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Names of towns with loose dogs

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Invierno peregrinos,

On another thread I asked for help in identifying places where you encountered loose barking dogs. The only place I can specifically remember is Villavieja.

I have sent a note to the two Amigos Associations and have received a response. They will personally go to any place we can remember and speak to the townspeople there about the problem.

SO..... please search your memory to come up with specific names. I know both @Luka and @Hanne had some bad experiences, and maybe there are others.

The Camino de Invierno is about ready to take off, and we have to find a way to make it a friendly camino for dog-lovers and dog-phobes alike! Buen camino, Laurie
 
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MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
Just to clarify all you want are dogs that have growled or barked in an aggressive manner to a human?
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
All of them if a dog bites through its leash or someone leaves a gate open! :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The problem on the Camino Invierno is that because of the very few pilgrims going through, some owners leave their guard dogs out. There are a few places where pilgrims report being terrified over and over by the same dogs. If the repeat offenders can be identified, the Amigos are willing to go to talk with the owners. For starters, there is one in Villavieja, a beautiful little hamlet right before the ascent to Cornatel castle. There is a huge mastiff on the far end of the village that is probably harmless but terrifying to non-dog people. I have had two encounters with him, four years apart, and they were not pleasant.

Just to clarify all you want are dogs that have growled or barked in an aggressive manner to a human?

So, what I'm looking for is information on those loose dogs that scared the pants off the people walking by. Thanks.
 

Hanne

Hurricane-Hanne
Past OR future Camino
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"Dogs behaving badly" on the Inverno:
In Villavieja (End of hamlet), Santalla del Bierzo (Start of village, owner in house on right, dog is little and very aggressive), Vilarmao (White house on the right just before farm on the right, owner in his 30's, daughter around 7-8 years old, 2 dogs, the biggest was very aggressive, and the owner did't care that the dog chased me down the public road), Just before the hamlet Broza (The Family was outside working in the fields next to the public road, 4 or 5 loose dogs came after me, the biggest dog was very aggressive, and the owner had no control but tried. Had to use my sticks to make space between me and the dog). In Penasillas pilgrims have to pass a big group of barking loose dogs.
On the Inverno I meet big loose barking dogs every day.
If the dog can't stay on the property, but goes on the public road, it should not be loose. That is my opinion!
I am happy, that the Camino de Inverno Association is taken "the loose dog-problem" serious ;)
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
"Dogs behaving badly" on the Inverno:
In Villavieja (End of hamlet), Santalla del Bierzo (Start of village, owner in house on right, dog is little and very aggressive), Vilarmao (White house on the right just before farm on the right, owner in his 30's, daughter around 7-8 years old, 2 dogs, the biggest was very aggressive, and the owner did't care that the dog chased me down the public road), Just before the hamlet Broza (The Family was outside working in the fields next to the public road, 4 or 5 loose dogs came after me, the biggest dog was very aggressive, and the owner had no control but tried. Had to use my sticks to make space between me and the dog). In Penasillas pilgrims have to pass a big group of barking loose dogs.
On the Inverno I meet big loose barking dogs every day.
If the dog can't stay on the property, but goes on the public road, it should not be loose. That is my opinion!
I am happy, that the Camino de Inverno Association is taken "the loose dog-problem" serious ;)

Hanne, this is one of those instances in which a "like" response is totally inadequate. Sending you lots of INVIERNO LOVE!!!!! Thanks so much for posting this, I will forward it to the Association.

On my first Invierno, there was that large group of barking dogs in Penasillás that you mention, but in June of this year they were nowhere to be seen. But I will note that so that the Association can get the word out in Penasillás as well.
 

Hanne

Hurricane-Hanne
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés(2007&2008), Finesterre&Muxía(5times), Portugués(2009), Aragonés(2008), Primitivo(2011), Vasco del interiór(2012), Inglés(2009), Via de la Plata(2013&2015), Sanabrés(2013), Del Norte(2013), San Salvador(2015) and Inverno(2015).
Camino Baztan and Le Puy in the future.
As you know, I had my own friendly camino-dog all the way from Chantada to Penasillás. Just before Pensillás a group of cows and the farmers wife passed me on the road. The Chantada-dog was scared of the cows and made a big detour in the field and followed me into the village. The group of loose dogs from the village came barking towards me, but then they saw the dog behind me, and stopped the barking , became friendly and ignored me.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Camino de Inverno Association is taken "the loose dog-problem" serious
It probably takes a while for a new route to become completely pilgrim friendly. The Camino Frances has had a decade to control dogs. It may take some time before the Invierno reaches that point. Associations and governments need to take the lead.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
If you can't deal with the local dogs, stay home. They live there and you are a guest, not someone to dictate local dog laws.

If the local population finds dog are keeping pilgrims away, and they actually want more pilgrims, they will do something about it.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If you can't deal with the local dogs, stay home. They live there and you are a guest, not someone to dictate local dog laws.

If the local population finds dog are keeping pilgrims away, and they actually want more pilgrims, they will do something about it.

That seems unnecessarily harsh to me. We all understand that we are guests in Spain and that we don't write the laws. And I have no problem with owners doing what they want with their dogs on their own property. But things change when their dogs are are on public property and are threatening to people who just want to continue walking on that public property. The Camino passes through small hamlets, true, and I understand that people haven't walked through these places for decades, but that is changing. I can't find a justification for the attitude of the owner I encountered in Villavieja which was essentially, this is your problem not mine. In my opinion, it's not my problem if I am trying to walk where I have a right to walk and your dog is impeding my progress. Would you say the same thing if a person is sitting there with a gun telling you you can't continue on public property? For those of us who are afraid of dogs, that is essentially what the dog planted on the camino says to us.
 
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Hanne

Hurricane-Hanne
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés(2007&2008), Finesterre&Muxía(5times), Portugués(2009), Aragonés(2008), Primitivo(2011), Vasco del interiór(2012), Inglés(2009), Via de la Plata(2013&2015), Sanabrés(2013), Del Norte(2013), San Salvador(2015) and Inverno(2015).
Camino Baztan and Le Puy in the future.
Very good answer, Laurie ;)
The Spanish Mastiff was the race, that was most aggressive of the many dogs on the Inverno.
I know, that Asún in A Rúa wants Camino de Inverno to be an alternative to the very crowded Camino Francés, so she was taken the critic, good and bad, very seriously. All 5 of us walking the Inverno at the same time in september, has walked other caminos before. About 20 years ago Camino Francés had problems with loose dogs, Camino Finesterre - Muxía had the same problems 5 years ago.
If the locals wants pilgrims in the area, they have to solve the problems with loose aggressive dogs on public property.
On the other caminos loose aggressive dogs are rare (Often it's because the owner has forgotten to close the gate) and only the friendly dogs are loose.
Pilgrims are a big part in the tourist-industri, specially in Galicia, so many locals benefits from pilgrims passing their area.
 
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newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
About 20 years ago Camino Francés had problems with loose dogs,
Pilgrims are a big part in the tourist-industri, specially in Galicia, so many locals benefits from pilgrims passing their area.

Twenty years ago the Frances was the real Spain. Now it is just industrial tourism. If you want the other routes similarly sanitized fine, lock up the farm dogs, pave the trails, convert the farms to tourist facilities and everything will be so much improved.
 

towanda1961

Laura
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Invierno (2015)
The problem on the Camino Invierno is that because of the very few pilgrims going through, some owners leave their guard dogs out. There are a few places where pilgrims report being terrified over and over by the same dogs. If the repeat offenders can be identified, the Amigos are willing to go to talk with the owners. For starters, there is one in Villavieja, a beautiful little hamlet right before the ascent to Cornatel castle. There is a huge mastiff on the far end of the village that is probably harmless but terrifying to non-dog people. I have had two encounters with him, four years apart, and they were not pleasant.



So, what I'm looking for is information on those loose dogs that scared the pants off the people walking by. Thanks.
My first dog encounter was in Villavieja; an innocent looking small dog spotted me as I came up the path into the village but just as I got next to him he went crazy and then his buddies up the hill came out barking and snarling and then I heard dogs all over the village barking. It was intimidating, but none of them threatened me. But yes, the mastiff on the other end of the village - I believe I encountered the same dog; I started to back up thinking I would return to Ponferrada if necessary, but his owner came out of the garage (or whatever) and took him back in. Another spot I remember was just out of Chantada -perhaps it was Boan - anyhow, it was early morning and the road was full of dogs all barking at me. But I estimate encountering at least 10-14 dogs a day, each day. But as you quoted me reporting...once I realized they weren't trained to attack me, they were much less threatening.
 

towanda1961

Laura
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Invierno (2015)
My first dog encounter was in Villavieja; an innocent looking small dog spotted me as I came up the path into the village but just as I got next to him he went crazy and then his buddies up the hill came out barking and snarling and then I heard dogs all over the village barking. It was intimidating, but none of them threatened me. But yes, the mastiff on the other end of the village - I believe I encountered the same dog; I started to back up thinking I would return to Ponferrada if necessary, but his owner came out of the garage (or whatever) and took him back in. Another spot I remember was just out of Chantada -perhaps it was Boan - anyhow, it was early morning and the road was full of dogs all barking at me. But I estimate encountering at least 10-14 dogs a day, each day. But as you quoted me reporting...once I realized they weren't trained to attack me, they were much less threatening.
I just checked my notes and it was outside of Quiroga where I encountered the especially frightening mastiff. I'm sorry I didn't specify which hamlet though.
 

Hanne

Hurricane-Hanne
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés(2007&2008), Finesterre&Muxía(5times), Portugués(2009), Aragonés(2008), Primitivo(2011), Vasco del interiór(2012), Inglés(2009), Via de la Plata(2013&2015), Sanabrés(2013), Del Norte(2013), San Salvador(2015) and Inverno(2015).
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Nice to hear opinions from other experienced pilgrims from the Inverno.
That's why Laurie started this Thead ;)
 
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D

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an innocent looking small dog spotted me
The ankle biters are the worst! I suppose they are not the most dangerous, but they are the most annoying, and because they are small, their owners do a poor job of keeping them under control.;)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I really do understand that many people have problems with dogs on the loose - after all, they are kept as "guard" dogs and their instinct is to repel invaders with logical results. Unfortunately, to protect pilgrims the sad result will be that many are then kept chained up and never let off. I would not like it and I doubt dogs do either.
 

dandagenais

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Done: SSJDP to Santiago 811km, Nov./Dec. 2013
Plan: LePuy route July 1, 2018
If you can't deal with the local dogs, stay home. They live there and you are a guest, not someone to dictate local dog laws.

If the local population finds dog are keeping pilgrims away, and they actually want more pilgrims, they will do something about it.
Very bad answer!! C'mon... Leaving mad dogs loose outside is not responsible. Some of these dogs are not only barkers, they attack. Believe me, I know... So I think that dog owners there, here, or in any country, should show care and responsible action/prévention.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I really do understand that many people have problems with dogs on the loose - after all, they are kept as "guard" dogs and their instinct is to repel invaders with logical results. Unfortunately, to protect pilgrims the sad result will be that many are then kept chained up and never let off. I would not like it and I doubt dogs do either.

I am by no means a dog expert, as should be obvious from these threads, but I would assume that some of these current hysterical and threatening barkers can be trained to be one of those dormant friendly canines we so frequently encounter on the Frances. I am sympathetic to the concern about chaining up dogs but I can't think of any responsible alternative if the dog is going to be a menace on public property.

(And p.s. and off topic -- welcome home Kanga!)
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Maybe the solution in villages like Villavieja with no services (I think) is marking an alternative path (where possible) to avoid the village.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Thanks @peregrina2000 - good to be home. Yes, it is a problem - the answer lies in less dogs (I really don't understand the Spanish obsession with guard dogs) and owners who are prepared to properly care for, exercise, train them and build proper enclosures. We have always had dogs, in the country and in suburban Sydney.
 

Johnsee

New Member
Past OR future Camino
XX
If you can't deal with the local dogs, stay home. They live there and you are a guest, not someone to dictate local dog laws.

If the local population finds dog are keeping pilgrims away, and they actually want more pilgrims, they will do something about it.

As we say in Ireland thats Bollox!!!!
All dogs in the public space should be on leads or tied up...its called responsible dog ownership!
 
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Hanne

Hurricane-Hanne
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés(2007&2008), Finesterre&Muxía(5times), Portugués(2009), Aragonés(2008), Primitivo(2011), Vasco del interiór(2012), Inglés(2009), Via de la Plata(2013&2015), Sanabrés(2013), Del Norte(2013), San Salvador(2015) and Inverno(2015).
Camino Baztan and Le Puy in the future.
Camino de Inverno goes through many small hamlets/villages with loose dogs. It must be possible to make some small changes of the camino, so pilgrims and dogs don't met so often as now, and to have a serious talk with dog-owners, where the meetings are a problem.
A public road is for everybody, not just the locals and scary aggressive loose dogs.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Maybe the solution in villages like Villavieja with no services (I think) is marking an alternative path (where possible) to avoid the village.

That might be a good idea in some places, in fact, I wound up going around a pueblo on the Camino Olvidado because of the dogs. But doing that before Villavieja would put you on the highway all the way up to the Castillo de Cornatel, and that would be a real shame.

Villavieja is in the process of building an albergue, so maybe once it's open, the owner of that dog will be shmed into being a responsible owner.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
That might be a good idea in some places, in fact, I wound up going around a pueblo on the Camino Olvidado because of the dogs. But doing that before Villavieja would put you on the highway all the way up to the Castillo de Cornatel, and that would be a real shame.

Villavieja is in the process of building an albergue, so maybe once it's open, the owner of that dog will be shmed into being a responsible owner.

Yes in case of service in the village (bar, albergue) probably the situation will improve.
I know that in may cases the solution of alternative paths is not possible or covenient, but where possible, in little villages with a few houses where only elder people live I think is the best option for locals and pilgrims.
Thinking about how to set a new path surrounding a village I don´t know the administrative issue, probably the Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino requiring it to the Council in question.
 
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newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
Wow! Great set of responses. I particularly like the highly relevant gun analogy. Sorry guys, I stand by my position.

There are tough things in any country you travel to. In Canada, bears roam your campsite. In Mexico, cops set up “check stations” and you don’t get by without donating a little money. In Russia, Nigeria, and Honduras, I’ve seen the same, except there they actually do point a gun in your face. In Indonesia lepers pound on your window asking for handouts and transvestite prostitutes follow you back to your hotel. In rural Spain farm dogs run free and bark at you. Deal with it.

I’m not saying all those things are good, but they are what they are. I’ll try to fix problems in my own country, but if I don’t like how things are where I visit, I don’t tell them they should do it the same as we do it in Australia, or Ireland or Canada, I accept the place for what it is or go someplace where I approve of how things work.

Tourists who want to make the place they visit just like home are simply arrogant. If a place has too many guns, wild dogs, or customs you don't like, recognize your limitations and go somewhere you are comfortable.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Really, stay on the sanitized CF if you cannot Cope with the reality of the locals. These dogs serve a purpose according to their owner needs, or wants. Enough with walkers from abroad dictating lifestyle of the locals so we can enjoy our little trip. Would you have O'Cebreiro cut down so it's easier to go up? Just so ypu don't pant and suffer?

I breed one of the rarest dog breeds, which ironically goes back to the Spanish Pachon de Navarra, and would NEVER sell one to Spain after seing how dogs are treated there. ( yes, a tied up dog feels it cannot défend itself and will lash at you to scare you since it can't get away). But I would rather stand in favour od these dogs than for tourists who demand the way of life of locals be changed for their comfort. No revenue from cfe con lèches is worth a changé of lifestyle. After all, isn't that why we walk through rural Spain?

This is not suburbia, it's real working life.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
As we say in Ireland thats Bollox!!!!
All dogs in the public space should be on leads or tied up...its called responsible dog ownership!
In your neck of the woods perhaps, but not elsewhere. Where I live I would agree with you, but before harping about leashes I would fight for these dogs being fed more then once a week.
 
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MichaelSG

Retired member
Past OR future Camino
Not enough
In a rare break with sanity, I'll have to agree with newfydog and anemone. I don't understand why anyone would demand that these dogs be put down just because someone wants to walk past them without getting barked at. Next thing you know, you will be demanding that theives, rapists and murderers be locked up so they don't bother pilgrims. Those people have been in Spain for generations and we have no right to tell them to stay away from us.

Oh wait... Laurie, you said that the amigos were just going to talk to the owners to seek a solution? Maybe that's not as drastic as I first realized. I still, however, like anemone's plan to flatten O Cebreiro and install escalators over the Pyrenees. It's just so cute of an idea.

:rolleyes:
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think that newfy and Anemone make some interesting points, at least once you get past the sarcasm. I'm not trying to provoke anyone or dictate anything to anyone, I'm just trying to find a solution to big aggressive barking snarling dogs that plant themselves on the public right of way and block your way. I'm also not advocating that we "pave paradise and put up a parking lot," though that may be how you interpret my comments. I think we all understand that people in small pueblos in Spain have different customs and different ways of life, and having walked the Francés for the first time in 2000, I completely understand the perspective of "what have we done?" to life in the towns along the way. But I lived in Spain in 1970-71 and visited Galicia for several weeks. I was able to see what was then the "real Spain," and I think most people would not want to go back to that reality. It's clearly a delicate balance, but the dog issue is just one part of that balance.

The "highly relevant gun analogy" was put there just to indicate the extent of the fear that these dogs cause in some people. If you're a "dog person" you can't understand it, but you don't have to mock it. I have two scars on my knee that date to a bad encounter with an aggressive dog when I was 5 years old. My fear is probably irrational, but it is what it is. When I come to a dog that is standing on the right of way barking and acting aggressive, I stop and go no further, just as I would if a person were sitting there blocking my way.

This is not a "foreigner" versus "Spaniard" problem. It is a "pilgrim vs. irresponsible dog owner" problem. The only other pilgrim I met on the Invierno, a young Spanish seminarian from Ávila, was equally unnerved by the dog in Villavieja and was equally incredulous that the owner stood on his balcony about 200 m away and just watched as the dog did his thing. Most dog owners are not like that, and I have found that if I just stop walking and yell "oiga", the owner typically appears and takes the dog so I can pass. I'm fine with that. But that's not what I'm talking about here. The owner of the casa rural in this beautiful little hamlet said that the dog also often scared the pants off children of people renting his house, but that filing a legal complaint against someone you have to live with is "complicado." I get that. But the fact that he told me that a legal complaint ("denuncia") was possible suggests that this practice of leaving aggressive dogs loose in the towns is already illegal, just not enforced.

This problem has a parallel with hunters, who often file a legal complaint with local officials because it is also illegal for dogs to be running loose in protected hunting grounds, unless the dog is a hunting dog with the hunter. It is also illegal to unleash a dog walking anywhere in the protected mountain areas. You can get a HUGE fine if a guardia forestal (I know one in the mountains outside Madrid) catches you walking with your dog off leash. I am not saying this is the same situation as what we're talking about, only that it's a problem that runs deeper.

So I hope I have clarified that I am not advocating the imperial imposition of some sanitized norms that will destroy a way of life, I was only asking for the names of pueblos where the Amigos Asssociations could go to discuss the problem with the dog owners. Buen camino, Laurie
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
A week tomorrow where the Valcarlos alternate CF route crossed from France into Spain I was bitten on the left shin by a very bouncy unleashed terrier! Thus with blood trickling on my tights I soon arrived at the Valcarlos farmacia. The kind trilingual pharmacist who cleaned and bandaged the wound suggested that if it or I felt feverish I should visit the local doctor. Luckily neither occured and I successfully slogged up to Ibaneta and Roncesvalles the following morning. ...Moral of this account is that eager dogs can pop up anywhere!

MM
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
I hope to be passing through Soria later this week, so I can let you know if there's still a problem with the

... famélicos galgos,
de galgos flacos y agudos,
que pululan
por las sórdidas callejas
y a la medianoche ululan,
quando granznan las cornejas

Not only for Soria but you could make a report about the loosing dog situation from Cataluña to Galicia.
I really have curiosity about this. What I think now is that the loosing dog custom affects mainly in the NW (Galicia, Asturias and Bierzo) and in the rest of Spain is residual.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi,

My stand on the dog issue is that however agressive they may seem, it is just a piece of acting. They will scare you, but not bite. If they really had attacked anyone, I mean really biting and hurting, their owners would have taken care of them a long time ago. You don't keep an animal that randomly attacks people (pilgrims) passing by. So my cure for the fear of dogs is that whenever I see them and they behave aggressivly, I say to myself that the fact they ARE there is proof enough they are not going to hurt me... See my point?

On the other hand, I know about a pilgrim being attacked by a dog after Montamarta on the Vía la Plata in 2014. I didn't speak to her myself, but our common friend had spoken to her (so it's not just a rumour). She was walking by when a german shepherd attacked her and really bit her in one calf. She had to go to the hospital to look it up.

Sorry, I didn't mean to scare anyone. Just saying I have heard about this ONCE during all the caminos I have done, so the chance of getting bitten seems incredibly small.

/BP
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
If you can't deal with the local dogs, stay home. They live there and you are a guest, not someone to dictate local dog laws.
Really, stay on the sanitized CF if you cannot Cope with the reality of the locals. These dogs serve a purpose according to their owner needs, or wants. Enough with walkers from abroad dictating lifestyle of the locals so we can enjoy our little trip.

Hmm, what unhelpful comments if I may say so!
We've had a house in Spain since I was 11 years old (a looooong time ago!) and then, there were loads of roaming, dangerous dogs. I used to call them the 'pink dogs' as most seemed to have some skin disease and lost their fur. We used to walk in large groups when coming back at night from a neighbouring village that had a 'fiesta' as that kept them away.

Nothing to do with tourists wanting to impose their laws, there weren't any tourists! They were a serious problem for the locals and eventually, it was dealt with.

Things can improve, thank goodness. No-one wants to go back to those times:rolleyes:

As for the guard dogs... They are often let loose in very rural areas to protect their owners and their properties, against prospective thieves, attackers, etc. Fine. But if the path crosses what they see as their territory, what is a pilgrim to do? The dog are doing their job, yes, but is it compatible with non-threatening walkers going about their business on a public path/road?

I do believe these issues can be solved to the mutual benefit of all parties. It just takes a bit of understanding.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Hmm, what unhelpful comments if I may say so!
We've had a house in Spain since I was 11 years old (a looooong time ago!) and then, there were loads of roaming, dangerous dogs. I used to call them the 'pink dogs' as most seemed to have some skin disease and lost their fur. We used to walk in large groups when coming back at night from a neighbouring village that had a 'fiesta' as that kept them away.

Nothing to do with tourists wanting to impose their laws, there weren't any tourists! They were a serious problem for the locals and eventually, it was dealt with.

Things can improve, thank goodness. No-one wants to go back to those times:rolleyes:

As for the guard dogs... They are often let loose in very rural areas to protect their owners and their properties, against prospective thieves, attackers, etc. Fine. But if the path crosses what they see as their territory, what is a pilgrim to do? The dog are doing their job, yes, but is it compatible with non-threatening walkers going about their business on a public path/road?

I do believe these issues can be solved to the mutual benefit of all parties. It just takes a bit of understanding.
As you said so well, "a looooong time ago!". And as you also said, dogs are doing their jobs, and good working dogs do thei jobs on command and know what their job is. I really think the locals and their needs come before the tourits' needs.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I really think the locals and their needs come before the tourits' needs.

In that case, the locals do not need funds to be directed towards municipal albergues, do they?
So, if one cannot walk the 30 or 40 km between villages/towns, one ought not to attempt the camino?
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
In that case, the locals do not need funds to be directed towards municipal albergues, do they?
So, if one cannot walk the 30 or 40 km between villages/towns, one ought not to attempt the camino?[/QUOTE
I think you will find that munis are not the albergues mushrooming up, but privates. And if they do it must be because they think there is good money to be made, therefor meaning the dogs are not the threat people aeem to think they are. No? And if there are so many rabid dogs threatening walkers, does it matter if there are 5 or 40 km netween albergues? Surely the rabid dogs will atrack people even if they have only walked 5 km. And yes, if you annot walk 30 km, or 40, don't walk. I certainly didn't walk the Norte, my first choice, in 2007, because I kmew I couldn't cover those distances. Nor do I think I can walk other routes where 30km day in and day out are the norm.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
I went to the Olympics in Sochi. To acommodate the tourists who were intimidated by dogs, they poisoned the strays just before the games opened. One was dying in a ditch my first day there.

Be careful what you wish for.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021


The dogs are a threat if they don't let pilgrims go through a public path. It is not a 'perceived' threat, it is a threat. They may not be used to walkers and yes they're doing their job but If let loose, they should be trained properly, so as not to attack randomly. In fact the ones who are trained - and I've met a few! - are exemplary.
Is it too much to ask ? For everyone's safety?
One shouldn't need to be a dog trainer to be able to walk safely on a public road. I am not talking about going through private property, nor interfering with the livestock they're guarding, nor do I recall anyone mentioning rabies. I mentioned the 'long ago' dogs to illustrate the fact that improvements can be made, to everybody's benefit. We can all learn. 'Locals' with unruly and threatening dogs included.

Originally, I was objecting to the comments 'stay at home if...' which I found unhelpful and even objectionable considering the context, in this otherwise very friendly and helpful forum.
We are talking about Spain. I did walk across countries where there were indeed dangerous dogs, with no owners to call for help. I didn't choose to stay at home. I had very scary encounters but I coped or I wouldn't be here to tell the tale. Talking to a couple of other pilgrims on the VdlP who had also been to those countries, they remarked I had been very lucky. Maybe. Sometimes we need a bit of luck! I also knew what I was taking on.
The point is, I have no wish to repeat the experience whilst 'pilgriming' in Spain and there should be no need. It's a different kettle of fish! IMHO.
Here's to improvement!
Buen camino !
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I went to the Olympics in Sochi. To acommodate the tourists who were intimidated by dogs, they poisoned the strays just before the games opened. One was dying in a ditch my first day there.

Be careful what you wish for.

Point taken.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I appreciate the additional points made, and I hope that "we who have fear of dogs" have convinced the critics that we are not interested in imposing our standards or changing any aspect of Spanish society. We are only asking to be able to walk on the public right of way without being menaced by aggressive dogs that are very threatening to our perhaps untrained sensibilities. This is already our right under current Spanish law. At a minimum, I think it is reasonable to expect the owner to interrupt his/her activities and come to hold the dog, when we make our presence and our fear known. Buen camino, Laurie
 

newgabe

Member
Past OR future Camino
Via Francis May (2016)
If the local population finds dog are keeping pilgrims away, and they actually want more pilgrims, they will do something about it.
Exactly.
This thread is aimed at exactly that. Letting 'local population' know where there is an issue, so, if they want, they can do something about it.

Dogs are not 'in the right' in every situation. If I see a guard dog working on a property, yes that is a useful to reminder to not steal sheep, bash grannies, rob the house, molest the children or other things I might be inclined to do if not for the warning. But if I'm walking along in a public space anywhere, it's reasonable to dislike, and fear, the animal equivalent of a person rushing up to me., shouting abuse, waving a knife, calling their mates in to block the path and yell at me to 'get back where I came from'. They don't have to actually bite/tear my throat out to have 'attacked'.

If a dog can't discriminate between aggressive or peaceful behaviour in humans, just over-reacts in every instance, it really is reasonable for locals (who want to have public walking paths in the area) to be able to approach their owners to find another way to contain them. Perhaps the owners are indeed the issue.. they just don't want 'strangers' around or think they 'own the road' and like their dogs expressing that on their behalf . But should an entire village/camino/district be controlled by that person? And what's to say the dogs that are aggressive to walkers are not also a nuisance to others in their own village with their barking, excessive /extended territoriality and overreactions ?
 
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fraluchi

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
One every year since 2007
In Spain you can buy a DOGCHASER in any shop which sells hunting gear and other related gadgets. Just in case you fear the fearless guard dogs!:eek:
 
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newgabe

Member
Past OR future Camino
Via Francis May (2016)
In Spain you can buy a DOGCHASER in any shop which sells hunting gear and other related gadgets. Just in case you fear the fearless guard dogs!:eek:
Thanks Fraluchi.. I have tried those when I lived in a place with a lot of unpredictable street dogs. They aren't effective. After a few weeks there I gave up walking anywhere and rode a motorbike so I could get away from them. Or used the 'pick up/throw a real or pretend rock' strategy which mostly worked there.. though I would not rely on that as a strategy everywhere.

So on the topic of 'sometimes there just are over-the-top dogs and what to do about it', and knowing that dogs are not just pretty flowers making a nasty noise, here is a site with some advice.
http://www.wikihow.com/Handle-a-Dog-Attack
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.

High Endeavours

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 13
VdlP 14
LePuy 15
Invierno DosFaros CP 16
88 Templ Japan 17
Sicily Arles-Santiago 18
Norte 19
Some of the dogs I met on the Via de la Plata were extremely aggressive. Often the problem is that you run into loose dogs in isolated locations. I can certainly appreciate that someone with a well founded fear of dogs would have been very upset. I'm comfortable with dogs, but I've no doubt that several of the dogs that attacked me would have happily bitten deeply if I'd allowed them to get too close, and one of them appeared to be rabid (this was the worst attack). The most aggressive dog was not just barking, it was attacking...you'll know the difference if you experience it. I used my poles and picked up the biggest rock I could find (I never threw it). It was pretty clear that some of these dogs had been very badly mistreated.

I've had a few bear encounters in the wilds of BC that didn't concern me nearly as much. Maybe they should have?:confused:

A good friend of mine carries a few dog biscuits in his pocket when walking in our central Canadian prairies where there are big aggressive farm dogs. He swears by this method, and I just might try this on the Invierno this year!o_O Couldn't hurt?

Based on most of the comments here, I think that anything the local authorities can do to help manage this situation a little would be appreciated.
 
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Camino Frances - Sarria to Santiago (2015)
Camino Frances - Sarria to Santiago to Fisterra (2016)
If you can't deal with the local dogs, stay home. They live there and you are a guest, not someone to dictate local dog laws.

If the local population finds dog are keeping pilgrims away, and they actually want more pilgrims, they will do something about it.
You have really given me a dilemma here! I keep responding to threads along the lines of "Remember its their country. On the other hand dog phobia and stories of Camino dogs stopped me going on Camino for 38 years until last October. Fear of dogs stops me walking lots of places at home too. A friend reassured me and my group looked out for me and I got past dogs (big but silent or contained) with help and (unknown to me) it was "only" my friend who had a near miss. I think I will stick to disagreeing with you (even though it is their country) because all my life I have been (in any country) totally peed off by the "put up with anything a dog will do" attitude of dog lovers. Love this forum though! Wish I'd found it 38 years ago (oh no www then!)
 
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Keith Hearn

Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy -> Conques June 2015
Conques -> Rocamadour -> Moissac? June 2016
Ultreia
I'm a dog lover, I have three of them at home. They're one of the reasons I'm doing the camino in stages, I won't leave them at home for more than a few weeks, even with a dog sitter coming to the house twice a day to feed and walk them. But I don't think it's OK to let a dog run loose and terrorise people passing by. I don't care where in the world you are, that's just irresponsible behaviour. Dog owners, are responsible for their dogs' actions. That's pretty basic and I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to find a culture where that isn't the norm.

Just like it's not OK to let your kids run around and threaten people or steal from them. If some kid steals your backpack, should you just say "Hey, it's their culture, if I don't like it I should just stay home?"
 
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newfydog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
t I don't think it's OK to let a dog run loose and terrorise people passing by. I don't care where in the world you are, that's just irresponsible behaviour. Dog owners, are responsible for their dogs' actions. That's pretty basic and I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to find a culture where that isn't the norm.....
If some kid steals your backpack, should you just say "Hey, it's their culture, if I don't like it I should just stay home?"

Well, I don't think it is ok to eat dogs, but I still go to countries where they do. I don't think it is right to load donkeys with bricks until they can barely stagger, but I still go to countries where I see that. I don't much approve of religious intolerance, theft, women veiled and treated as a man's property, or a whole litany of ills in this world, but one thing I do not do is go lecture them on the superiority of my country. I think the best approach is to set your best personal example, and hope they make progress. Don't stir national pride and defensiveness, just show them that we can do better, and bit by bit, the world improves.

Spain used to to be a place where the restaurants were choked with smoke. They recently caught up with the rest of us on breathable air. Hopefully they will do better with controlling their dogs, but it will be of their own desire, not because of a bunch of self superior tourists explaining to them how to live their lives. Until then, you might stir less resentment by simply being a gracious guest who accepts Spain for what it is like today.
 
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sabbott

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (SJPP to Ponferrada) 2016
Camino Invierno 2016
I'm waking the Camino Invierno now, and will be arriving in Santiago in a few days. It's been a wonderful experience. I have two dogs and am not at all "dog phobic", but reading this thread about loose aggressive dogs had me worried about my safety before I started walking here.

Instead of feeling threatened by dogs on the Invierno, I've been very saddened by the many dogs I see chained up as I'm walking through villages. Sometimes they are on short chains with no shade. Of course they bark aggressively when they see me walk by, that's the only activity they have left to do.

I really hope that the Camini Invierno has not been responsible for putting many of these dogs on chains. If so, I will feel very guilty that my walk through their village has ruined these dogs' lives.

If you are afraid of dogs, you will think that every loose dog that barks at you is a potential biter. This is not true. Dogs that bark may be warning you not to come on their property-- my dogs at home do that too. Neither of my dogs would bite anyone.

When I pass a loose dog here (and that happens maybe three times a day) I talk to them in a friendly voice and tell them in my bad Spanish that they are good dogs. At that point many start wagging tails, and sometimes come up to be petted. Twice in my week walking I have encountered more aggressive barkers, and I spoke to them sharply and stuck out my pole and walked on. Should they be chained up for the infraction of barking at someone walking by their home?

One of my dogs back home in Vermont was rescued from a life on a chain. He came to us terrified of strangers, and afraid of thunder, rain, brooms, you name it. Plus with heart worm. When I see him running around our yard now, I can't imagine how horrible that chained life was for this affectionate dog that only wants to be with his family. And yes, if you come by our house he will bark at you. But he won't bite you.

So I agree with the other posters here who say let's be careful on this issue of loose dogs. Maybe those of you afraid of dogs will feel more comfortable if the barkers are out of public spaces. But very few barkers are biters.

Please don't put out the word that for the Invierno to be successful, all the dogs along the way need to disappear behind fences. Many people will resort to chains, as fences are expensive. If there are specific biters, yes of course, deal with them. But let's not treat all these dogs as a problem that needs to disappear.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Let's not forget that by definition a pilgrim reinforces the barking as he passes by: the dog sees you and barks for you to get away. What does the pilgrim do, by definition, walk away o_O. Dog's behaviour s reinforced.

As for the chained dogs barking: because theyare chained they are vulnerable, unable to protect themselves by running away in case of danger, so all they can do is bark to scare you and make yougo away.
 
A

AJ

Guest
Wow! Great set of responses. I particularly like the highly relevant gun analogy. Sorry guys, I stand by my position.

There are tough things in any country you travel to. In Canada, bears roam your campsite. In Mexico, cops set up “check stations” and you don’t get by without donating a little money. In Russia, Nigeria, and Honduras, I’ve seen the same, except there they actually do point a gun in your face. In Indonesia lepers pound on your window asking for handouts and transvestite prostitutes follow you back to your hotel. In rural Spain farm dogs run free and bark at you. Deal with it.

I’m not saying all those things are good, but they are what they are. I’ll try to fix problems in my own country, but if I don’t like how things are where I visit, I don’t tell them they should do it the same as we do it in Australia, or Ireland or Canada, I accept the place for what it is or go someplace where I approve of how things work.

Tourists who want to make the place they visit just like home are simply arrogant. If a place has too many guns, wild dogs, or customs you don't like, recognize your limitations and go somewhere you are comfortable.

I can't improve on this.
 
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sabbott

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (SJPP to Ponferrada) 2016
Camino Invierno 2016
You have really given me a dilemma here! I keep responding to threads along the lines of "Remember its their country. On the other hand dog phobia and stories of Camino dogs stopped me going on Camino for 38 years until last October. Fear of dogs stops me walking lots of places at home too. A friend reassured me and my group looked out for me and I got past dogs (big but silent or contained) with help and (unknown to me) it was "only" my friend who had a near miss. I think I will stick to disagreeing with you (even though it is their country) because all my life I have been (in any country) totally peed off by the "put up with anything a dog will do" attitude of dog lovers. Love this forum though! Wish I'd found it 38 years ago (oh no www then!)
I really sympathize with your fear of dogs, and am sorry that it kept you so long from enjoying the Camino, and also walks at home. But what I'm trying to say here is that a fear is not necessarily based in reality. Some walkers may be very afraid of a loose dog that barks at them as they walk by (and on the Invierno they may see a pilgrim a week) but if that fear means the dog ends up living it's life on a chain, that isn't a morally fair trade off in my opinion. This may seem like much ado about nothing, but I'd ask you to look into what a life on a chain means for a naturally sociable, active animal. Again, I'm not downplaying the reality of your fear, I'm just giving another point of view for folks who may not know many dogs.
 

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