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Big Bad Dog on CP just before Alverca do Ribatejo

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug 1, 2019)
I just biked the CP backwards from SDC to Lisbon. This happened yesterday, September 28, 2019 on a normal south to north walker’s first or second day out of Lisbon. The place is just before a south to north walker will come to Alverca do Ribatejo (the town where you have to go up stairs into a train station to cross the railroad tracks). In fact, my heart was still pounding from schlepping my bike up and down those stairs when I was chased by the Big Dog. This, my last day, was my only serious dog chasing on the entire CP and CF.

You will go thru miles where you’re on dirt paths thru fields. You will come to a place where the CP (at least the Wise Pilgrim CP app I was using) wants you to go down a very thin dirt path thru a field where the sign outside it (from my N to S side, don’t know about the side a S to N walker would be coming from) says “PRIVATE PROPERTY” (in Portuguese). In that field is a large white Mastin (those big farm dogs you see everywhere that come in all colors and look St. Bernardish). I saw him but was hurrying to get to Lisbon and didn’t want to take the time to figure out a workaround. He just laid there til I was right near him, then started chasing. I hauled a$$ and prayed I wouldn’t fall while cooing “Good dog, you’re a good dog, see I’m leaving, good boy.” I didn’t look back or even down cuz my eyes were glued to navigating the path at high speed but I think he stopped at the property line. Don’t know if he’d go after a walker but if he did, you couldn’t ride fast to escape. I don’t recommend it.
Suzanne
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
A timely reminder Suzanne. Thanks

The dog may have been trying to tell you that you are riding the wrong way :) or maybe it just likes chasing moving things like bikes and cars. Maybe it has learned that if I chase bikes, the rider pedals really fast!

There are some very good online links suggesting advice about what to do if you encounter a dog - not just for on the Camino but anywhere such as while out and about in parks, on the beach or walking the streets, etc.

For the record, I absolutely adore dogs but until I get to know a dog, I don't trust it at all and do not assume anything. For example, a lot of bites are caused by dogs reacting to someone who tries to pat them.

You just don't know the life journey that that dog has had before you meet it, so it's best to assume nothing and be prepared by knowing what the recommended suggestions are and always by having a treat such as a biscuit or something that you can offer or distract if necessary.

On my first camino, I was confronted by a big alsatian type of dog on the trail. He wasn't agressive as such but wasn't afraid of me either. I was unable to 'read' this dog's intentions, so I just stood still, avoiding direct eye contact and letting him sniff my trousers (I have a dog at home and figured he could probably smell that dog on my trousers). He eventually lost interest in me and I continued very slowly at first in the direction that I was heading. Unfortunately, I'd eaten all my biscuits that day. Maybe it wanted a biscuit?

You have to be wary with dogs but more so especially where they are used to protect land, property and stock and when you are in their territory.

Also, I think I would be very, very wary of any dog pack that I see running wild. Where I live, (Northern N.S.W, Australia) we unfortunately do have a feral dog problem, and very recently, somebody's cow was killed by a pack of dogs. Whether these were domesticated dogs that had formed a pack at night or were feral dogs wild, no-one knows. We have been questioned about our dog (an old geriatric lovable labrador aged 13 years, lives inside with us 24/7) and then warned that baiting is going to occur nearby.

For the record bedbugs and mad european drivers worry me more than dogs.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug 1, 2019)
The dog may have been trying to tell you that you are riding the wrong way :)
Funny you should say that first thing because many times on the Camino, a dog barking at my presence was my first clue that I was going the wrong way.👌
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
My dog-speak is below average, but my experience with Pyrenees breed dogs has always been positive. They are more friendly than hostile except when protecting their flock. If the dog had long hair (Mastiffs have short hair and a more aggressive personality), I do not think you were in danger. Pyrenees roam free because they are working dogs, useless if tethered. I am always more concerned with the ankle biters, yappy dogs that dash in and out in a frenzy of aggression. They never have anything to protect, and seem bred to simply annoy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug 1, 2019)
My dog-speak is below average, but my experience with Pyrenees breed dogs has always been positive. They are more friendly than hostile except when protecting their flock. If the dog had long hair (Mastiffs have short hair and a more aggressive personality), I do not think you were in danger. Pyrenees roam free because they are working dogs.
This dog was a MastiN not a MastiFF. You don’t see Mastins in the U.S. (I am a veterinarian) but they’re extremely popular in Spain / Portugal as farm and property protectors, not necessarily flocks. They’re long haired and look / act a lot like Pyrenees, but come in all different colors. Indeed if it was a Mastiff, I would have never tried to ride by him. 👌
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I just biked the CP backwards from SDC to Lisbon. This happened yesterday, September 28, 2019 on a normal south to north walker’s first or second day out of Lisbon. The place is just before a south to north walker will come to Alverca do Ribatejo (the town where you have to go up stairs into a train station to cross the railroad tracks). In fact, my heart was still pounding from schlepping my bike up and down those stairs when I was chased by the Big Dog. This, my last day, was my only serious dog chasing on the entire CP and CF.

You will go thru miles where you’re on dirt paths thru fields. You will come to a place where the CP (at least the Wise Pilgrim CP app I was using) wants you to go down a very thin dirt path thru a field where the sign outside it (from my N to S side, don’t know about the side a S to N walker would be coming from) says “PRIVATE PROPERTY” (in Portuguese). In that field is a large white Mastin (those big farm dogs you see everywhere that come in all colors and look St. Bernardish). I saw him but was hurrying to get to Lisbon and didn’t want to take the time to figure out a workaround. He just laid there til I was right near him, then started chasing. I hauled a$$ and prayed I wouldn’t fall while cooing “Good dog, you’re a good dog, see I’m leaving, good boy.” I didn’t look back or even down cuz my eyes were glued to navigating the path at high speed but I think he stopped at the property line. Don’t know if he’d go after a walker but if he did, you couldn’t ride fast to escape. I don’t recommend it.
Suzanne

Remember, you don’t have to be able to pedal faster than the dog can run - you just need to be able to pedal faster than one other cyclist who’s in the same vicinity.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug 1, 2019)
Remember, you don’t have to be able to pedal faster than the dog can run - you just need to be able to pedal faster than one other cyclist who’s in the same vicinity.
Lol I saw exactly one other cyclist going my way the whole 14 days I was out. And he was on one of those short stumpy little Bike Fridays. 😈
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Lol I saw exactly one other cyclist going my way the whole 14 days I was out. And he was on one of those short stumpy little Bike Fridays. 😈
Oh well, that’s the dog fed for at least a week!
 

Old Kiwi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2019
SdC to Muxia and Fisterra 2019
Camino Portuguese "2021"
In June this year, very early in the morning, my daughter and I heard a dog barking just around the corner on the trail. Around the corner was a farm dog standing in the middle of the trail and barking at a very tall (I would say about 6'3" (1.87m) Asian guy in his early 20s. Just then the dog walked towards the guy and he ran back down the trail towards us. He looked terrified and said that he had been there for about 15 minutes and the dog would not let him past. I have owned and trained dogs all my life and this dog showed no signs of aggression. I explained to him the signs of aggression and suggested he just walk past quietly with us. He did not want to do so but my daughter just took him by the hand and set off with him in tow. Of course we had no problems but it was funny to see this tall guy being helped by my daughter who is just 4'9" (1.45m)
At one stage we stayed at Casa Sabrina which is a farmhouse with a converted barn for pilgrim accommodation. We saw a small plaque on the wall saying not to encourage dogs to follow you if you find them on the trail as they are not lost, but will be if you let them follow you a long way from home. We had never seen this type of sign before. Would you believe that early the next morning we had a dog attach itself to us. We tried very hard to make it stop following us but it was a very laid back dog and took no notice. After about 5 kilometres I was getting a bit worried about it. The trail came to a road and there was an SUV parked on the side of the road with the back door open. As we approached it the dog just wandered over and jumped into the vehicle as if it did so every day. I said "hello" to the driver but all I got was a glum look. Later when we were at Fisterra I recounted this story to some pilgrims we were having a wine with and one of the women there said that she also stayed at the albergue, read the sign and also had the same dog (we showed her the photo) follow her until getting into the SUV some kilometres later. It all happens on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Remember, you don’t have to be able to pedal faster than the dog can run - you just need to be able to pedal faster than one other cyclist who’s in the same vicinity.
Or someone walking. The only time I had a dog problem when walking the France was when one came past chasing two cyclists! Obviously, I was slower and easier to catch.
 

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