Halt is a topic I'd nearly forgotten about; soon after we moved, I
mislaid my Halt and never got around to buying another can of dog
repellent. Unlike Upstaters, Hoosiers love their dogs too much to
train them to chase vehicles.
I think the difference is that in the Capital District, the majority
of the houses in the countryside were occupied by city folk who moved
into the country to be free of tiresome restraints (and are shocked to
learn that they are not allowed to store their cars in the public
roadway). Around here, people fleeing the city cluster around our
many lakes and leave the farmland to farmers.
Halt is not a weapon. It works by distracting the dog's attention.
Most of the time, distracting his attention is quite enough. He's
lying around feeling bored out of his skull when he sees something
moving on the road. All Right! Chasing that will give him a chance
to burn the carbon out of his carburetor. Ouch! This isn't any fun
at all; I'll just roll around in the ditch and whimper for a while.
If you manage to get him before he's had any fun, he may decide that
chasing vehicles isn't something he wants to do -- or, at least, that
chasing *your* vehicle isn't any fun.
Way back when, I was riding to Altamont along the base of the Eastern
Cliffs of the Helderbergs. I saw two dogs come bellowing down a long,
steep driveway on the Helderberg side of the road.
They caught up with me, got sprayed, dropped back, and I went on my
On my return trip, I saw the same two dogs come bellowing down the
same long driveway. When nearly to the bottom, they slammed on the
four-paw brakes, turned around, and ran back up the driveway.
I don't recall ever seeing those dogs again.
On the other hand, there was a dog who lived in a dip in a road that I
used fairly often. He'd had a little fun before he got sprayed, and
came to regard Halt-bearing cyclists the way Hillary regarded Mount
Everest. How long can he dodge the Halt? How much grief can he cause
before the game ends? He was quick to see that forcing one to brake
just before climbing a long steep hill was *really* aggravating, and
could be done without coming into range.
For a dog that's been trained in hand-to-fang combat, or a bitch who
thinks you are after her pups, Halt is no use at all. I once saw a
dog who had been sprayed so many times that her eyes were swollen
shut, and she was still out in the road feeling around for someone to
joy beeson at comcast dot net
The above message is a Usenet post.
I don't recall having given anyone permission to use it on a Web site.