How can I fend off wild dogs while running?

What's the best defense for when you are running alone and get chased by a couple of wild dogs? All I had was a twig and a snowball to defend myself! Dogs in Mongolia often have rabies and these two were very nasty (and hungry) looking.

Mar 25, 2010
Outside Magazine

Bear Deterrent Spray


Okay, Dave, you deserve some sort of prize. I have answered thousands of questions since starting the Gear Guy in 1997. (that’s right—1997. That’s pre-Cambrian in Interwebs time.) I have dealt with odd requests around tents, boots, stoves, jackets, you name it. But never...NEVER...have I been asked for advice on how to deal with fierce, rabid dogs...in Mongolia.

But I agree—a twig and a snowball is hardly worthwhile protection against a pair of hungry Mongolian canines. My advice: Pretend you’re in bear country. You need some kind of easily portable, easily deployed, chemical-based repellent. Something such as Counter AssaultBear Deterrent ($45) and a holster to hold it ($12). This is powerful stuff—super-hot red pepper derivatives that can hit a target= up to 30 feet away. A shot of that in the dogs’ eyes, and I think you will be okay.

Of course, that implies you have access to Western retail channels. And for all I know, you do not (although you obviously have Web access). You can make home-made deterrents using common ammonia and some water. Mix them to about 1:1 and put them in any kind of squirt gun or spray bottle that’s easily carried. That’s very effective, too. Just make sure your spray device doesn’t create a fine mist that can blow back into your eyes. Then you’ll be blind AND chased by mad dogs.

Might be worthwhile to carry half a dozen dog biscuits, too. Seriously. If they’re hungry, food will throw them off the trail long enough for you to escape. I think.

Anyway, thanks for writing! You made my day.

Filed To: Dogs, Mongolia, Tools

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