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How can we protect ourselves--aggressive dog spinoff

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  • How can we protect ourselves--aggressive dog spinoff

    The horse killed by dogs thread got me thinking. I trail ride and I've run into some dogs that have run out and barked and postured. In fact I was out walking myself the other day and came down the road and here is a pack of four dogs, mostly small but one was a large mastiff hackles raised. Naturally nobody believes in keeping dogs on their property. *sigh*

    So what kind of things can we as riders do to protect ourselves and our horses where we're out on trails? I've thought about a whip but my horse is a bit skiddish about hearing the "whoosh" sound from the whip and I think I'd end up on my butt. Then there is the pepper spray idea--but what if there's a wind and my aim's not good?

    What else can I do to protect myself and my horse?

  • #2
    I've been thinking about this.... I think we're just going to have to start carrying pistols.... Honestly!

    Until existing laws on the books are enforced I don't know what else might be done. I like pit bulls--but a lot of the owners are irresponsible. I don't think pepper spray is really going to deter a pit bull.

    I just think many of people in this country have just gotten so complacent and don't care unless something happens to them. People who have jobs that entail enforcing the law need to step up to the plate and enforce them, prosecutors need to prosecute, dog owners need to take responsibility for their pets, if you see a stray--call someone whose job it is to cart them away. It's very sad but, in the end, the animals ultimately end up suffering.
    Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


    • #3
      If you run away from an aggressive dog, it will keep going after you. I have never had an issue when I ride towards the dog - just like the dog whisperer/pack leader style of claiming the food bowl or some other space, me and my horse claim the trail until the dog backs down and/or loses interest.


      • #4
        Pack a squirt gun full of full strength lemon juice. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE so your aim is good then, IF NEEDED, hit them in the eyes. Guarrantee the dogs will be too otherwise occupied to harass your horse. Lemon juice WILL sting but do no permanent damage. Bleach on the other hand...will blind them eliminating a dog problem forever. Its Sad the dogs need this kind of 'training' and my condolences to the girl who lost her horse.
        the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart


        • #5
          We trail ride on two 300 acre neighboring farms. One has hounds that roam the trails. They are horse friendly, but moderately dog friendly. My two German Shepherds like to trail ride and are not dog aggressive. If these dogs are out when we are they will attack my dogs. My older one will run back to the barn if she hears them howling in the woods. My younger one has not been attacked yet and sticks with us. Since we are being allowed to use their trails, I never say anything about their dogs, as they are not so agressive they would kill my dogs.
          I wonder if carrying a can of mace where now horse agressive dogs lurk would be the thing, though it would be hard to get the dog with your horse freaking out.

          Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA


          • #6
            lemon juice question

            Originally posted by macmtn View Post
            Pack a squirt gun full of full strength lemon juice. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE so your aim is good then, IF NEEDED, hit them in the eyes. Guarrantee the dogs will be too otherwise occupied to harass your horse. Lemon juice WILL sting but do no permanent damage. Bleach on the other hand...will blind them eliminating a dog problem forever. Its Sad the dogs need this kind of 'training' and my condolences to the girl who lost her horse.
            Does it have to be fresh lemon juice, or does the kind in bottles or squeeze thingies (Realemon I think it is called?) work OK? I agree with the last sentence too, so sad.
            Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 12, 2010, 09:42 AM. Reason: typo
            RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


            • #7
              I've gotten one lucky smack right on the muzzle with my crop, but I wouldn't want to rely on just that. I was on a pony and just happened to have good aim, and the dog was impressed enough by that to leave us alone (both that day and thereafter).

              There's little I dislike more strongly than people who refuse to contain their dogs. I hate to shoot the dog, because it's not his fault. I'd love to shoot the stupid owner, but I hear that's frowned upon.
              Full-time bargain hunter.


              • #8
                Hunting whip.... that's what they're for!

                If the whip is followed up by a phone call to the police to tell them that there's dangerous dogs out of control then the owner might also get to learn a lesson.


                • #9
                  Like your mom probably told you when you were five, never run from a dog. There are probably a few cases where running might work (very small dog and fast horse?) but typically it just arouses the chase instinct and encourages them.

                  I always turn to face the dog(s) and ride at them at a trot. Helps that my horse is not afraid of dogs anyway, and is pasture-aggressive to them. But even a frightened horse would only be more frightened if encourage to flee. Every dog I've met will move away if you charge it on a horse, and that gives the horse courage. If the dog is near its own property it will usual retire back to "safe" ground. If the dog is off its property it will usually not have as much courage anyway. If you are trespassing on *its* property, then it will usually have more courage.

                  In packs, go for the leader. A college friend was once cornered while walking in a rural area in a third world country by a pack of feral dogs. In desperation he used his camera on it's strap like a weapon and swung it full strength at the lead dog, hitting it in the head. Broke the camera. Dog shrieked and ran away, and the rest of the pack followed.

                  There will always be a small number of dogs that are so aggressive they won't be intimidated, but they are pretty far and few between.

                  Getting to know the territory where you ride and where the problems may lie would help. We know the four annoying dogs along our routes. All of them are yappers who will run up behind the horses and act scary and work up the courage to nip at heels, but if you turn and run at them, they cower and skitter home.


                  • #10
                    Straight vinegar and/or pure horseradish juice also works in squirt guns. Or a spray bottle set to stream and not spray or mist.
                    Horseradish juice you get in a grocery...you need a couple/three bottles of pure ground horseradish (not horseradish sauce) and then strain/squeeze the juice out into a squirt gun. Store in fridge until you take it with you.

                    Or a long cattle prod...A Stock Shock or similar. Highest voltage you can find, make sure to keep fresh batteries around. They have 30+ inch long types that should deliver enough juice to deter most dogs.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!


                    • #11
                      Thank you so much for starting this thread...thought about this all night, the fact I have (had) no idea what to do if encountering horse-aggressive dogs on a trail. I will definitely remember to charge at them.


                      • #12
                        A hunting whip.

                        But you have to learn how to use it, and get your horse whip broke.

                        Seriously, that's what they're used for. Not to be cruel to dogs, but to be a noisemaker - the CRACK sound will cause a dog to "lift" (to get his attention or to break his concentration on something he's not supposed to be doing).

                        Or, to use it on the dog in case of dogs fighting, or in your case, to stop dogs from attacking you.

                        It's an extension of your arm - to reach out to the ground from your horse - without dismounting or exposing yourself to danger.

                        BUT - it takes a lot of practice for your and your horse.

                        They are designed to be carried while holding reins. The lash is kept coiled, and the crop is balanced in your hand.

                        I don't think it will stop a determined pack of dogs from attacking you, but as a deterrent?

                        Heck yeah. Just that sound will stop a lot of dogs, but if not - that leather cracking on their skin sure will. Ouch.

                        I am told that one is not permitted to whip stupid dog owners. Quite a shame. They sure could use it.

                        For a dog with a strong prey drive - something running away from them just increase that drive. (ever seen dogs that chase cars?)

                        But read the dog's body language. Nothing wrong with charging a dog - but use harsh, stern language, and protect your horse with your whip - but just be very very very careful. Free ranging or feral dogs react very differently than poopsy napping on the sofa.
                        Last edited by JSwan; Mar. 12, 2010, 10:28 AM. Reason: typo
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling


                        • #13
                          Bicycle shops sell a spray that works every time.

                          You need to be careful and not let the spray get in your horse's eyes.

                          For the more aggressive rider, a .22 pistol with rat shot will do the job.

                          The most effective if you don't care about maintaining a relationship with the owner would be a letter from your lawyer.

                          Something like: If Ms. xxx falls from her horse as a result of the continuing aggressive behavior of your dogs and your lack of interest in your dog's behavior.....

                          Most horses will accept the .22 pistol before they will the hound whip.

                          You MUST use a revolver, not an auto. Load every other chamber in the cylinder so that if in the excitement of an attack you do not have an accidental discharge. In a real attack if the horse is scared and jumps around, you will grip the revolver tightly which could cause a misfire.

                          Of course you must live in a jurisdiction that allows either open carry or you must have a CC.

                          Hanging a holster on a breast plate strap works well.



                          • #14
                            Dick's Sporting Goods carries pellet guns - I think they are air pistols. No permit required. I would not practice the slightest bit of humaneness if a dog came after my horse. Go back to the dog killer thread and read about the pitbulls I owned. It's on the last page right now.

                            And I do not believe trotting towards a threatening dog will help. I can tell you that if I try to intimidate my 12 lb Jack Russell, she will lunge at me. So, I would not put it past a dog who doesn't know me to not lunge at me or my horse.

                            Did have one come at my horse while we were walking by. Owner was with dog. My horse very athletically lept up behind and scooted off - the act alone surprised the dog because I think he almost nailed the dog. I yelled at the man that he better get his dog before it got kicked. He finally got the damn thing.

                            "If you have the time, spend it. If you have a hand, lend it. If you have the money, give it. If you have a heart, share it." by me


                            • #15
                              Dogs come at us all the time, barking and charging. We usually just keep going and the horses ignore them, or kick at the dogs if they get too close. If they persist or are very aggressive, my gelding loves the "get 'em" game of turning and chasing them. They do usually run away.

                              For those that don't, you'd be suprised at how many dogs will retreat when you talk to them like you're their owner. I'm a former animal control officer and I've had huge, aggressive pit bulls stop harassing me when I yell "QUIT, UH-HUH, NOOOO" in a firm, aggressive voice". If that doesn't work, sometimes using the silly puppy voice works. Act like you're talking to a cute, fluffy puppy and in a sing-song voice say "what are you doing, you silly puppy" or something like that. I've seen it turn a hackled, snarling dog into a wagging bundle of love. Worth a try.


                              • #16
                                Buy one of these types of horses:


                                Or use the Pirate Approach, use a parrot:

                                or a Ninja Cat:
                                You jump in the saddle,
                                Hold onto the bridle!
                                Jump in the line!


                                • #17
                                  Most dogs I've run across while riding will not come close if I tell them in a harsh/stern voice to "Go away" or "Go Home" or chase them.

                                  However, my last encounter with a pit bull changed that dramatically. This dog was NOT about to leave and took it as a challenge when I started riding towards him. So I stoped and continued telling him to "Get away". His owner was coming (we were out in the boonies) but the dog was not listening and actually came up and lunged at my horse! Missed latching on to her by inches since I turned her away (good thing she's great with leg cues). I really lit into the owner when she finally came up and got her dog (she had two dogs; the other one DID return to her when I started yelling at them).

                                  Now, I'm going to start carrying something. But I want something that will stop the dog BEFORE it gets to me and my horse. I was thinking about pepper spray or mace, but the dog has to be close enough for me to spray it and I don't want it that close. So I guess it's going to be some type of gun, unless I can get better with my rope.

                                  I like dogs and I like pits; but I have little faith in many pit owners, especially in my neighborhood. That incident really scared me.


                                  • #18
                                    I have also had great success with riding directly towards an irritating and/or aggressive dog - coming straight at them at a brisk trot works wonders on their attitude.

                                    I would agree that there are dogs out there who would see that as a challenge and then you'd have a problem. Are the laws about chasing/harassing livestock still applicable if said livestock were being ridden at the time?


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                                      Does it have to be fresh lemon juice, or does the kind in bottles or squeeze thingies (Realemon I think it is called?) work OK? I agree with the last sentence too, so sad.
                                      nope just the concentrated bottled kind will work fine. Cheaper the better..You can dilute it if your feeling sorry for the dogs (NOT!). Its the acidity in the lemon juice that burns the eyes..
                                      This is safer for both you and your horse than a gun or pepper spray or mace.
                                      the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart


                                      • Original Poster

                                        A good squirt gun with lemon juice does sound like a good idea if I can practice my aim. Or maybe something like a pellet gun?

                                        Thanks for all of the ideas.

                                        One time my old horse was being bitten by a JRT and riding towards it worked but as soon as I turned around the stupid thing would go back to nipping his heels. Why my horse didn't kick him I don't know but I wished he would.

                                        My lusitano is pretty aggressive. He beat up a chow chow that came in the pasture. But I don't know if he'd do that while I'm riding you know? I hope he would protect himself!