Other Animals

This page provides tips about encounters with other animals while bikejoring.

Most of our adventures involve other animals. My favorites are:

Dogs with owners who assume you want to stop & socialize in a potentially dangerous situation. (Tell them you are sorry but your dog is working.)

Loose dogs that run after you barking, and then decide they want to join the team. (Stop the team and tell them they need to go home unless you can outrun them.)

Small loose dogs that want to try to attack a whole team of big furry dogs with big teeth. (Either outrun it or stop the team and yell at the dog to get its attention. I try to make aggressive dogs fear me and ignore the team.)

Cats that are convinced they own the road and, hey they can sit in the middle. (How good are your brakes? At some point a smart cat will run off the road. A dumb cat will run down the road "who are these dogs and why are they chasing me"?)

Two squirrels that are chasing each other back and forth across the road. (Hope your brakes are good and there isn't any oncoming traffic.)

A squirrel that runs into the road 10 feet in front of your team. (That's a suicide squirrel.)

In general, your dogs may try to defend themselves against other dogs that are aggressive. It is best if you defend them and make it clear their job is to stay out of such situations. I try to warn loose dogs away from mine in a deep nasty growly voice, so they see me as the main threat and ignore my team.

Other dogs are always a wild card, prepare for trouble, hope for the best. The situation could be good (only possible if your dogs are well socialized) or could be bad (if things aren't perfect).

Your dogs will want to chase cats and squirrels. The closer to the varmit and less tired they are, the more they will insist. It is not the chase that is bad, it is the sudden stop that ends the chase or the 90 degree turn at 15 mph. The dogs can make that turn, you can't.

I brake enough to make it clear we will not catch the varmint. I also emphasize they can chase straight down the road only. Turning off road is forbidden. Once those rules are established, enjoy the rocket ride. Until then, fear for your life.

Cats rarely make the same mistake twice and run off the road the second time they see my dogs coming. Squirrels are dumb and very entertaining. The only way they learn seems to be by genetic selection.

Your dogs will remember where they see cats and squirrels and may speed up in anticipation. Hence, especially with squirrels, you may get the same rocket ride twice, and it may be faster the second time.