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Bit a mountain biker - What about a muzzle?


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Long time reader....haven't posted much, but need some help with this....

Got our BC last July from the local shelter. They didn't have any info on him as he had been just dropped off in front of the shelter one day. He had many inappropriate behaviors, but I have been working with a trainer and he is doing much better. I have been fanatical about giving him the exercise he needs..morning and evening walks 3 - 5 miles each. The problem is that he has very strong prey drive and the area I walk him in has been quite rural, but with the city's growth, more and more people are out on the trails. He is fine with other dogs, he seems to get along with all dogs well. As a matter of fact, if a dog has a person with them, Chester seems to get along just fine with the person and dog both. The trouble is people out alone, especially joggers and bikers. I have worked with the trainer and Chester's recall is quite good, but today a biker was out and I didn't have time to get Chester away from the trail before the biker came through. I was holding Chester and he still managed to lunge out and bite the biker-shocked the h--- out of me and the biker. Anyway, entirely my fault-there was no excuse. Chester is now quaranteed for 10 days and I am beside myself with concern and anxiety. My son told me I had to find a place to walk Chester were there aren't any people. We live in Montana so it shouldn't be that hard to do, but not realistic.

 

Anyway, what about a muzzle for him when we walk? I just don't think I can trust him at all anymore and I am sick about the bite. I have a call into my trainer about it, but haven't heard back from him yet. You all have so much knowledge and I thought you might be able to suggest a muzzle I could use just on these walks, so that I don't have to worry about who he is going to bite next. Please help!! He really is a good dog and the only time this has been a problem is with the bikers and joggers.

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I think a basket muzzle might be a good idea while you're working on desensitizing him to bikers and joggers, more for your sake than for anything else. If he's wearing a muzzle you'll be able to calm down knowing that he can't bite anyone, and then you can work with him on a leash without him picking up on your anxiety. I would find places for now that are less busy so that he can run and use up some energy, and then you can take him to busier places when he has burned off that edge and is ready to think and learn.

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This is an issue that is going to take a ton of patience and work on your part. You need to find a place where there are bikers and joggers that you can see but not have to get too close to. Then you need to get as close as you can without the dog reacting too much. As soon as he starts to react back away a bit and then start some training. You will need to work on "watch me", sit, down, and "leave it". When you have the dogs attention and can keep it focused on you then you get a little closer the next time get a little closer the next time out. Go slow and keep getting closer as the training continues. It is a long slow process but you can desensitize him over time. Keep the sessions short and always end with your dog achieving success. I have done this with Mozart and his desire to chase cars. You can desensitize your dog but it takes a lot of work and time. There is no quick fix. A muzzle is a band aid at best. Just stay where it's safe until you get this worked out.

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Guest LJS1993
Long time reader....haven't posted much, but need some help with this....

Got our BC last July from the local shelter. They didn't have any info on him as he had been just dropped off in front of the shelter one day. He had many inappropriate behaviors, but I have been working with a trainer and he is doing much better. I have been fanatical about giving him the exercise he needs..morning and evening walks 3 - 5 miles each. The problem is that he has very strong prey drive and the area I walk him in has been quite rural, but with the city's growth, more and more people are out on the trails. He is fine with other dogs, he seems to get along with all dogs well. As a matter of fact, if a dog has a person with them, Chester seems to get along just fine with the person and dog both. The trouble is people out alone, especially joggers and bikers. I have worked with the trainer and Chester's recall is quite good, but today a biker was out and I didn't have time to get Chester away from the trail before the biker came through. I was holding Chester and he still managed to lunge out and bite the biker-shocked the h--- out of me and the biker. Anyway, entirely my fault-there was no excuse. Chester is now quaranteed for 10 days and I am beside myself with concern and anxiety. My son told me I had to find a place to walk Chester were there aren't any people. We live in Montana so it shouldn't be that hard to do, but not realistic.

 

Anyway, what about a muzzle for him when we walk? I just don't think I can trust him at all anymore and I am sick about the bite. I have a call into my trainer about it, but haven't heard back from him yet. You all have so much knowledge and I thought you might be able to suggest a muzzle I could use just on these walks, so that I don't have to worry about who he is going to bite next. Please help!! He really is a good dog and the only time this has been a problem is with the bikers and joggers.

 

 

Man what did the mountain biker have to say about this? Over here in SoCal I have a feeling some sort of restitution would have to take place.

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Man what did the mountain biker have to say about this? Over here in SoCal I have a feeling some sort of restitution would have to take place.

 

 

Oh, it was a nasty encounter. He got ugly, and he was talking about shooting Chester, and then I lost my temper, so before it was over, he was ready to shoot both of us. Actually, I thought he was going to assault me. I can't justify my behavior, we - Chester and I - were completely in the wrong. I have to appear in court the end of June. I just keep telling myself it could have been worse, but I sure hope it never, ever does!!

 

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions and wisdom.

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Terrible situation! My sympathies! I can't offer any good advice with dealing with this particular bit biker, but do have a bit of experience with the bike reactivity.

 

My dog used to be really freaked out by running humans and bikes, too. Bikes are still a sore spot. I had to do a LOT of on-leash work: making him sit, rewarding when calm near bikes, etc.. It helped to have him in the little park where small kids ride their bikes: we could walk behind very slow kids with training wheels so he could get used to the whole machine.

 

He's pretty predictable now when he knows a bike is coming, and can sort of plan or get himself ready for it. But he still goes into growling/barking mode if he's surprised. Even waaaay out in the woods, where we're far from any streets and houses, we still occasionally get bombarded by mountain bikers barreling down hills, seemingly from out of nowhere.

 

Good luck!

 

Mary

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The cyclist showed a remarkable lack of common sense, if you ask me - whizzing up right beside a strange dog. What'd he expect? Kisses and tail wags? :rolleyes: For some reason, cyclists always seem surprised to find animals don't enjoy someone suddenly appearing out of nowhere and racing into their personal space on a buzzing contraption. Maybe all that "oxygen debt" they're always yammering about withers their little brain cells after awhile. :D

 

Horse people have a terrible time with these yahoos. I sympathize.

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The cyclist showed a remarkable lack of common sense, if you ask me - whizzing up right beside a strange dog. What'd he expect? Kisses and tail wags? :rolleyes: For some reason, cyclists always seem surprised to find animals don't enjoy someone suddenly appearing out of nowhere and racing into their personal space on a buzzing contraption. Maybe all that "oxygen debt" they're always yammering about withers their little brain cells after awhile. :D

 

Horse people have a terrible time with these yahoos. I sympathize.

 

 

What astounds me about people doing this to horses is that...most people have seen the kind of damage a deer can do to a car. How much more damage can my 1000 lb horse do? Think about that, you beeping jerk, before you try to scare my horse whose only fault is I'm riding him in a field next to the road. There's every possibility four steel shod feet can come right through your windshield AND you if you play your cards right.

 

What, they think I'm going to press a button and the bike horn I put in between his ears is going to beep back and it's all Happy Families? Jerks. I hate the Beepers.

 

Sorry for the thread hijack. Lawyer up. Good luck.

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Guest LJS1993
The cyclist showed a remarkable lack of common sense, if you ask me - whizzing up right beside a strange dog. What'd he expect? Kisses and tail wags? :rolleyes: For some reason, cyclists always seem surprised to find animals don't enjoy someone suddenly appearing out of nowhere and racing into their personal space on a buzzing contraption. Maybe all that "oxygen debt" they're always yammering about withers their little brain cells after awhile. :D

 

Horse people have a terrible time with these yahoos. I sympathize.

 

I can sympathize with both the mountain biker and this BC owner. I used to do a lot of trail/street riding and hated it when I had to slow down for either some old couple walking the trail, kids smoking weed or playing games, a baby, or a dog and it's owner. It always bothered me how people would either allow their dogs to chill of leash or show a lack of control over their leashed animal. Numerous times I would slow down to only have the dog lunge at me and the owner act as if I was the one in the wrong. With that said I would also always make noise long before I was coming up on the walkers, and if in doubt I would flat out say "hello bike coming through". So I can see it from both sides.

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Chester's Mom - pax makes a good point. You really should consult a lawyer before your court date.

 

Actually, I thought he was going to assault me.

 

If you thought he was gonna hit you, he may have actually assaulted you. Assault is to put someone in reasonable fear of an "illegal touching" - battery is the actual touching part. Definitely please talk to a lawyer. The cyclist may try to make something out of this incident, and you don't want to be unprepared. For your dog's sake if not for your own.

 

Good luck - keep us posted.

 

ETA: Depending on where you are, your state Bar Association may have an "Ask a Lawyer" hotline or a referral service where the first visit is low cost or free. Google your state Bar Association for their web page and find out.

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Wait a minute. Blame the cyclist? For riding on the trail?

 

You admit that the dog goes after cyclists and joggers. Yet you take this dog off leash where there are bound to be joggers and cyclists? Of course the cyclist was angry about getting bitten while doing what he had every right to do, without fear of attack.

 

To say that others should adapt what they are doing - the cyclist should have slowed to a crawl and not "startled" the dog - so a dog owner can do as you please is a tad strange.

 

Any time I suspect Fergie might not behave as I want her to, she's on a short leash. Heck, she's great with all the neighbors, especially kids. But. yesterday, on our usual walk, we noticed the new neighbors were having a kids basketball game in their driveway. Ferg was on leash immediately. And all she'd have done would be to saunter up and ask for pats. But I know that not all folks, and kids, are comfortable with visits from unknown dogs. I'm sure that, in about a week, she and they will be buddies. But we don't take chances.

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I was holding Chester and he still managed to lunge out and bite the biker-

 

nancy - from this I assume Chester was not off leash, and if the cyclist got close enough to be bitten by a restrained dog, then, yep, I think the cyclist is partly at fault.

 

That said, I believe in preparing for unexpected encounters and wouldn't take my horses or dogs where I thought there'd be cyclists without some real-life bombproofing practice beforehand.

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Being that the dog was on leash, you didn't break any laws. Do you have your rabies certificate or papers or tag? I think all they can do is make you pay for the bikers doctor bill. They may do some temperament testing on the dog. As worst case scenario, the dog would have to spend a few days away being tested. Just my guess by watching doggy TV.

I'm not real fond of bikers either, you'd think they'd give you some space.

 

Here on the belt line bikers usually say "on your left" even if you are walking without a dog. It's just common courtesy. Also rollerbladers do too. The wire muzzle allows the dog to pant, where the other muzzles don't.

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While not the cyclist's fault by a long shot that he got bit I will say that I've seen my share of bikers who feel that the trail belongs ONLY to them as they go by at breakneck speed. I feel the trail is to be shared and common decency and respect should prevail, which includes slowing down a tad when going by people, especially if it's so narrow that a leashed dog can lunge and get to you.

 

When I'm on trail with my horse, as annoying as bikers and even joggers can be, we're sharing a trail and the only way to do so is to be respectful. I don't gallop by people with the intent to give them a mouthful of dust but I also expect a biker to slow down a bit and not freak my horse out....it's not my trail, but it's not his either.

 

Unfortunately for the OP, it sounds like the situation escalated but hopefully cooler minds will have prevailed by the court date. Best of luck!

 

Maria

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I feel your pain. Pepper, usually WONDERFUL with both people and animals, reacts to bicyclists and runners (and cars). It's something we're working through as well.

 

I'm sorry that the bicyclist thought that it was his right to get so close to you and your dog that although you had him in your arms he was still able to lunge out at the bicylist and bite him. :D Unless there wasn't a reasonable amount of space for him to ride in away from you that's reckless bicycling IMHO.

 

I'm sure your trainer has his own methods but one of the things that my trainer/behavioralist is doing with me and Clover (who has issues with other dogs) is working on heel and instead of correcting her for going after other dogs or moving things, correcting her when she breaks her heel. The eventual hope (after lots of work - we've only been to one session so far-) is that she'll have to pay attention to ME and will be desensitized to other things like bicyclists, dogs, etc. We're going to start working like this with Pepper to (on our own) for the same reason. If nothing else, Clover's heel and loose leash walking are getting amazingly good because of this work :rolleyes:

 

Good luck and I hope your lawyer does his or her job and makes everything if not go away, at least minimal for you.

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A muzzle is at best only a partial solution, because it isn't going to keep a lunging dog from knocking a biker down, possibly causing even more injury.

 

You won't like hearing it, but frankly the biker had a right to be on the trial if it's legal for bikers - period. If you can't control your dog, stay home. The biker may be guilty of lacking common sense, but he was acting within his rights (again assuming this was a legal bike trail).

 

When your dog reached out and grabbed him, your rights ended. Yes, you need a lawyer. Now. You need to get the dog to a certified behaviorist who is willing to temperament test him and do a legal statement about his potential for dangerous behavior, and what/if something can be done about it to prevent it from happening again. This may help you with the judge.

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Guest LJS1993
The cyclist showed a remarkable lack of common sense, if you ask me - whizzing up right beside a strange dog. What'd he expect? Kisses and tail wags? :rolleyes: For some reason, cyclists always seem surprised to find animals don't enjoy someone suddenly appearing out of nowhere and racing into their personal space on a buzzing contraption. Maybe all that "oxygen debt" they're always yammering about withers their little brain cells after awhile. :D

 

Horse people have a terrible time with these yahoos. I sympathize.

 

 

This remark is highly inflammatory.

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. You need to get the dog to a certified behaviorist who is willing to temperament test him and do a legal statement about his potential for dangerous behavior, and what/if something can be done about it to prevent it from happening again. This may help you with the judge.

The behaviorist is a really excellent idea and can save you time and trouble in the long run.

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Hmm... I certainly understand both sides of the issue. I walk a mostly-not-reactive-anymore dog in a park, and I keep my eyes and ears open all the time, ready to leash Buddy and get him off trail if I see or hear a bike coming. With enough distance, he's fine and calm, and everything goes well.

 

On the other hand, I've been on a trail in the middle of the woods and had a biker almost land on top of me and my dog - bouncing down a hill, assuming that anyone in his way would be able to jump aside in time, which was not necessarily true. Had I been elderly or handicapped, there could have been a problem!

 

I think we ALL need to be aware enough of our surroundings to react safely. That includes me walking my dog and keeping him where he and bikers won't have a problem, but it also includes bikers' keeping their eyes open and being aware that everyone - human and dog - needs a bit of reaction time before they can move out of the way.

 

There's a park near me that has wonderful rules, I think. Walkers have right of way over horseback riders, who have right of way over bikers. And, my favorite part, dogs can be off leash BUT no one should be approached by an animal unless they WANT to be approached by an animal. I've never had a problem at this park. If I see a stranger without a dog, I just call Buddy to heel until they've passed safely.

 

Mary

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I certainly agree 100% that the trails are for everyone...... Again, thanks for all of the comments, quite interesting and helpful. I did contact 'my lawyer friend' today and felt much better after talking with him. I still have a lot of work to do with Chester, he has come a long way in the past 10 months, but we have more to do. Again, thanks!

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Hi if you are going to use a mussle which i would recomend for the short term until you have hopefully resolved your dogs issues with bikes etc i would use a basket mussle you can get plastic or wire .

I used to race whippets and we could have 7/8 whippets at anyone time 3 that i can remember had to be mussled when we where walking as they had a strong prey drive and there was always the possibility of them nipping so as a precaution my dad mussled them. While racing or waiting to race we had 1 dog who had to be mussled all the time at the track as he would get over excited he bite my dads bum on one occassion.

I also had a whippet who hated people on bikes and skateboards she'd go crazy never found out why my be she just wanted to chase like it was alure so i always kept a mussle with me when i walked her and if i thought there was any danger i would just pop it on her never had any probs in fact the only person she actually really frightened was the binman he came into the back garden and she had him pinned up against a wall she never bit him though just growled and snarled now that was a funny site a 6ft 3 man pinned to a wall by a 20lb whippet he apologised and said it was his fault as he knew he wasn't supposed to come in the garden when the dogs where out as she hated bin men.

If you already have a trainer for your dog can you get them to right a statement for you to say what issues you areworking on etc that should look good in a court that you have a rescue dog and you are having proffenional help to work through the issues surley.

Anyways good look i hope all goes well .

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