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Ultimate Dog Repellent

@VNwalking isn’t that the saddest part of what is happening to our beloved Camino. It was always supposed to be a challenge, it was always supposed to be a bit scary. A long walk in a country of which we knew little or perhaps too much if we’d ever paid any attention to European history. A long walk; down to the chemists is a long way as the blessed Douglas Adams had it.
And now we find that Camino has to be “safe”, safe from all challenges: a safe space full of comfy beds, yummy meals, perfect families of random people who all think just like you and your own private flushing toilet.

Last time out I was gonna complain to the cruise director but they wos hiding in their cabin screaming “why, why, why?”
I despair.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of research (albeit numerous recent posters seem to be avoiding that) but going to the ‘I have to be certain’ level and asking ‘how do avoid the possibility of this non-life-threatening inconvenience’ is really rubbish (I assumed I couldn’t say ‘crap’; we’ll see).

There is always the option of booking a cruise. You’ll travel further, see more countries and have someone to complain to when your dinner’s a few minutes late. And if there are dogs, they’ll be in the kennels.
2 Camino guides, €5 each
Clearing out some books before my move to the new office in a few weeks.
The difference between a terrier and a terrorist?

You can negotiate with a terrorist.
I can vouch for that henrythedog! Our Jack Russell cross, Dig - who passed away in 2012 - had the nickname Diggy Bin Laden! Oh, we’ll never stop missing him though - he was Personality Plus.
Cheers to all from Oz -
I just untip my poles and move from holding them by the handles to holding them like two spears. My friend who served in the Marines told me exactly where to stick the poles if the worst ever happens. It hasn't, but their were some scary moments on the Ourense to Santiago leg of the VdlP I did in 2017, when i was literally the only person walking down a road in the middle of nowhere and I can hear a dog trying to jump over a wall from a compound to get at me. Would have much preferred something more suitable for dealing with aggressive dogs. You just have to accept that if it happens, it happens. You just have to deal with it and you are probably going to get injured, but ultimately your goal should be to slay that dog before it kills you. More than one dog, game over, unless you are carrying something better than poles or somehow manage to take one of them out really quickly. I plan for dealing with dogs, but I don't dwell on it, just like I plan for getting attacked by humans, but don't particularly dwell on it. If it happens, it happens and I will deal with it accordingly.

Didn't really have any issues on the CF with dogs when i walked. Their were a few on the Sarria last 100km leg when I walked in 2016, but before that I don't think I saw that many and the ones I did see were more the annoyance types than truly dangerous. The mastiff, rottweiler, doberman, german shepherd types were few and far between and never running around loose.
In the UK this year - and it is only June 5th, five people have already been killed by dogs, two of them children.

Last year ten were killed by dogs and there were 22,000 attacks with many people seriously injured.

All of the dogs were household pets.

Dogs bite - unexpectedly, and they kill too.
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Hike 80km on the Catalina Camino Oct 29 to Nov 4
Train for your next Camino on California’s Santa Catalina Island
Its a bit like cars - most are driven properly and are not a problem, but some are erratic/over fast and need to be evaded.... My husband loves cars and will look at them, name them, appreciate them, I don't - those of us that have had car accidents will likely be more anxious and concerned about cars - especially those driving erratically.... How we feel about them does not cause the accident - it is beyond our control.... but how we behave can lessen the likelihood or severity...
That is how I think about all common dangers as I walk/pedal around this wondrous planet.... a healthy dollop of common sense, alertness and some kind of plan for 'events'..... but sometimes sh1t just happens.....!
Stil vastly prefer dogs to cars,...😅
In my homevillage in Galicia the neighbour had a crazy fierce dog called "lobito" always loose. When I passed near he showed me his teeth but never bit me. I knew that there was an imaginary line that I couldn't trespass. The owner was an old man who lived alone. So I am "used to" fierce dogs. Once in Asturias, out of any Camino, I was surrounded by two " lobitos" like, one in front of me and the other back. I wasn' t bitten maybe because I am accustomed to the situation. Who knows.
Little Dog says she is afraid of humans. Apparently they act irrationally: they do fear or flight stuff when she’s just trying to say hello and they do attack lunges at her when she is just ignoring them. She is puzzled because after somewhere near a million years of close association she thinks that if we were anywhere near as clever as we appear to think we are we would have got an, at least tenuous, grip on homo/cana relationships.

She will never bite a human. Even that 18 month old nightmare that thinks she likes being dragged around the kitchen by her ears. Except that human whose smell she doesn’t recognize moving to quickly towards the nightmare.
Sorry Doctor.

Ah, I remember now. Big bad dog repellent: get a bigger, badder, dog. Or a Terrier. The Terrier is likely the more effective 😉
"when she’s just trying to say hello"

The next dog-owner who says that to me may receive quite a surprise...

We do not wish your canine to "say hello" to us - keep the animal on a lead - and use the lead properly i.e. it should be short enough to prevent any question of contact with the passing pedestrian/cyclist.
@DoughnutANZ has prompted my own story.
I have become fearful of large, unleashed dogs. A number of years ago a family moved into our neighborhood and I met their two twin twelve year old daughters out walking the family's two large Rottweilers on leashes, and we had a nice introduction and chat. The girls told me the dogs were very friendly even though I was a bit skeptical.

A few days later after trimming my hair, I'd taken the towel I'd used out front to shake it off. It was dark out and I noticed the sisters walking the dogs on the sidewalk the next house over. As I shook my towel, the dogs got loose and ran and charged, jumping on me. Thankfully I threw the towel over my head, but one of them bit me through my sweater under my arm. No stitches, but I had to have a tetnus shot and my arm became severely brised. The owners were not happy, but the dogs were impounded overnight to check for rabies. Later that week a fence was put around their back yard and I never saw the dogs again; they have since moved away.

I live near a walking/biking trail and walk a portion of it most days. To this day I do not look at big dogs in their eyes even if they are leashed and with their owners. I look away and pretend they are not there.

On the Caminos I have yet to encounter an unleashed guard dog, thankfully, but I sure see plenty of them behind fences and gates where they belong.
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How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
So far I only met scary loose dogs in France, not in Spain. Usually farm dogs or dogs guarding their property.

If a dog tells me very clearly not to pass, I don't, and find a way around. Often walking by with more distance and looking away from whatever they try to guard helps.

Most of the time they only growl and bark and it's only warning and a big show. But I won't rely on that, my experience with dogs is very limited and my knowledge of their body language not as good as I would like to. So I prefer to be cautious, just in case they do mean it serious!

Once a pack of three attacked me from all sides, two border collies and a jack russel type dog. The small one tried to bite my ankles. I used my hiking stick to keep them at distance, constantly spinning around since they had me surrounded, and running away like that. Must have looked like a very silly dance but it worked!

What also often helped was to throw a treat. In Germany once I could only pass a farm after I had given my lunch to the farm dog. At first he wanted to eat me, but then he was happy to let me pass while eating my cheese sandwich. There were no shops that day so it wasn't a perfect solution, but better be hungry than bitten.

Some dogs are afraid of the big backpack, poncho, hat or hiking staff. It can help to take those off for a moment to show them you're just an ordinary person and no threat.

Most of the dogs I met were friendly, like this very good boy in France that had managed to run away from his owner. I picked him from the street where He was almost run over. He walked around the town with me for over an hour, with only my tent's guy line as a leash, until we had found the girl who had lost him:IMG20220526103231.jpg
Walked several thousand km in Spain , never had problems with dogs.
Buen Camino
But others, including I, have had a different experience. Depends on many things, I guess.
Because there are literally hundreds of posts on here about nuisance dogs and dog attacks on the Camino.
And to someone who disagreed, …
That is not consistent with what I am hearing over and over on Camino forums.
You're not reading the same forum I'm reading! But I agree with those advising us to not diminish the fears of others. I have been bitten by dogs three times, and had one narrow escape. However, I have walked or biked from Pamplona to Hontanas, from Santiago to Cee, Muxia, and Fisterra, from Zamora to La Bañeza, and a section not properly documented that included León. Parts between Estella and Logroño many times. In all of that, I encountered only two dogs, both very friendly. One tried to make me its new owner :) and the other was accompanying a pilgrim. This is the first thread I can recall mentioning dogs.

But as everyone knows and my experience shows, dogs can bite. In hundreds of encounters with dogs elsewhere, the reason I have only had three bites is because in every other case (except one), if I face the dog, it backs off, and if I pretend to pick up a rock, it flees. For the one exception, there happened to be a large stick handy and that critter undoubtedly regretted not fleeing. Frankly, pepper spray would be a more desirable deterrent for both of us. (I have been taught a technique which I've never tested that—if not a hoax—would have killed the dog and severely injured my right arm.)
I assure you that there are dogs which attack without provocation and I have been subjected to this on two occasions-- both lesser caminos, as the dogs on the Francese look upon us with sheer boredom, which is how I like it.

On one, a passing motorist saved me when I was cornered by two (possibly unemployed and wandering, as it was far from any house or farm) guard dogs, pushing them out of the way and allowing me into his car-- he told me that this had happened before and he did not know to whom they belonged. On the other occasion, two Asturian mastiffs saw me from a rise on the road almost a km off, and began bounding in my direction, barking furiously. I turned tail and a nearby farmer allowed me within his gate-- he told me that the owner was unstable, and housed goats and sheep in her house, and that the dogs had attacked others before. I reported this to the ayuntamiento in the next pueblo, and filled out a denunciacion for the provincial police, which is needed before they would go around and get the owner to control her dogs.

A few years previously, I was given a mini-course by a local dog trainer who gave me some basic tips on how not to be perceived as a threat, and I have found this very useful while training on local paths. However, I will likely pick up some pepper spray for my next Camino.
Don't you want to share those tips?
Don't you want to share those tips?
They have been briefly referred to by others with more skill than I, to not challenge the dog, to adopt a calming demeanour, and to get out of his territory as quickly as possible.
Hike 80km on the Catalina Camino Oct 29 to Nov 4
Train for your next Camino on California’s Santa Catalina Island
View attachment 148514
The only dog attack on my Camino Frances. Not aimed at me but at my Coffee cake. He was trying to hypnotise the cake to come towards him😜🤣
Love it.

This lovely old guy was very pissed off that I did not give him my lunch right away.
He looked at me like that all through my meal!
But he got all the customers bones, once they finished lunch (the owner gave them to him as he cleared the tables)

Barking dogs are common ........
About a month ago on the VdlP I was videoing when a couple of dogs started barking at me.
But he got all the customers bones, once they finished lunch (the owner gave them to him as he cleared the tables)
My family's Beagle growing up almost choked to death on chicken bones. It took a gloved hand shoved in his mouth to pull the bone out. I hope the cute dog in the photo doesn't eventually choke, although I'm sure the owner knows the dog's capabilities.
My family's Beagle growing up almost choked to death on chicken bones. It took a gloved hand shoved in his mouth to pull the bone out. I hope the cute dog in the photo doesn't eventually choke, although I'm sure the owner knows the dog's capabilities.

It did worry me a bit. I've had dogs, and would never give them cooked bones.
But the owner did it, and it was an old dog........
He just crunched the bones!
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