Let's talk about stray dogs


Our journey continues southwards, following the Mekong, away from the highways. It was terrific riding through little villages and farmland, with hardly any traffic and great and friendly people. Most houses are on stilts, sometimes up to five-meter-high, so we can imagine how these places look like in the rain-season. We have also left the pure Buddhist regions, as we came across many mosques. It seems to be quite divided into little townships that are Muslim, with the calls of the Muezzin and many women in hijab. Often the next village is very obviously Buddhist. I would be interested, if this is a respected, peaceful next to each other, or if there are tensions. In any case we had a great time. But also, very, very wearing, mainly because it is so stinking hot, and we are doing very long days. With hot comes humid in the tropics and it is often already early in the day very uncomfortable. We fantasise of cool lakes, ice-cream and airconditioning. Anyhow, there are coconuts for Ellie and Max and sugarcane juice for me. We do long days, not because we really like them, but 100km seems to be the distance between townships with accommodation. A last 130km day brought us into Phnom Penh and we decided we need more than just a day off (We are having two days off now!!!), to wash clothes, wash ourselves, eat hamburgers and laze around in airconditioned hotel rooms. I start to warm up towards Cambodia. It is so full-on and Phnom Penh is the epicentre of activity. Traffic that is crazy, markets where you get lost, smells and noises of all sorts 24 hours long and everywhere something is being build. By chance we came past and old garment factory, that is being transformed into a cultural hub and it could have been Berlin in the 90th, full of innovative people trying new things. So, we are having a ball


But we must talk about dogs….. stray dogs, the nightmare of all bike tourers. There are so many pseudo-authorities in the internet trying to tell you how to deal with dog attacks…. We think most of them are just wrong or written by dog-lovers or even dog owners. We do not like dogs!!! Having said this, Ellie likes Peppi and Max likes dogs generally, but he likes most things and he is a kid, so what does he know? For Ellie and me, dogs are pure evil creatures, that lay the whole day in the shade until a bike-tourer comes past, at which time they become psychopaths.


After three month we have polished our response to the daily dog attacks and feel more confident now.


1 – At first sight of a dog assess its size. If it is smaller than a rat, do not worry. Treat everything bigger than rat-size as a potential killer.


2 – If the dog runs at you and wants to eat you (most likely it will, unless it is still digesting the last bike rider), speed up. People tell you that you cannot be faster than a dog and that you should stop and talk calmly with the dog. That is complete and utter BS. Firstly, you do not talk calmly with mass murderers and second you can very well run out a dog, unless it is uphill.


3 – Scream, as if your life is under threat (And your life is under threat!!!) Seriously, again people say, not a good idea, but it works in 95% of situations for us. Three people screeching the worst crudities at a dog works. It is better if you know the local language, but that is not a necessity.  


4 – Carry some mid-size stones. It is normally enough just to pretend to throw them. Dogs normally know what a stone in a hand means.


5 – A new thing we have invented and perhaps the best ever way to deal with stray dogs is: We nowadays always carry a handful of little kittens in our handlebar bag and in case of an attack we just toss one out… the dog will lose all interest in you. If you think we are cruel, most times the kitten has won so far.  


Write a comment

Comments: 9
  • #1

    Ludolf (Tuesday, 21 January 2020 04:32)

    My good Antactic friend John Annexstad, a motor bike rider, has the saying: A good dog lies flat on the street.

  • #2

    Penny (Tuesday, 21 January 2020 05:14)

    Omg I haven't laughed so much! As a lover of all animals (besides snakes technically a reptile or a spider technically an insect) I feel that all need some kind of love BUT I assure you if a stray was chasing me I would join your cause and scream and throw stones!
    Can you clarify the hanging meat (photo) was not the stray dog? In which case they could be trying to survive and you are the potential killer? ��
    Much loves, and enjoy the stories!

  • #3

    Christian (Tuesday, 21 January 2020 14:36)

    Bloß blöd, wenn die Hunde von vorne kommen �. Meine Erfahrung ist auch, dass die nicht freundlich werden, wenn du freundlich bist. Hätte wie Penny erwartet, dass das Bild eure Tagesbeute war �. Tolle Bilder wie immer - viel Spaß euch weiterhin.

  • #4

    Sabine (Wednesday, 22 January 2020 10:04)

    Very funny. I had a good laugh even with being a dog and cat owner. I can confirm that cat is in charge. Do you mind me sharing it as end of week funny story with work mates?

  • #5

    Sharks (Wednesday, 22 January 2020 13:11)

    Hi Sabine, sure, go for it.

  • #6

    Paula (Friday, 24 January 2020 04:38)

    When I’m walking my own beloved furry friends I can do a very impressive ROAR when threatened by an angry pooch. I even scare myself. It’s amazing what happens when the maternal instinct kicks in. And it has always worked, so far. No kittens or rocks needed! When dogs used to chase my horse (with me on it) I took great delight in turning the horse around and charging the dog. That worked well too. I guess that wouldn’t work so well on a loaded-up bike? Unless it had a horse head, or maybe a dragon head? Thanks for the blog! P

  • #7

    Soup (Saturday, 25 January 2020 01:45)

    Thanks for the kitty tips. Recently bailed up by large dog on a morning walk and had to back away. If only I had few wee kittens on my person I could have provided a distraction. Thanks for all of your great stories and keep on cycling.

  • #8

    Matt (Saturday, 25 January 2020 06:14)

    Steffen, just remember, you will be safe as long as you can cycle faster than Ellie and Max!

  • #9

    Danni T (Saturday, 25 January 2020 15:30)