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Old 09-03-2016, 12:20 PM   #21
IndLk_Brett
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rbi99 -

I agree completely. I've always viewed my dogs as sort of a security system for bears as they will smell one coming and be up and making a racket barking long before I ever would have known one was coming. In most cases this would cause the bear to realize that its easy, free meal is not an option and it would move on. I would have to think that even if you were alone in an area most bears would choose to move on, unless they are extremely habituated already in which case their natural fear of people (who they likely associate with dogs) would be gone and then who knows depending just how hungry they are.

I also fear the dog "charging into the night" which is why, as I said, I'll keep her leashed. It's funny because she consistently hears deer approaching and snorting, coyotes, beaver tail slaps, loons, and countless other small creatures of the night and hardly gives them a second thought, but one whiff of a bear and she goes off.

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Old 09-03-2016, 12:44 PM   #22
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I think it's dependent on the dog and the situation. The only time I suspected mine were chased was when they went missing for about 45 minutes and came to my house absolutely terrified, panting so hard they couldn't catch their breath, and begging to get in the car. The Malinois was pawing at the car and trying to get me out of there. It was weird. I know she was trying to tell me we were in danger, and she's afraid of nothing.

I suspected a bear may have chased them. Or an alien. We're all pretty afraid of aliens after seeing Fire in the Sky. I saw a very, very strange light hanging over us in a very deserted, winter's night Adirondack sky years ago. My husband was dying to go back and investigate. Not me. I was out of there. At least for a bear there's a shotgun (though I'd be unlikely to actually do that given I go to extensive lengths to run a mouse re-location program in my house). I'm pretty sure shotguns don't work on aliens.
Could it possibly have been a pack of coyotes giving them the run around? I've never seen it personally, but have heard stories of them going after, and in some cases killing (though mostly small breeds) dogs. I could see that situation really freaking a dog out if no matter what way it ran it kept running into another coyote in the group. It would probably seem like they were everywhere.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:20 PM   #23
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There are documented instances of bears entering occupied lean-tos (and tents) in the High Peaks. They are rare, but they have happened.

And generally speaking, bears will avoid and be spooked by dogs. Extremely habituated and hungry bears have been known to ignore dogs, and (rarely) bears who are having a defensive reaction to a situation have been known to attack dogs.

Do keep in mind that in recorded history there have been exactly zero human fatalities as a result of bear encounters in the Adirondacks (I'm not aware of any dog fatalities either, but I imagine records on such might not be as good)
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:39 PM   #24
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One critical point I believe is the fact that though bears in the Adirondacks in late summer to very early winter may be hungrier than usual at any given time, they are not starving unless very sickly or perhaps badly injured. With that in mind, I believe (without verification) the vast majority of bears will take the path of least resistance when it comes to their meals. Dog interfere with that path of lease resistance.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:22 AM   #25
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Could it possibly have been a pack of coyotes giving them the run around? I've never seen it personally, but have heard stories of them going after, and in some cases killing (though mostly small breeds) dogs. I could see that situation really freaking a dog out if no matter what way it ran it kept running into another coyote in the group. It would probably seem like they were everywhere.
I did consider that, and figured it could have happened that way would if there was a larger than normal pack around. The two dopes in question were both 75 lbs, one a Belgian Malinois and the other a Shepherd/chow/golden mix. The Malinois ran off two very large coyotes once, I let her out before I saw them in the back. All three dogs went flying after them, except the two boys stopped within sight of the house. She chased them For over a mile (I backtracked them).

I may be going with the alien theory.

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Old 09-04-2016, 10:50 AM   #26
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My observations of my one dog that has chased coyotes a few times is more along the line of the normal action by the coyotes themselves. They run only as fast as they need to in order to let the pursuer think it can catch it - it can't. The coyote's objective is to tire the pursuer out and then attack. My dog was right on the coyote's tail and a second coyote was following close behind. In the first occurrence I believe the coyotes main objective was simply to get my dog away from their den that had young pups. I didn't see the den itself but I knew what direction it was in and they were pulling my dog in the opposite direction. The second occurrence was pretty strange. We were already leaving the area but the coyote came up from behind and was actually "causing trouble". If it had stayed quiet we would have been gone in a matter of a minute or two. Instead, my dog got all excited again. I leashed him this time and we kept walking. The coyote was actually following us along our side - almost like it was stalking us. Finally I stopped and just watched it for a minute. The coyote's hair started to stand up and it began coming toward us. At this point I simply waved my arms and yelled at it and it left.

Funny side story to the first coyote incident. I had a second dog with me that wasn't totally adapted to hiking in the woods yet, and only weights about 35 lbs. After my bigger dog had had enough of chasing the coyote he was bouncing down the trail toward me all full of himself. Right behind him was the coyote. I looked down at my smaller dog and was going to tell her she was ok, but the poor thing had run like hell in the opposite direction as fast as her little legs could carry her!!!
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:15 PM   #27
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Funny side story to the first coyote incident. I had a second dog with me that wasn't totally adapted to hiking in the woods yet, and only weights about 35 lbs. After my bigger dog had had enough of chasing the coyote he was bouncing down the trail toward me all full of himself. Right behind him was the coyote. I looked down at my smaller dog and was going to tell her she was ok, but the poor thing had run like hell in the opposite direction as fast as her little legs could carry her!!!
Ha. That reminds me of the first time my springer heard coyotes while sleeping out in the tent. It was all I could do to convince the poor girl that she was safe and sound!
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:06 PM   #28
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Is it fair to the dogs?
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:40 PM   #29
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Is it fair to the dogs?
What do you mean exactly? If I'm inferring correctly I think you are implying that maybe they are not having a good time and so it's not fair to them? I could be wrong, if so I'm sorry. If that is the case I can assure you 100% my dog/dogs LOVE to hike and camp! There is little they enjoy doing more. I think most dog owners will tell you the same or they wouldn't bring them. Sure, they might have a moment that isn't the greatest for them (such as the one mentioned), but I think most all of us have those while out in the backcountry. That hardly means the whole experience is a bust. Overall, my dogs have a blast. More fun than even I do I'm sure - they get to run, swim and play while 'dad' lugs all the food!

And also - As for this specific incident as I said it was the first time she had ever heard them and she didn't know what to make of it. Now she practically sleeps right through it without much of a 2nd thought.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:13 AM   #30
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Indlk, points well taken. My littler dog gets tired on the longer backpacking trips, so I have to work around her needs. Last time I took only the younger dog backpacking and left my little girl home. Wife said the little one was miserable the entire time we were gone. Wouldn't eat and just mooped around the house. She saw the backpack being loaded into the car and she knows what a backpack is, or at least what it means. The next backpacking trip I did the little one wouldn't leave my side for even a second as I packed and loaded the car - she came on this one.

Little one was scared to death of water, even the tiniest water crossings spooked her. I could have decided that the woods weren't the place for her and kept her home. Watching her running through streams now brings a smile to my face every time. She could barely swim first time I tried getting her to retrieve a toy from a pond. It was hilarious watching her try to figure the whole swimming thing out. Not any more. She has her own retrieval toy and goes after it like a champ. She had many fears starting out with going into the woods - but not any longer.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:19 AM   #31
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Is it fair to the dogs?
I think yes, most dogs are born for this kind of life. I'm a humane officer, so I see an awful lot of animals with miserable lives. But then there are those whose lives are acceptable by society and legally, who spend most of their lives in tiny crates, boxes, stalls. They have to suppress every instinct and need they were born with, and have essentially been trapped by humans for no purpose. I think dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially hiking, are the happiest creatures on earth.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:31 AM   #32
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The second occurrence was pretty strange. We were already leaving the area but the coyote came up from behind and was actually "causing trouble". If it had stayed quiet we would have been gone in a matter of a minute or two. Instead, my dog got all excited again. I leashed him this time and we kept walking. The coyote was actually following us along our side - almost like it was stalking us. Finally I stopped and just watched it for a minute. The coyote's hair started to stand up and it began coming toward us. At this point I simply waved my arms and yelled at it and it left.
I always leash my dogs if I know any other dog, animal or human is around on a trail, just to avoid such encounters. But living here, the animals do cross paths on our land (we had a bear go through yesterday or today, and it's funny but they dogs don't get all upset at their sign - they show only a passing interest when the Bears mark the trees, etc.

It's an interesting relationship between dogs and coyotes. I'm not sure coyotes know what to make of dogs and vice versa. Territoriality is the prime motivator, but I think there is also curiousity. For awhile when when we had a coyote pack hunting around here, my dogs and the coyotes were pretty respectful, when we'd arrive they'd signal one another, it was very different from alarm barking. I caught my Malinois girl (she's a coquette) howling mournfully with them one night. But when there's a clear invasion of territory it hits the fan.

I don't need to worry about the Belgian Malinois - they are like German shepherds on meth; they are used for the military and police and they are massive athletes.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:26 AM   #33
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I enjoy every second when I am out in the woods with my dogs. No matter how far removed we try to make them, they still have some wolf in them. Watching them run free in the woods, able to use all five of their senses to whatever degree they choose on any particular hike is simply awesome. A walk around the block is good for them also, but nothing compares to running free.

With that being said, I have hiked/backpacked/mountain climbed for well over 40 years with different dogs as time passed. I work with my dogs and learn what they prefer to do verses what I can allow them to do. Until I am confident of their behavior (like our human kids, there are no 100% guarantees), those hikes off leash don't happen.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:59 PM   #34
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Some of you may be interested in the work done by the Wind River Bear Institute.

https://www.facebook.com/WindRiverBearInstitute/


http://www.beardogs.org/
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Old 10-29-2016, 01:13 AM   #35
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With that being said, I have hiked/backpacked/mountain climbed for well over 40 years with different dogs as time passed. I work with my dogs and learn what they prefer to do verses what I can allow them to do. Until I am confident of their behavior (like our human kids, there are no 100% guarantees), those hikes off leash don't happen.
I try to do the same, understanding we'll never be perfect, and I've had certain dogs with limitations who haven't been able to hike off leash. But they are of this earth too, and deserve some freedom. We do our best to avoid contact with anyone who might be offended or alarmed at our forest freedom. Once that's gone, we're moving farther North!
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