Bear Deterrent Spray
Bear Deterrent Spray (courtesy, Counter Attack)

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.—DaveMongolia

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.

Bear Deterrent Spray Bear Deterrent Spray

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.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: courtesy, Counter Attack