Joey's Gear Recommendations & Reviews
Dazer II ELECTRONIC DOG DETERRENT
I must really like this item as I have purchased five or six of them over the past fifteen years because I keep losing them. Not because I am afraid of dogs while enjoying a dayride in the country. Normally I simply speed away from most any rural farm dog or yell "NO!" in my loudest, deepest voice. A fat stream of water from a water bottle will turn back the most determined hounds. On an extended bike tour however, the challenge is far greater.
When pedaling a loaded touring bicycle weighing nearly seventy pounds around the United States, logging nearly a hundred miles each day, it is never a joy to sprint away from dogs all day long. I have found that in rural areas of America where dogs are allowed to run loose, they all run loose. I have been chased for miles at a time, one pack of mutts giving up just as the neighboring hounds from the next homestead pick up the chase - alerted far in advance by the yelps and barks of the previous chase pack. While pedaling up a steep hill, the dogs have plenty of time to surround me increasing the chances of a crash one way or another. Wasting all of my precious water while sprinting and yelling my way across the countryside just will not do either. My Dazer is the answer.
How It Works: The Dazer consists of a small circuit board contained inside of a lightweight plastic case powered by a 9 Volt battery. When the large button on top of the Dazer is depressed it emits a high frequency sound equivalent to yelling "NO!" in the dog's ear really loudly. When used properly the dog is not harmed. The Dazer can even be used as a training device for your own dogs. When activated toward a charging pack of dogs the Dazer makes the dogs stop. They just stop dead in their tracks. On the occasions where I could not get my hand on the Dazer fast enough before the dogs were at my heels I could hear their toenails digging into the tarmac when I pushed the button. The sound emitted by the Dazer is not audible to most humans. A small red light atop the device lights up when the button is depressed. According to the folks at Dazer: "If the light comes on, sound is emitted." The light is not simply a battery charge indicator. It tells you the thing is working. Maybe. More on that later.
How To Use The Dazer: First, let me encourage you to read the instructions included with the device. This is very important if you really don't want a dog bite. The effectiveness is not as easy as "point and shoot". I can almost guarantee you a dogbite if you just "point and shoot" the Dazer.
The most important thing to do when attacked by a dog is to assume the Dazer will not work. Seriously. This is really, really important. Assume the drooling beast is deaf. Or crazy. Or just does not care about anything other than sinking a canine tooth into your delicious calf muscle. The temptation is to let the dog get into point-blank range so you can hear those toenails digging into the road surface when you nail him. Don't do it! According to Dazer, and me, a small percentage of dogs will become even more enraged and determined to eat you when you zap them. I stopped hundreds of dogs during a long winning streak, but one day I found the helldog. I did not get bitten, but it was close. Actually the Dazer finally stopped the dog when I hit him on top of the head with it. So you want to start zapping the mutts ASAP the minute they leave the porch. If one of them is crazy, you will still have time to outrun him, or drown him with a water bottle. Try to shoot the water into his nose without crashing or veering into traffic. Best of luck.
How To Carry The Dazer: The Dazer has a long flat metal hook on the back side. The hook was designed, in my opinion, to be comfortable and secure in a jersey pocket or hooked to the waistband of Lycra® cycling shorts. The edges of the hook are very smooth so it will not damage delicate fabrics. Since I do not wear "racing" clothing on a leisure tour, the intended use of the hook does not work for me.
Notice the photo at right. No silly, I do not carry two Dazers. Those are the two locations I use depending on my use of a handlebar bag. I prefer the handlebar bag position, but some trips I do not use one, so a strap on my rear pannier gets the nod. I am right-handed luckily because most dog attacks come from the right side of the road. The challenge of hanging the Dazer on your bike comes when you need it under duress. Make sure you can put your hand RIGHT ON IT every time without looking for it with your eyes. Keep your eyes on the road and the traffic situation. I generally do not even unhook the Dazer from my rear pannier. I just reach back and push the button.
Thing I Do Not Like: Remember the first sentence of this review? I have managed to lose several Dazers because of the weak hook on the backside. The hook is not breaking. It just does not really grab anything. This is important when trying the use the Dazer during an attack as you would not want the thing hanging up on anything. However, a little more security would be nice. Granted, I am misusing the hook by attaching the Dazer to my luggage. Hit the right bump just the right way and bye-bye Dazer.
Also, the Dazer is not waterproof. It really cannot be made waterproof as the hole where the sound is emitted must be somewhat open to the air. The Dazer can be operated from inside a sealed Zip-lock bag, but try handling that package under snarling duress.
Finally, the last Dazer I purchased was a dud. Yes, the little red light lit up with every push of the button, and a phone call to the manufacturer K-9 Corp gave me assurance that the red light indicated operation, not battery status. The facts on the ground disputed the claim. On a long tour in the Mississippi River Valley of Missouri south of St. Louis all the way to Kentucky my Dazer did not work on one single dog. Either they ignored it, or became really infuriated when hit point-blank. I zapped over fifty dogs and did not elicit one favorable response. I threw that unit away. The replacement worked fine, but I did not test in the same location as the one that seemed to fail. I did not lobby the manufacturer for a free replacement. Perhaps mine got wet, dropped, or otherwise damaged by me. The lesson to learn here....the red light came on and fifty dogs did not care. If not for the previous Dazers that worked great I would have felt ripped off.
My Rating: ★★★★☆ This item would have pulled a five star rating if the manufacturer had been a little more interested in investigating the "defective" Dazer. I had four that worked great and one that never worked. So...four out of five. I will post my findings on number six when I test it in the field.
Helpful Hint: Somehow it makes me feel good to point the Dazer at the attacking K-9s and say: "Die Klingon Dogs!"