RE: Dogs… is it just me?
> What do dogs have against unicycles?
> You can ride a bike past them, walk past them and they won’t bat an
> eyelid, but unicycle anywhere near them and they’ll be
> straining at the leash and barking like mad.
I’m not a dog expert, but I believe that most dog behaviors are of an
instinctive nature. Does the dog have a built-in unicycle instinct? No. But
we know many dogs have some sort of a chase instinct. If I run around in my
house, both of my dogs will chase me. They don’t know why. I guarantee you
they don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish! All they know is that I’m
running, so they’re supposed to do it too.
See the dogs: http://tinyurl.com/bmi (yes, they can run if they want)
Whatever triggers this chase reflex is probably a combination of things. I’m
a firm believer that a dog is primarily a nose with four legs, and smell
governs a huge amount of what they do. This applies proportionally to the
breed of dog, of course. Some have better sense of smell than others. A
bulldog, for example, is a flat nose, saliva glands, and four legs, in that
So a dog may detect some form of physical exertion from a unicyclist, though
I don’t know how big a factor.
Dogs are probably also responding to the motion they see. A bicycle, aside
from being a familiar sight, has a smooth motion. The feet pedal slowly, and
the bike generally goes straight. A unicycle is being pedaled much faster,
and tends to wobble (the wheel goes side to side along with the pedaling).
The rider’s arms are not fixed to handlebars, but might be flailing around.
This motion somehow triggers the dog to take interest.
> Funny, here in New York City, I think the dogs are completely
> jaded and de-sensitized because they hardly ever bark at me.
The pedestrians in NYC are jaded too. And the kids! They’ve all seen too
Stay on top,