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"Dogs usually will not approach you when they see you carrying a pole or a walking stick. Don't worry if they bark, but they could bite you if they growl. In that event do not hurry on, run, or show fear. Raise your hand holding the stick, and cry out loud: "a casa!" Sometimes they go away. Protect yourself by striking the pole upwards/downwards, so that you have time to repeat your cry. If you get bitten, go to a doctor or pharmacy and afterwrds fill out a report with the nearest Guardia Civil Post."
Jose Manuel Crespo, former mountain climbing instructor, pilgrim, and member of the Asociacion de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Madrid.
Hike 30+ miles on California’s Santa Catalina Island as part of the Catalina Camino
I have finished a part of the Way, and at any moment I have had danger with the dogs.. This photo have been taken 4 days again, near to Santiago.-
Don´t worry-

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From my friend, peregrina Ana:

Ok, I did meet a pack of dogs coming out of a little
village near Ganzo, in Galicia. Fortunately, I was not
alone on that stretch (I'd've been terrified if I
was). I forget the name of the village, we just passed
through it.

We were walking along the path, already outside of the
village -- typical gallego village in every way --
when a pack of five or six dogs started running toward
us. We had then stopped right before leaving the
village proper where John, the other pilgrim, was
adjusting his pack, quite calm. He said don't worry,
they won't bother us.

I said, "Uuuh ... I think they ARE bothering us,
they're running toward us!"

He replied, still calm, "Well, we have our sticks."

That didn't provide me with any comfort. I was scared
and they continued running, heading down the main path
now toward us. And you know how dogs are with fear.

Then, blessedly, the dogs' owner called them back and
they turned around. But that was very, very close. I'm
not sure we would have been able to fight off five or

six rather large dogs determinedly aiming toward us

Then, on a meseta-like path (but before the actual
Meseta), I was alone -- totally alone, no one near --
when I saw two dogs aiming along, just walking. I
tried to look as calm as possible as I turned down a
path that was kind of off the actual Camino. But they
ignored me and walked on. (whew!) So after a decent
interval, I turned back to the Camino path and they
had disappeared.

My other canine experiences were all positive. Once, I
tripped and fell down in the main street in
Castrojeriz, got scraped a bit and they patched me up
in one of the main bars there.

A lovely German shepherd wanted to walk with me when I
continued on. The bar owners said he'd accompany me to
Mostelares, he was a pilgrim dog. Oooohhh, I WISH I
remembered his name now because he was actually a
well-known perro peregrino. He supposedly died that
same season.

The other time, I walked some etapas with a couple of
Austrian girls accompanied by two dogs, one large and
one small. I got a chance to see what real perro
peregrinos were like to be in charge of.

I did feel for them, in the heat of those sections.
But they were fed and rested well, and did get lots of

Those were my canine experiences. I'm still somewhat
afraid of dogs along the Way, especially if I ever
decide to do some in France.


xm 8)
I have great experience being a postie with dogs. don't freak and get scared, they sense it, use a calming voice and talk to them.
or do as shirley maclean did - visualize a heart and send them love. it does alter their behavior.
... or get yourself some real mean pepper spray and zap the bastards ...

Howie - who as an innocent child and again later as an adolescent was bitten really bad by ill tempered, angry, stupid ol' hairy McLairy's. Hate these buggers. They bite /bark the one end and sh** the other end - and when they're dead you can't even eat 'em...
What do you do if the the dog is 'focused' on taking a chunk out of you-send out more love?
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True, nico500. But "lo cortes no quita lo valiente," dog attacks/bites are always a possibility. Pilgrims need to be aware of this. In my experience, there hasn't been one Camino where I haven't had to protect myself from a pack of K9s. Best, xm 8)
I'm sure it's always a possibility, but I've never seen any dog attacks on the Camino. Not saying it never happens, just that I've never seen it. Over here in the UK, I'm a runner. There's a similarly common rant about dogs and their bites. I suspect they're isolated incidents that only serve to stimulate further concerns... Well, that's the way I see it, anyway! Might be being a little naive, here, but...

Buen Camino!
I was suffering from not being able to get my words out in any sensible fashion! Tired after a weekend of biking :(
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Miankey & Howie

Minkey, sorry, my post was meant for Howie re: his remark about "pepper spray," etc, no disrespect meant for the animal kingdom, please, y'all! Should have put his name on my post. Best, xm 8)
To state it loud and clear: I would never do any harm to a dog (or any other animal). I'm one of this silly guys who picks up aimlessly wandering, desperatly wriggling earthworms in his carport to carry them over where they belong to: the garden.

So - no hard feelings about doggies either.

Except he's trying to bite off a chunk from my bum...

Well. Instead of pepper spray I better get meself a nice pilgrims pole (about six foot five high and half a stone of weight = very handy) so I can whack the buggers on teir noggin to remind them: "DON'T. YOU. BITE. PILGRIMS. Wait until a politician comes along..."

Sarcasm off.
(Sarcasm cum cynisism being my second self, sorry foks...)

I really wonder about the truth about the dogs on the Camino francès. There are so many totally different statements, ranging from "they always attack me (howl)" to "they never attack me (grin)". Can't we find a way to find out more? Like a survey "Got bitten, yes", "No, didn't even see a dog", "Saw dogs, all harmless" or something that?
With one exception all the dogs I saw were chained. The one who wasn't was a perfectly friendly perro-grino who met me on a rainy morning when I was in a bit of a bad mood, and walked with me for a few hours until I'd cheered up. Then he turned around and went back (I presume) to where I'd met him, to cheer someone else up.[/img]
ok guys, except for afew of you, it seems that the men freak about dogs. What do other women think?? It is the same in the post office, guess who wears the pepper stray. What do i use, my great personality!!!! Oh course if i feel a threat i do not go into their yards, NO MAIL TODAY!!!
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I have 2 doggies, so I'm used to them. Things to know about strange dogs: DON'T STARE! It's a sign of aggression. Learn dog body language and act accordingly. If the dog seems friendly, hold out your hand for it to sniff, but don't pet it (yet). The dog will let you know if it will let you pet it. Never, EVER hold out your hand HIGHER than the dog's head (even if it's acting friendly).

And so on.

In Logrono last year I had dinner with a jolly gentleman named Mike who was bitten by a small dog in St Jean Pied de Port as he was approaching the town. I saw the healed wound. He said the dog's owner saw the incident and did nothing.

Well personally I'm more afraid of cows with horns. Lots of them in Galicia.

The dogs I encountered on the VDLP were obviously there to guard houses or groups of animals in fields. I'd err on the side of caution and not assume that they are household pets looking for a friendly pet. Some were truly vicious and almost ripped hefty chains out of the ground trying to get at me.

Has anyone had any experience with using a high frequency (training) whistle? It seems to fall someplace between pepper spray and 'good vibes', and its size and weight seem more attractive than a 6ft staff. It just occured to me as I was reading these comments. My plan was to bring a bull whip; fast, accurate, non-lethal (mostly). I leave in a week! Buen camino, VP.
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Buen Camino :!:

xm 8)
XM, Don't worry, i still have one of your posts to reply to, afew weeks back now, when i get untied!!
ps. sounds alittle kinky , believe me a am a sweet cdn angel. the dog conversation got me stirred up. all in good fun.
dawn, what, me worried :!: Hey, "get untied," look forward to hearing from you.
the dog conversation got me stirred up. all in good fun.
I hear u, ditto here. I cracked up re: ur post about the bullwhip :lol: :!: Best :arrow: xm 8)
Dealing with dogs

Spanish dogs are less of a problem than French ones but can occasionally be troublesome. Walkers will find a stick useful for a number of reasons, including keeping a dog at bay. Keep away from sheep and cattle being guarded by dogs and don't turn your back on dogs until at a safe distance. Avoiding eye contact is another tip. It is possible to buy a special alarm that emits a high-pitched noise that is supposed to stop a dog in its tracks; the cost is around £30. The word used to get dogs to 'sit' or 'lie down' is tumbate! said with authority. A1992 pilgrim said she just ignored dogs, pretended they weren't there and had no trouble. Source: Telegraph on line newspaper
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Dawn - we can exchange notes and respective experiences about dogs, bed bugs and "bull whip armed pilgrims" next summer after my Camino. We come to Vancouver Island in June/July 2008 for holidays, visiting friends up in Nanoose Bay etc. Other friends from Vancouver Island, a canadian/kiwi couple, come to our place (in NZ) for housesitting next week, while we are away in Europe. World is small, eh...
Howie, You are most welcome in Victoria, please take down my email address. Your journey will be interesting. One of my favorite countries is NZ, i have been there 3 times, the longest being for 4 months, travelling both islands. It is a little BC.
Have fun in Europe.
NZ is a nice country but their biggest export is New Zealanders to Australia so we like t think of it as our 8th state. Lots of sheep too,but that's another story
Hear hear, Omar - the voice from our "West Island"...

Just to let you know Omar - after our trip to Europe we will come to Oz for three weeks to visit friends in the hills south of Brisbane. Eh? Wozzat? No. Not to retaliate. We come in peace. And we won't stay either. Too many people over there. Oz-superannu isn't exciting too. That will change in NZ shortly, KiwiSaver is on it's way. Biggest ripoff in living history... But that is really a different story.

Dawn - we will stay in touch via this forum (thanks to Ivar, great job) because I will have endless questions when getting near "the date". I plan to have everything organized by the end of November (after our short trip to Australia), flights, accomodation, luggage transport and so on. We plan to fly to Zurich from where we go to one of my countless daughters in Freiburg/Germany (near the Swiss border), I will fly on, after having cured my jetlag, to Lyon/Bayonne and from there via taxi to SJPdP where "it" starts. In Santiago I intend to stay one or two days in a nice hotel close to the cathedral (to get my bearings back) rent a car and make a trip to Finisterre - never been there. Then I fly Santiago to Palma di Mallorca where my dear wife is waiting for me in a rented finca to spoil me rotten (and cure my poor dehydrated body, blistered feet and dog bites - kiwis don't get sunburned). After that, around mid of June, we fly up to Canada, Vancouver to be exact. Rent a car, cross the ditch to Vancouver Island, visit friends and explore. We will fly back from Vancouver to NZ around 4 weeks or so later. Still looking for a housesitter, though...
Howie, suggestion, WALK to Finnisterre carrying your pack. Would you believe this section was one of the best parts of Galica, less people., VERY WELL RUN albergues. AND A REAL COOL certificate, (need to walk there) then the hike out to the lighthouse, (with bottle wine and old clothes) watch the sunset (10:30pm) glass wine. The clothes are torched!!! A very special place!!
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Don't ask me why - but the spiritual part of me (or what's left of it) insistently tells me to walk from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela - and not an inch less nor one more. I am to walk alone. And I am to listen. It tells me not to start somewhere else nor to stop somewhere else. I intend to stick with it. Many times in my live I did things without obvious need, context or reason - only to realize much later what it was good for. And the consequences always, without any exception, have been positive to my spiritual being (again that word...). Funny, eh?

And, by the way, I won't apply for or have a credential or a compostela either. The whole experience is to be made by me, for me and the results and consequences are to be logged away only in me poor ol' noggin. Not even my kids don't know about me planning to walk the Camino francès. Sometimes I really wonder if I'm still in my right mind. But I'm absolutely, definitely, 100% sure about one thing: It will change me - positively. Why I know that? As I said here so many times before: buggered if I know...

I have seen the MUST SEE sunsets in different parts of the world (Cap Sounion, Key West, Grand Canyon etc. pp - not to mention countless breathtaking sunsets from where we live. Just doesn't appeal to me to share that with a horde of people I don't know. Definitely won't burn my clothes. Might be hilariously interesting for some, but is absolutely meaningless to me. I like the "bottle of wine" part, though...

Oh - and I will not bring a stone from NZ up to this cross...
It's a traditional thing on the Camino that one goes it with one idea and then things turn out to be totally the opposite of what was (un)imagined. U will know while on the Road what gives and where and how far & for how long ur body will, by then, take u.


xm, i believe howie is having his trek PLANNED and staying in hotels, so howie will each night be planned? i also understand for you to send your pack on, so you will be depending on others. nothing wrong with that. we each have our own journey. FLEXIBLITY is really important, i believe.
I hope you don't get disappointed by KNOWING it will change you 100%. Realizations show up when we least except it, and there is no KNOWING THIS until the walk is over.
Bringing a rock is part of the experience, this can be in honor of someone who can't walk, someone who has passed on. I only ask you to be open to new experiences.
So my question: why the camino frances, if you want to be alone , no one around, not interested in the religious aspect, there are way more choices to walk then this VERY POPULAR route, especially in galicia, when bus loads of people start to walk the last 100 miles.
Well you have one year before you go......................................
dg, I hear you. As you say:
we each have our own journey.

"...the spiritual part of me...tells me to walk from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de walk listen."

Follow your bliss, peregrino.

Buen Camino,

xm :arrow:
Dawn of a new Day said:
... i believe howie is having his trek PLANNED ...
No. There is no plan. But for 5 weeks I have to leave every day a predetermined place A to walk to a predetermined place B (matter of fact by this definition the entire Camino is "predetermined"), because:

Dawn of a new Day said:
... and staying in hotels ...
Yes. Damn sure I am... And definitely on my own. The whole night, including dinner, sleep, and rest. I'm really looking forward to this self chosen solitude. I'm not interested in dinner talks. Remember: I will come to listen.

Everything what will happen in between places A and B is my decision only, so there is plenty of flexibility. And I can leave and walk whenever I feel like. I do not have to rush to the next albergue at 3:30 in the monring to get a bed for the next night. Unbearable thought, that.

Dawn of a new Day said:
... why the camino frances, if you want to be alone, no one around, not interested in the religious aspect ...
Good question and actually asked by my dear wife too. But as I have said so many times before: buggered if I know... The "beckoning"? Probably. May be. No idea. Does it matter? Not to me.

Your'e right, Dawn, I will have my luggage transported. As I said before.: because of an old spinal injury poor old me can't carry a backpack - no bloody way - hence the transport. Simple as that.

Can't I walk the Camino just for me? Only me? Alone? To "listen" /whatever that means, still have to find out)? Or are there rules to obey like "the exciting (sic!) social and unexpected contacts to other pilgrims bla bla bla..."? So what when I'm not interested in that? Am I being antisocial? Bad character? Don't think so.

Will think about the stone, though. Nice thought about doing it as a gesture for someone else who can't walk the path. That appeals to me. Guess I do it. Thank you.
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi Howie,

in canada here, predetermined and planned mean the same thing. By saying your trip is "planned" I Meant that your overnight accomodation is booked, not what you do inbetween these points.
Now how about those dogs!!
Yes. Sorry. My fault.

Now back to the topic - the dogs.


(Very interesting conversation, though. Thank you all. And I beg your pardon for going astray)
To smile - that's the whole idea in life, Dawn.


Maybe that's the right way ("ride way"?) to walk the Camino - all predetermined - by da doggie guide:

Here's an old runner's trick that's worked for me on several occasions: When you see an angry, growling dog, immediately scoop up a handful of stones and begin throwing them near its feet one by one. Dogs get very intimidated by the act of throwing. And of course, shout at it.

But maybe a huge staff works better, from what I'm hearing.

The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I used to do a lot of long-distance cycling about - erm- 30 years ago, when dogs for some strange reason had the tendency to be driven wild by the sound of a bicycle, and chase cyclists. It happened to me quite a few times back then, and I am not a person who has ever had a problem with dogs in any other circumstance. It is strange, because I still ride the same bike (Claud Butler, my old friend), and dogs don't turn a hair any more. Anyone have an explanantion?

When I was 17 I was told an old biker's technique of incapacitating said dogs by a chap who had ridden the Tour de France in the 1950's - but thankfully haven't ever needed it. Do not read on if squeamish:

If a pack of dogs are coming in to attack, then apparently it will be led by the dominant male, and the principle is to incapacitate that dog, and the rest will fall away. One was supposed to offer a bicycle pump horizontally to the dog, held by each end, and the dog will (apparently) invariably fasten its teeth around the middle. One is then supposed to wrestle a bit with the dog to focus its mind on keeping hold of the pump, then either pull its head up sharply and knee it hard in the throat, or if the dog is small enough (or you are big enough), pull the dog up on to its hind legs and kick hard it in the genitals. Either should fell it fairly comprehensively. There were all sorts of other details that were basically about how to dispatch dogs into another world, but I'm sure I can spare you.

Anyway, that was one reason I decided to take trekking poles on the Camino - but in the event saw mostly good working farm dogs, that were only defending their property, and were perfectly happy once it was clear no one was going to trespass.

Now somebody has to post a reply after me, I'm getting a complex about being a conversation-stopper!

Best wishes (and I have never harmed a hair of an animal, honest),

If it makes you feel any better…………

Richards Bicycle book had a whole chapter on how to deal with dogs one of which involved using your bike as a kind of chain saw and going on the offensive.

Silly question what are the rest of the pack doing while you engage their rapid leader in a wrestling match standing round watching?

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts.
Well, my informant said that the other dogs do just stand around barking, perhaps, but not attacking. The dominant dog takes the lead, and if you floor him, then the others back off. I think the principle was speed and the element of surprise stopped the pack from engaging too.

Mind you, I would have liked to see any pack of wild dogs fast enough to take on a Tour de France racer!

I still don't know why dogs seem to have stopped caring about bicycles...

Anyway, if any of us are unlucky enough to be bitten, the key things are reporting the incident, getting any wounds attended to (as a rule, animal bites are usually not sutured), antibiotic cover (usually oral co-amoxiclav) and a rabies shot. Even though a total of 5 tetanus shots are now known to provide sufficient lifetime cover, a booster is often given if there is a very tetanus-prone wound.

Now that really is a conversation-stopper! You can imagine what a very dull date I can be.


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