getting between the imagined dog and the kids. Mom and dad would aggressively confront the dog.
In truth we didn't run into a lot of trouble. Most dog owners are responsible enough to know that they can get into a lot of trouble for their dog causing a stranger trouble on a public thoroughfare. On tour we've never had an encounter but we have had to use our training during several of our practice runs close to home.
The first time was frightening for the kids. The dog was a big mixed breed and in truth I think it was only looking for an exciting chase. It didn't get that. The kids were very small but did exactly as they had been taught. Dad saw it all coming and mom just followed her instincts. The dog didn't expect the show of force, screeched to a halt confused, looked for away around and then beat a retreat.
Our second round didn't happen until the gang were mostly in their teen. I'm glad this didn't happen when the kids were younger because this dog was a great deal more aggressive. I was tempted to make a complaint to the township for all the good it would have done. In this case we confronted the dog as a group. Six big humans yelling their heads off angrily was too much for this dog. We inched out of his territory before he back all the way off. I pity any lone unprepared cyclist who rode there because this might have required mace. We made a point of not passing there anymore on our practice runs.
We love animals but sometimes it pays to be prepared and careful.