Wow, after reading these topics I had to come here and post a comment.
People who stated in your forum topic claiming that you are only out to get your dog killed. That if you bring a dog along with you on the trails will only get a dog killed.
To me these people have little to no experience at all. I know some newly back packers perhaps think nature is a pink fluffy bunny that if you think a certain way a bear will just come up to you snuggle.
For one thing, nature is hostile. If you want to bring a dog in a hostile environment then I suggest you do so with pride. Pride in your dog, and pride in yourself.
I love my dog, and my dog loves it in the bush. If I didn't take my dog with me when I went out in the bush, he would be devastated. When he is out in the bush with me, he is the happiest dog in the world. He loves it more than me an I love going out in the bush. Do I take my dog out to get him killed? No! Would I protect myself and my dog if need be? Yes!
Reading this forum on people suggesting that a dog potentially saving someone's life if wrong is absolutely disgusting to me. These people have no experience long term in the woods or they have some sort of mental issue. (Like thinking bears and nature is a pink fluffy bunny that is always under there control.) It is the way Tim Treadwell's way of thinking was. (Tim Treadwell ended up getting eaten by a bear.)
A dog is a companion, and my life may have actually been saved because of my dog.
Not too long ago I was out in the bush coming back to my camp when my dog kept growling and barking in a direction of thick bush in which I was heading towards. So I decided to head back to camp. I tried a few times to see what it was but I didn't see anything. My dog continued to act strange all the way back to camp. Once I got back it was then I saw the bear.
If it wasn't for my dog trying to get me to come back to camp. I would have stayed out there.
btw, my dog is a bichon which is no bigger than a poodle.
I'm so sorry that you got these horrible comments and believe me, they have no idea what they are talking about.
Loc: Portland, OR
Country Jay, I don't have any idea if you will come back here to read this or if your comments were just the result of a one time visit you will not repeat. I would hope you will stick around, share what you know and learn from what others know.
However, I would like to challenge your assumption that because you have one set of experiences and have drawn your conclusions from them, that your experience invalidates everyone else's or nullifies their conclusions. I do not know where you hike or how long you've backpacked because you did not fill out your profile or give this information in your reply, but I do know that what applies to Georgia may not apply to Arizona, or that experience that is true in Michigan may not be valid in Alaska or Montana. When you've learned all there is to know about every wild place, then you can make such unqualified statements and they'll be respected. As it is, we have forum members from all over the world. Lots of them have decades of backpacking experience. But no matter how experienced you or I may be, there is always more to learn and someone else who knows more about it than you or I do.
You may believe that your bichon saved your life by growling at a bear, but my experience (as well as the relevant data) tells me that black bears attack and kill humans so rarely that it is justified to say it is no more than a one in a million possibility. If the bear were a grizzly (aka brown) bear, then the chances of a fatal attack are not quite as remote, but still pretty rare. Because black bears are several hundred times more numerous than grizzlies, which can only be found in a handful of U.S. states, chances are your bear was a black bear. If so, your life was not in very much danger, dog or no dog.
As for nature being "hostile" as you say, or "a fluffy pink bunny" as you seem to think others may believe, I would say that it is neither. Nature is more or less indifferent. It can kill us or spare us, but not because it cares about the outcome either way. The more you learn about the way nature operates, the easier it is to abide by its rules and thrive within them. When this forum works the way it is supposed to, we all learn from each other and we all end up safer and happier during our time in the wilds.
Thank you for the reply. What you said was well said, and I don't disagree with anything you said.
I just notice some tree huggers at times do more damage than good. Like for instance, ruining a possible life long friend ship, a friendship with a dog.
People claiming that you are an animal abuser because you want to take a animal companion out into the woods is just dis heartening to me. These tree huggers would destroy a life long partnership with a friend, a friend who is a dog. That just upsets me.
I have heard countless stories of dogs deterring bears from humans. They give you a sixth sense. They really do. And in return they can be out in the wild with you. Most people with bad bear encounters usually happen when they are alone.
My dog tolerates being at home the same way I tolerate working for a living. But when we hit the trails out in the woods. We are having the time of our lives.
If the original poster is around, I'd say get a dog. You will live longer because you have a dog, and a dog only wants friendship, a home, and to be loved, in return. Pretty low maintenance if you ask me.
Depends on the dog, its training, its purpose, the bear, the bear's species and where the bear is located, sparse bear population or crawling with bear. Rural working dogs are trained to "deter" predators by barking, which warns the humans. The dogs can and do chase of wild animals that would kill their herd, if trained to do so. Many dogs are protective of their owner. Whether they would fight to death to protect thier owner or flee depends on training. I do not plan on testing that with my dog. Whether a bear hearing a barking dog would leave or attack is another unknown. Most horse packers take dogs and swear that the dogs deter bears. But, as said previously, these dogs trained as are more than just pets.
My dog is a warning signal, inasmuch as that is a deterant. We trained her NOT to chase animals. The only animal she is allowed to chase is a squirrl or chipmunk. She loves to chase them up trees, just for the fun of it. She has been through a formal rattlesnake avoidance class.
We have had a bear wander near camp and our dog just sat there, staring at the bear, not moving or making a sound. I think this unfamiliar big beast actually scared her. Had she only heard the rustle in the bushes and not seen the bear, I think she would have barked. Had the bear advanced agressively towards us, hard to say if she would have jumped into our arms in fear or growled fiercely.
I really do not see bears as any more threat to my dog then me. We still take her with us. The fact that there are few bear attacks it the first place, makes me think that bear attacks on dogs are just as infrequent. Thus we do not hesitate to take the dog. And yes, when we ran into the black bear, we were in country that also had infrequent sitings of grizzly (very low population).
I laughed at the comment regarding "low maintenance". Our dog got sick and I just cleaned up more than a dozen barffs on my carpet! She takes a swim in the pool, rolls in my garden, and then bounces into the house mudding up everthing (this when my husband is on duty and HE does not clean the house)! I have to use a sleeping bag cover when she backpacks to protect my very expensive sleeping bag from getting dirty. She sheds like crazy. Companion, yes; low maintenance, no! But, in comparison with a 5-year old grandchild we just had for 10 days, she at least does not make me listen to hours of "Sponge Bob riddles and jokes". I love that dogs are non-verbal.
If I seen a bear with my dog, he'd bark at it, then hide behind me as if to say, "I got it's attention, now he's all yours!"
He's a Shih-poo, and he's learned to bark at almost anything that moves... thanks to being at my mother's house while I'm at work. He loves to bark at the squirrels, birds, cats, bikers, etc. that go by the window.
Last time I had him out for a little hike, he was pretty well behaved. I'm curious to see if he'll bark like mad with just me around, or if it's a house only thing with him.
Might take him for a short over-nighter in the tent this weekend.
I recently installed a dog barking/growling sound fx app on my cell phone for use as a possible black bear deterrent when hiking/camping. Normally while hiking a trail my phone is turned off and packed away, so most of the time the app is useless, especially useless if its a surprise encounter. But while taking a break, sitting around camp or just plain lucky enough to spot the bear before it gets too close, the barking app could work. Of course the bear might not have any fear of dogs but i think chances of that are very low. What i do wonder is, if the bears hearing is sensitive enough to recognize its not a real dog barking and if that would make much of a difference...
Loc: Alaska in the summers, NOrther...
I work for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on the Kenai Peninsula, AK. Our LE Officers and Biologists say it's 50/50 if dogs will help deter bears. Sometimes they can deter bears, and sometimes they can bring them right back to you.
I live alone on Skilak Lake, six miles from my nearest neighbor in a guard station. Last year two mailings occurred within 5 miles of my cabin, this past year only one mauling occurred on the Kenai River about 8 miles from me. 3,000 black and 800 Brown/Griz bears are estimated to live on the Kenai Peninsula.
If I take my dog with my she is on leash. I don't want her bringing a Brown/Griz bear back to me.
Everything I do is solo in heavy bear country. I backpack, hike, canoe and do solo patrols. I carry bear spray at all times.
I've hiked with dogs over the years and encountered black bears on at least 6 occasions. Neither of the two dogs i've had over the span of 25 years acted aggressive during a bear enounter which i think helped me avoid potential problems. Usually when I spot a bear I remain quiet and slowly leave the area. I think a barking dog could be viewed as agressive by a bear and result in an attack. On one occasion i was out with my dog along with a couple of other dogs when we encountered a cougar on the other side of a creek. The dogs stood on one side of the creek barking and snarling while the cougar stood on the other side hissing and growling. This went on for a few minutes until the dogs won out and the cougar left. So perhaps your app may have some value, just not with bears.