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Staying safe with man's best friend

Walk dogs on a non-retractable leash and be aware of your surroundings.  Dogs can trigger defensive behaviors from bears.  Carry bear or pepper spray and know how to use it.

Although a bear attack is very rare, bear attacks often involve dogs off leash in a rural setting.  Dr. Stephen Herrero, Professor Emeritus University of Calgary, a highly respected bear researcher with over 40 years of experience and a particular focus on Bear Attacks Their Causes & Avoidance (title of his book on the subject), along with his colleagues, just concluded a 3 year study of 92 Black Bear attacks across North America. The study determined that over half of these studied bear attacks involved a dog off leash. (Human Bear Conflicts - International Bear News Spring 2014, vol. 23 no. 1)

An unleashed dog in the open will most often create an avoidable encounter which can result in injury to the dog & its owner.  (

The Minnesota DNR states that since 1987, there have been eight unprovoked bear attacks in Minnesota that resulted in hospitalization.  In three cases, the bears chased dogs that were not leashed.  Bears perceive dogs as a threat, and dogs being chased often come back to their owner with the bear at heel.  (

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Visit for ways to be safe with your canine in bear country

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