Monthly Image: Nice Doggie

“He’s very friendly!”

“She won’t bite!”

That’s what all dog owners say when their dog lunges at you:

Dog Lunge - DCRT 2017-05-13
Dog Lunge – DCRT 2017-05-13

We sounded our usual bike bell dings while approaching and moved as far to the left as we could. The group compressed to the right, which was unusually courteous, we said nothing, and they said nothing while their dog barked and lunged at both of us.

Perhaps we are easily startled, but we do not regard lunging and barking as friendly or sociable gestures. Even as pedestrians, we do not want our crotches explored, our hands licked, or our chests pawed.

AFAICT the only reason Mary didn’t get knocked over and gnawed was a good grip on a thin leash. Maybe the dog would just lick her to death, but it’s still unwanted aggression.

From what I’ve read, dog shoulders operate as front-to-back rotating pivots, rather than all-direction ball joints. Disabling an attacking dog thus requires grabbing its front legs and spreading them as far apart as possible, which is feasible because human arms are much stronger laterally than dog legs. While the process brings one’s head entirely too close to the dog’s jaws, it apparently breaks most of the dog’s ribs, collapses its lungs, and instantly puts it out of action.

I devoutly hope I need never test that maneuver under field conditions, as I can see serious repercussions. If it’s in Mary’s face, however, I will not err on the side of generosity.

Protip: if your dog isn’t well-trained enough to completely ignore strangers, don’t bring it near strangers who may not be dog people.

9 thoughts on “Monthly Image: Nice Doggie

  1. Sir –

    I am a dog person and also ride a recumbent. When cyclists approach, the dog and I step off the trail and he sits while the parade goes by. He’s alert in case of stray food, but waits with butt firmly planted until given the release.


    p.s. when cyclists are overtaking, a bell or voice gives us time to move off the trail. Fast and quiet are a bad combination on a multi-use trail

    1. A tip o’ the helmet to ya!

      When we approach from the front, there’s usually no problem. Overtaking from the rear is awkward, at best, because pedestrian groups follow the Ideal Gas Law and expand to uniformly fill the space available.

      I ding the bell, rather than shout “Passing on your left!”, because (at least in my experience) women tend to startle at a loud, unexpected, and nearby male voice. Of course, the bell is completely ineffective with pedestrians wearing earbuds / headphones; “On your left!” rarely produces any result.

      Mary finds older male pedestrians, even minus earbuds, have trouble hearing either her bell or her voice.

      We try to be courteous …

    1. That’s my reference standard story on the subject!

      To the best of my knowledge & belief, nobody’s ever been mauled to death by a toy poodle or wienerdog. If you favor dogs bred to hunt & kill things, don’t be surprised when Bad Things happen.

      1. Maybe not to death but one landed me in the ER. The only reason the hellbeast isn’t a thin red smear is that I’m not licensed to carry on the Oregon side of the border. If I could torture every canine in existence to death I would enjoy every second.

        1. There goes another thing I thought I knew!

          Seeing as how poodles aren’t responsible for their haircuts, perhaps it held a grudge against humanity? [wince]

  2. David – I hope that’s hyperbole; torturing “every canine in existence” on the basis of a few bad dogs and owners seems a bit drastic.


    1. Nope. Nematoda, plasmodium, and Canis familiaris: three branches of the tree of life in desperate need of pruning.

      1. It’d help if Anopheles and Ixodes family reunions had fewer attendees, too …

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