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Hi All. Thoroughly enjoyed my first short camino from Ferrol to Santiago. One small item that
I felt should have been mentioned was the amount of guard dogs. It seemed like every other house had one, from small yappers to dirty great bears with tales, one that I didnt see made a laboured roar like some tortured minotaur.
I'm not especially scared of dogs but on one occasion as I was walking through a tiny hamlet, a dirty great black husky type thing made me jump but as I walked past, 20 yards ahead of me was an english bull terrier on the road out of its enclave. I stopped and avoided eye contact as they say in the books, but the first husky thing had got the bull'ies dander up and he was up for it. Luckily the owner showed up an sorted out the bully. But just then about 3 foot above my head came a massive woof as a large german shepard was stood on a wall above me. I could have soiled myself. 3 mean mutts had me cornered.
Ergo, I wish I'd had a dog whistle on me. There small and light and some iPods have an app with a dog whistle.
Next is the purist/hardcore camino primitivo, although I fancy a bike.
Many thanks. Buy all
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Point taken - although I'm not sure there are more guard dogs in rural Spain than rural Anywhere but I know from my own experience how frightening a loud bark can be from an unexpected and unseen dog. Perhaps it is something we just get used to but I know what you mean especially on a quiet route like the Ingles with few other pilgrims - but that seems to be changing.
I have had some terrifying dog moments and i'm not sure a whistle would work. At least in Spain it seems that generally the dogs are either chained up (not that i approve of that exactly) or more likely behind a fence. I've seen few on the loose and they are usually either friendly or pulled away by their owners pretty quickly. As terrifying as it is having huge dogs barkling at you the best you can do is just keep on walking quickly and try not to look at them, they'll soon shut up as soon as you get out from what they regard as "their" guard area...
By contrast in France on the Le Puy route the dogs were rarely contained and allowed to roam loose and were sometimes very aggressive. They are trained as guard dogs, will lie on the drive or outside the property and I on several occasions I had to physically shout and wave my stick very aggressively to fend off attack, in one particularly unfriendly farm (many warning dangerous bulls, keep off pilgrms signs etc) I had to stand my ground and edge around two very aggressive and absolutely huge dogs that came withing a few centimetres of biting me! The only way I got past in the end was in absolute fear as one of them made a lunge for me I jerked my arm (which happened to be holding my stick) more from shock than anything which appeared as if i was going to hit the dogs at which point they backed off just enough for me to get past and off down the path!! Honestly after France I find the barking dogs behind gates and fences in Spain a welcome relief!!
That said this year in Purrino I was walking past the smallest dog in the world which was with its owner on a lead and it suddenly went mad and attacked my feet! I was actually wearing sandals but luckily it bit the sandals and although I felt its teeth it didn't actually get my feet!! Which just shows you can never be too careful...!
Basically, don't look them in the eye, walk on as fast as possible and make it clear you are heading out of their area.
If you are attacked, stand your ground backing clearly away along the path, hold your stick up and shout loudly and affirmatively. I have never had to hit a dog (and i'm not sure if i could) but waving the stick at them usually gives you enough room to get past.

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