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Encountering dogs while riding

Sept. 3, 2015, 10:50 p.m.
Posts: 36
Joined: Sept. 3, 2015

I have always had a serious fear of dogs.
Day to day it's no problem, if I see one on the street I simply cross the road or separate myself from contact.

However,
I've noticed over the years that more and more riders are bringing along dogs for their rides, sometimes multiple dogs in a group. Not to mention the ever increasing amount of hikers and trail runners using the trails with their dogs in tow.

More often than not my encounters with dogs on the trails are sudden and unexpected. When this happens I can't help but panic and freak out; as straddling a bike on a narrow trail leaves me feeling quiet trapped.

This very reaction is often met with disgust from dog owners and in some cases verbal altercations.
I realize it is my problem, and the dog owners are responding to my reactions accordingly.

I'm just hoping someone could offer some advice to my predicament.

P.s. sorry if I have crossed paths with any of the dog owners on here :/

Sept. 3, 2015, 11:03 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: Aug. 12, 2007

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Or in all seriousness, maybe try and interact with some nice happy dogs in a controlled environment?

treezz
wow you are a ass

Sept. 3, 2015, 11:25 p.m.
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug. 20, 2010

Since you realize you have a problem, I think the post above is likely the right way to go. Just hang with some cool dogs, I gotta think that you'll relax around them eventually and can get over this.

I'm not sure that there's anything you can do during an actual encounter - maybe just admit to the owner that "sorry, I have an irrational fear of dogs" might help things out a bit.

A "freak out" of a reaction might get some dogs excited, which is NOT what you want (they aren't going to harm you, but they might become more interested in you). So, ignoring them and relaxing is the way to go, if you can get yourself to that place.

Sept. 3, 2015, 11:38 p.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: April 19, 2003

I know that most fears can not be simplified with a "get over it" type attitude. It does suck to have serious fears, and it can be down right debilitating sometimes.

Having a fear of dogs will in turn make the dog have a fear of you and the interaction can be very uncomfortable.

Have you spoken to a professional about doing something about this fear of dogs? It might help you out in your everyday life. If you can manage your fear a little better your rides and forest time will most likely improve.

I am a dog owner, but unlike many dog owners (wife included) I can see that everyone doesn't want to have a pooch around them and that's fair.

I don't know if you have children but to a lot of dog owners pets are just like their kids, so if you start yelling at or react to the dog negatively the owner takes it as negativity towards their kid.

I don't know if this helps but most of the time if people are riding there bike or walking on a popular trail with and unleashed dog the dogs is probably nothing to be concerned about. If that thought is in your head it might help ease your tension and have a better interaction with pooches and owners on the trail.

Also to many dog owners out there. If someone is loosing their shit about your dog near them it's probably a fear reaction so there is no need fuel the fire more than it already is.

I'm the best at being modest !

Sept. 3, 2015, 11:46 p.m.
Posts: 523
Joined: June 19, 2006

Most people who ride or walk their dogs off leash know their dogs and only do so because they know the dog isn't aggressive. I've had 2 trail dogs in the last 14 years and all be it a really bad encounter with an aggressive dog, that sent my dog to surgery, I haven't had a problem since. Best way "not" to have a dog take interest in you is ignore them. If you want them to take interest in you squeal like a 12 year old girl and jump around a lot. Now your interesting. At that point not only is the dog wondering what the hell your doing, so does the rest of the population. Just be cool and keep riding.

Master of Puppets

Sept. 4, 2015, 7:07 a.m.
Posts: 2099
Joined: April 22, 2006

Dogs are like mirrors. They sense fear and panic and respond in kind. If your calm and friendly to a dog you will get a far better reaction. Work on just asking owners on walks with their dogs on leash if you can pet the dog while focusing on staying relaxed. Work up from there.

Sept. 4, 2015, 8:34 a.m.
Posts: 739
Joined: May 25, 2005

Your description sounds exactly like how I once was.
Up until I was 20, I used to be terrified of dogs and would cross the street to avoid having to pass by them. My heart would race and I would start to panic just being in the vicinity of them.

For me, though, it was because I had never had any interactions with any dogs growing up. So it wasn't because I had been bitten or attacked or anything, I just didn't know what to expect. So I expected the worst!

What finally changed everything for me was my getting to know my best friend's dog, whom I had originally been so scared of that they had to lock him into the laundry room whenever I would visit. He was a Flat Coat Retriever (most harmless guy in the world!), but to me he was a scary ass big black dog!!

One day, he must have slipped out of the laundry room and halfway through dinner, I felt a soft warmth on top of my lap and when I looked down, he was giving me those big ol' puppy dog eyes and in that instant, I wanted to get to know him and give him a chance.

As I interacted more with him, and other friendly dogs, my fear lessened more and more.
Eventually (years later!), I actually wanted my own dog. Raising Huntley from puppyhood completely eradicated any traces of fear of dogs that I may have still had and completely turned me the other way, into a total dog lover! We're now onto our second dog.

The key is in understanding dogs, the signals that they give, and what to look for. Things like barking and stuff that may seem aggressive, but most of the time aren't. It changes everything when you know what you're seeing.

But I can still vividly remember what it was like to be gripped by that fear, and I always consider that when my dog is off leash and we encounter other people. I pretty much assume people are NOT going to be okay/comfortable around dogs instead of assuming that they will be. If I had come across off leash dogs on a trail, it would have petrified me back in the day, and I do not want to put someone else in that situation.

So my advice, if your fear was like mine (not triggered by any actual traumatic experience) then like others have suggested, try slowly interacting with calm friendly dogs of friends, in a calm controlled environment. Your life will be so much better for it! :)

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Sept. 4, 2015, 2 p.m.
Posts: 81
Joined: March 5, 2009

But I can still vividly remember what it was like to be gripped by that fear, and I always consider that when my dog is off leash and we encounter other people. I pretty much assume people are NOT going to be okay/comfortable around dogs instead of assuming that they will be. If I had come across off leash dogs on a trail, it would have petrified me back in the day, and I do not want to put someone else in that situation.

Congratulations on being the first dog owner in the history of dogs to recognize this!

Sept. 4, 2015, 2:42 p.m.
Posts: 207
Joined: Oct. 29, 2003

I am in the same boat. Serious dog phobia.

I know it's irrational because if I had to choose between going down a trail with a growling dog or going down a trail with a bear, I would go bear every time. I know it's in my head."Just don't be afraid and the dog will be cool" is not helpful advice to me

When I have a dog encounter, it is usually the biggest rush of adrenaline I have on the entire ride! If I hear barking in the distance, I have a hard time going towards it. The commercial dog walkers are the worst. A bunch leashes, 4 or 5 running free. Terrifying

I have had a roommate with a dog that was friendly, but it didn't help with my fear of dogs I don't know. I have come to grips with the fact that there is no fixing it. Do other people try to fix their phobias? Do people go hang out with snakes and spiders? It's tough for us, because no one ever brings their pet 2' tall spider to work and expects you to love and pet it.

I usually take the advice above and tell the dog owner "sorry, I have an irrational fear of dogs". They give me a look that says "we will never be friends" but usually are quick to bring their pooch under control.

Thanks for posting, it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

Sept. 4, 2015, 2:44 p.m.
Posts: 354
Joined: June 11, 2013

Dogs are like mirrors. They sense fear and panic and respond in kind. If your calm and friendly to a dog you will get a far better reaction. Work on just asking owners on walks with their dogs on leash if you can pet the dog while focusing on staying relaxed. Work up from there.

That is a great point. I have taught my nieces and nephews the "I'm a tree" trick with dogs. If they run, waive their arms, scream, etc all they do is excite the dog and it tries to 'play' with them. If they are afraid of a dog, or one approaches them, cross their arms, look up and say "I'm a tree". The dog ignores them.

Not saying this is a solution for you ! Just saying, dogs really respond in kind.

As for the other comments, I agree that some dog owners have to be more empathetic as to others out there. Most of us assume that people are okay with their dogs, but, a lot of people are not. It is your right to go hiking or biking without being bothered by a dog, a lot of owners forge that.

Sept. 4, 2015, 3:22 p.m.
Posts: 5635
Joined: Oct. 28, 2008

Wow, I didn't realize how common this is. You seriously cross the street? Wow. I would start with some form of professional counselling and then (when the counsellor feels the time is right) work on real life contact. Dogs are awesome and really do enjoy people. Even pitbulls (which I personally fear when they're around my much fluffier/docile type dog) have always enjoyed a pat from me.

Although when I see a total d-bag walking something tough looking I don't get too close. It's not the dog's fault though, it's the d-bag. But those encounters are rare.

Wrong. Always.

Sept. 4, 2015, 3:25 p.m.
Posts: 5635
Joined: Oct. 28, 2008

I will also note that some dogs seem to be spooked by bikes. Occassionally I will run across a dog that chases me as I ride but the owners usually do a good job of intervening. I have had to boot one or two in the chops though which is unnerving and unfortunate for all involved.

Wrong. Always.

Sept. 4, 2015, 3:26 p.m.
Posts: 5635
Joined: Oct. 28, 2008

I have always had a serious fear of dogs.
Day to day it's no problem, if I see one on the street I simply cross the road or separate myself from contact.

However,
I've noticed over the years that more and more riders are bringing along dogs for their rides, sometimes multiple dogs in a group. Not to mention the ever increasing amount of hikers and trail runners using the trails with their dogs in tow.

More often than not my encounters with dogs on the trails are sudden and unexpected. When this happens I can't help but panic and freak out; as straddling a bike on a narrow trail leaves me feeling quiet trapped.

This very reaction is often met with disgust from dog owners and in some cases verbal altercations.
I realize it is my problem, and the dog owners are responding to my reactions accordingly.

I'm just hoping someone could offer some advice to my predicament.

P.s. sorry if I have crossed paths with any of the dog owners on here :/

By the way, Lee or Sharon, it's great you're admitting this.

Wrong. Always.

Sept. 4, 2015, 3:29 p.m.
Posts: 663
Joined: March 9, 2005

FEAR= false evidence appearing real. Quite honestly work your way out of it. There are more and more dogs as more and more people think dogs belong everywhere that people do so you have 2 choice figure a way to get over it or shut your doors and lock them.

The raw, primitive, unrefined trails that see little to no maintenance are the kinds of trails that really build skill. What kind of skills do you learn riding a trail that was made by a machine, groomed to perfection and void of any rocks, roots or other obstacles that could send you careening over the handlebars?

Sept. 4, 2015, 5:34 p.m.
Posts: 2204
Joined: May 23, 2006

I carry bear spray.

“I really have had enough of illogical detraction by association as a way of avoiding logical argument by an absurd extension of ad hominem argument to third parties.”

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