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Stray dogs?

crisnelson

New Member
Hi all,

Heading to Spain on 4/18. Some of the books I've read say that there is a problem w/ aggressive stray dogs. I did Leon-Santiago in 2012, and had no problems. This time I'm doing the 1st half, and I would like to know if there is a problem with dogs. If so, what do people suggest I use in case I have a problem? Is there a spray I can use? Someone suggested aerosol hairspray, but I don't want to harm the dogs, just make them go away.

Cheers,

Cris Nelson
Boston MA
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi all,

Heading to Spain on 4/18. Some of the books I've read say that there is a problem w/ aggressive stray dogs. I did Leon-Santiago in 2012, and had no problems. This time I'm doing the 1st half, and I would like to know if there is a problem with dogs. If so, what do people suggest I use in case I have a problem? Is there a spray I can use? Someone suggested aerosol hairspray, but I don't want to harm the dogs, just make them go away.

Cheers,

Cris Nelson
Boston MA

Absolutely no problems that I have heard of in years on the Camino Francés. Now if you were going to walk the Invierno, it would be a different story.....
 

rometimed

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
Only ran into 3 stray dogs on the Camino Frances and they were friendly. In Turkey I got attacked by 3 dogs. :(
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Year of past OR future Camino
April, May (2017)
Only direct experience I have was in the U.S., but I guess stray dogs are pretty much the same wherever you go. Don't ever run away from them -- their instinct will tell them you're prey and they will chase you. Face them without staring at their eyes and slowly back away from them until you're out of their territory (the cause of most dog aggression) or they lose interest in you.

I've read in several Camino books that you should steer clear of flocks of sheep. They're usually guarded by a sheepdog whose protective instincts are honed to razor sharpness.

When I used to bicycle a lot, I always carried a dog repellent spray (I think it was called "Halt"). Never had to use it. In one neighborhood, a tiny dog ran barking and growling after my bike. I stopped and let the dog catch up to me. As soon as he caught up, I turned and growled low and menacingly at him. Poor dog! I frightened him so badly that he tucked his tail between his legs and ran with a high-pitched "yip, yip, yip" all the way back home. However, I do not recommend this for any dog like a German Shepherd or other large dogs.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Never had any problems with dogs anywhere on my Caminos. I wouldn't give it any thought and I certainly wouldn't carry any type of repellent. Really no need to.
On my first Camino I had an up close encounter with an enormous mastiff following and protecting a flock of sheep on the Camino. It happened near Puente la Reina while I was sitting on the ground next to the Camino taking a quick break and munching away on a bocadillo. The vicious beast peeled away from the flock and just about licked me to death like a big puppy. The gentle and playful giant just wanted some affection and sandwich. ha ha
He's at the far back in this photo.
El Camino day 9 012.jpg
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I was approached fiercely by a dog on one occasion on the camino frances last fall. The dog was so eager to get at me that he had pulled his chain and anchor out of the ground and came running up to me barking his head off, stopping just behind my right shoulder. I moved away very slowly, keeping a wary eye out for him. He followed me for a short space, moving very slowly, then stopped and allowed me to leave, still barking (him, not me). I was a little apprehensive, because he may have been on a chain for a reason. But he never made any attempt to attack. I think that I was just in his territory and had to be firmly ushered out.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Interesting factoid.
The French allow the homeless to care for the stray dogs and cats as a "public service" and they don't get arrested or harassed for providing this sort of symbiotic therapy.
For everyone of us who have walked the Camino multiple time, you know how you begin to realize what it might be like to be homeless. Good or Bad?
Reb and Paddy in Moratinos rescue lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats. Reb if you will allow me to say, "You and Paddy rock!"
 

Mysticl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances May (2015) - pending
We walked last year may/ jun from SJPP to Torres del Rio where we had to call it due to illness but for that stretch we had no trouble at all. All the dogs we saw were either friendly or restrained on their property if not friendly. That said I am sure it could happen as there are stray dogs but most strays have learned the hard way to not be aggressive for their own safety ... You leave them alone and generally they'll leave you alone ... The only aggressive dogs I saw were chained and not too happy about it .... If one of THEM got loose however ....
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I don't recall seeing any stray dogs. Those I saw that were unrestrained had obvious signs of ownership and care. And I am generally happy to hear a dog barking, however annoying that might be - it indicates that it is not, at that moment, preparing to bite.
 

BrienC

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Via de la Plata, 2016
Camino del Norte, 2019
Portuguese, 2021
The stories of malicious dogs are overblown. I saw/had no issue with them last summer, nor any of the many other treks I've been on around the world. However, the best defence is a trekking pole (should you choose to use them). Don't go poking holes in any dog, but your poles could be used in an emergency to warn them off or keep a bad doggie at a safe distance. I'd not suggest carrying spray. Sprays are like guns, more dangerous to the owner than the assailant.

Buen Camino
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
We had no problems with dogs from St. Jean through Finesterre.

At one place along the way there was a large dog tied up right at the road. He would roll a ball toward you to have you throw it back to him. Peg was almost out of sight before I was done playing with him.

At home when I've encountered an aggressive dog (at a distance) I've picked up a rock or at least pretended to and they've backed off. It is not an aggressive move by itself so it doesn't provoke them.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Year of past OR future Camino
April, May (2017)
One more note about stray dogs and then I'll shut up. I've been in Nicaragua since the end of December, and the country is crawling with stray dogs (we could use a few Rebs and Paddys here). Without fail, every one of them we saw was pretty much minding its own business and showing very little interest in humans at all. At an outdoor restaurant a stray dog came up to our table (the table was at the edge of the restaurant on a beach) looking for handouts in the friendliest kind of way. I fed him all the chicken on my Caesar salad. When he realized there was no more chicken, he lay down under my chair for the rest of our meal. I felt it was his way of saying, "Thanks."
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
We had no problems with dogs from St. Jean through Finesterre.

At one place along the way there was a large dog tied up right at the road. He would roll a ball toward you to have you throw it back to him. Peg was almost out of sight before I was done playing with him.

At home when I've encountered an aggressive dog (at a distance) I've picked up a rock or at least pretended to and they've backed off. It is not an aggressive move by itself so it doesn't provoke them.
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
My husband "played" soccer" oops, "football" with that dog". The dog seemed to love it. Fun to hear you had a similar experience. We only saw one other dog that seemed menacing along the CF.
 
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015
Hi all,

Heading to Spain on 4/18. Some of the books I've read say that there is a problem w/ aggressive stray dogs. I did Leon-Santiago in 2012, and had no problems. This time I'm doing the 1st half, and I would like to know if there is a problem with dogs. If so, what do people suggest I use in case I have a problem? Is there a spray I can use? Someone suggested aerosol hairspray, but I don't want to harm the dogs, just make them go away.

Cheers,

Cris Nelson
Boston MA
PLEASE...no spray. Ever dog I encountered was friendly. I know that's not been the case with a few, but using spray could exacerbate the situation. If you want to carry something, perhaps a high pitched whistle, but I doubt you'll need it. Buen Camino.
 

david malta

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Leon Santiago March 2015
Pamplona Santiago March 2016
I am on the Camino Frances right now and had some problem with sheep dogs and not stray dogs. After Atapuerca just before the cross on the hill, there were two dogs on loose guarding sheeps which were locked along the path. The dogs on the path just waited for to get near. I could not avoid them as on the left there was a military zone fenched by barbed wire and on the right was the fence enclosing the sheep. When i reached the dogs they started barking and growling like mad even at very close distance but never got biten. They sort of started herding me, like sheeps, out of the way. Certainly it was not a lovely experience.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015
I am on the Camino Frances right now and had some problem with sheep dogs and not stray dogs. After Atapuerca just before the cross on the hill, there were two dogs on loose guarding sheeps which were locked along the path. The dogs on the path just waited for to get near. I could not avoid them as on the left there was a military zone fenched by barbed wire and on the right was the fence enclosing the sheep. When i reached the dogs they started barking and growling like mad even at very close distance but never got biten. They sort of started herding me, like sheeps, out of the way. Certainly it was not a lovely experience.
So sorry you had this experience David The sheep dogs in particular would be more 'protective' of their wards.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I am on the Camino Frances right now and had some problem with sheep dogs and not stray dogs. After Atapuerca just before the cross on the hill, there were two dogs on loose guarding sheeps which were locked along the path. The dogs on the path just waited for to get near. I could not avoid them as on the left there was a military zone fenched by barbed wire and on the right was the fence enclosing the sheep. When i reached the dogs they started barking and growling like mad even at very close distance but never got biten. They sort of started herding me, like sheeps, out of the way. Certainly it was not a lovely experience.
They did their job. They are working dogs, and noone asked their owner for permission to have turists mess up with their land, their flock, their dogs. They were there first :cool:.
 
I am on the Camino Frances right now and had some problem with sheep dogs and not stray dogs. After Atapuerca just before the cross on the hill, there were two dogs on loose guarding sheeps which were locked along the path. The dogs on the path just waited for to get near. I could not avoid them as on the left there was a military zone fenched by barbed wire and on the right was the fence enclosing the sheep. When i reached the dogs they started barking and growling like mad even at very close distance but never got biten. They sort of started herding me, like sheeps, out of the way. Certainly it was not a lovely experience.
I was bitten by a sheep dog on that very stretch as you described.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I was just going to write that the very dogs I didn't fear were the working dogs :rolleyes: Just shows we all have different experiences ... I met quite a few, doing their job beautifully I thought. One - within seconds - was onto a cow that had decided to go for a pilgrim (right next to me) instead of turning nicely around the bend with the others...
The OP's question was about stray dogs... I haven't seen any on the Camino francés.
If you're really scared, you can carry a 'dog dazer' but even I (and I'm a chicken :D ) don't take one when walking anywhere in Spain. http://www.dazer.com/dog-deterrent.jsp
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I am on the Camino Frances right now and had some problem with sheep dogs and not stray dogs. After Atapuerca just before the cross on the hill, there were two dogs on loose guarding sheeps which were locked along the path. The dogs on the path just waited for to get near. I could not avoid them as on the left there was a military zone fenched by barbed wire and on the right was the fence enclosing the sheep. When i reached the dogs they started barking and growling like mad even at very close distance but never got biten. They sort of started herding me, like sheeps, out of the way. Certainly it was not a lovely experience.
My friend's sister was bitten on the leg at this same spot and had to go for dressing and tetanus injection in Burgos in 2014
 

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