How Effective Are Flashlights In Keeping Dogs At Bay

JAS

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Messages
1,306
Location
Rosemount
I did a search prior to posting this, but I didn't find much. Also, I hope this is the correct sub-forum for this topic. I am a deputy sheriff and I did a forcible eviction this morning. As we were preparing to make forced entry this morning, I realized that Cujo had been left behind in the residence and it seemed as if he was less than thrilled about our presence. We weighed our options and had chemical irritant, animal control pole, Taser X-26, and Glock Model 22 ready to go. I love dogs and did not want to shoot this dog unless it was absolutely necessary. On the other hand, the last time I had an issue with a dog at work I was bitten on the hand and "Fluffy" passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly of lead poisoning! Anyway, what we ended up doing was spraying chemical irritant directly into Cujo's nose while I shined my Streamlight Stinger LED directly into his eyes. We were able to back him into a bedroom and contain him until his owner could get him.

I am just wondering what experiences people here have had specifically with dogs and their flashlights. Have you found that dogs generally retreat if a flashlight is shined directly into their eyes or have you had the opposite happen? I suspect ambient light conditions may have a big impact on the effectiveness of this. Also, I seem to recall in training several years back that with humans at least 100 lumens is necessary to disorient. For as many years as I have been in law enforcement, I have never had any dog specific training. Any knowledge that I have regarding dogs is anecdotal, at best. Also, for all the talk in some of our sub-forums here regarding the strobe mode, I did not use the strobe mode. In retrospect, I wonder what difference, if any, the strobe may have had on Cujo. We did have a good outcome, since no firearms were discharged and I think the effect of the chemical irritant on the dog is temporary. On the other hand, the outcome could have been very different. Lets hear your experiences with dogs and lights.
 

sed6

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 4, 2007
Messages
296
Location
Tornado Alley
I too like dogs. Glad you didn't have to shoot Cujo, but .40 would have done the trick. Lemme ask, why not taser it? Bet it works just as well on dogs as humans and should prove less than lethal.

As to your question, my dog seems completely unaffected by my flashlights. I let him out 2-3 times a night in our unfenced backyard and spotlight him with my P3D or JET-III Pro to make sure he doesn't wander off. While I don't make a point to purposely shine it in his eyes he often looks right into the light and often turns and walks right toward it. Quite honestly each time I wonder why he doesn't seem to be bothered by them. On full blast both are uncomfortably bright when shined in my eyes.

So my experience says no, a flashlight is no better deterent to a dog attack than harsh words would be.
 

computernut

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
647
Location
Canada, eh?
I've had experience with strange dogs at the local off-leash dog park at night. I find dogs act more agressive when approaching when I have the light on and pointed at them. I think they can't see me as well so they bark and growl more than when I turn the light off or point it away. I know my own dog doesn't care about my bright lights.
 

Benson

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
1,145
I have, on a couple occasions, used lights against dogs chasing me while cycling. In both cases, it was getting duskish, the other almost completely dark, so the lights were likely more effective than they would otherwise be. However, both high and strobe (one in each incident) seem to work fine for knocking a dog off-balance momentarily -- all I needed. Unfortunately, I can't really comment on keeping dogs at bay -- but I'd expect that a dog will be initially startled and blinded, but fairly soon adapt and work around it just like a person, so I wouldn't count on anything more than "can't see anything behind the light" effect.
 

Larry237

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
34
Location
Arvada, Colorado
During night time walks, I have been approached several times over the years by dogs that looked hostile and threatening. Bright lights have seemed to be unpleasant to them and they backed off. I wonder if taking a positive stance and looking at them as you use the lights doesn't also have a part in discouraging them. I can't say that lights consistantly repel hostile animals (and people), but my experience in 25 years as a cop and lots of time in the outdoors suggests that bright lights are sometimes effective. One of the most useful effects of non-lethal weapons (and possibly lights) is changing the train of thought of an attacker. There is also the simple fact that vision is impaired when a bright light shines into a night adapted eye. Bright lights may be worth a try before increasing the level of force. I haven't used the strobe function as a deterrent, so far, but I will give that a try if the right threat occurs.
 
Last edited:

novice

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
1,033
I was walking my dog awhile ago (on a leash) on a neighborhood loop. My dog can be semi-aggressive towards other dogs; she doesn't bite or nip, but she will temporarily get in another dog's face when she has the opportunity, so I'm sure she attracts the same kind of energy even when she is on a leash. Anyway, a pit bull came running out of it's yard across the street, and came running up to my dog. It didn't bite (thank god), but it was 'aggressively curious', and in my dog's face, and my dog's attitude wasn't helping. I had my Fenix P2D out and on 'turbo' (supposedly 180 lumens) and I was shining it directly in the dog's eyes at point-blank range, and shouting "No! No! No!" in (my) command voice, and nothing really seemed to make that much difference. I contemplated kicking the dog away (out of fear for my dog), but neither the other dog, nor mine, was biting, and not only did I not want to hurt another dog, but I was afraid that such an action might 'escalate' the situation for the other dog. Nothing bad happened, fortunately. I continued walking, pulling my dog along, and 'eventually' the other dog lost interest, but I was a little dismayed that the entire concept of the 'blinding tactical beam' was entirely ineffective that evening.
 

hoongern

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
435
Location
Cambridge, MA & Malaysia
I can say that all the animals I light up (a couple of dogs around the field I walk every night, a couple of cats, etc.) completely ignore a bright light. Sometimes they will just blink for a split second and maybe look away a little bit, but that's about it. But then, in an urban setting, they are very used to being lit up all the time by car headlights, so that may have something to do with it - having been conditioned.
 

Locoboy5150

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
1,102
I went on a night time walk with my girlfriend in the park down the street from her place about a month ago. It was about 8:00 PM and aside from the pathway lights in the park, very dark. It was the perfect place to test out my Fenix TK40.

On our walk to the park we passed by the backyard of a home that was dominated by Cujo. Luckily there was a tall metal fence separating us, otherwise we would have been the latest flavor of Purina Dog Chow that evening. My girlfriend knew about the vicious dog so we walked on the opposite side of the street (2 lanes wide) from that yard.

As Cujo moved in for the kill, but just stopped short of the fence, I kicked my TK40 into turbo and shined all 630 lumens straight at him. He didn't budge. I then turned on the strobe mode. Once again he didn't budge, but he kept barking like crazy. I cycled my TK40 through all the different light output modes and flash modes...all resulted in no change from the dog.

Based on my experience that night if you want to stun a vicious dog, you need something else besides a bright flashlight.
 

biggerdog

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
18
I wonder if the spectral sensitivity curve of canine (and feline) eyes is different from that of humans.
 

Jash

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
1,649
Location
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Just went into the bathroom and put my light on strobe. Shines at about 170-180 lumens and I could hardly stand up. Put in on straight bright and shone it into my eyes and after about two seconds I could see my own reflection in the mirror despite the hotspot being right in my eyes. When in strobe mode it almost gave me a head-ache as my eyes were trying to handle the bright/dark, bright/dark, bright/dark. I now know what I'll use if anyone tries to break in. Don't see a dog being able to handle strobe better than a human.
 

amaretto

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
142
Location
germany
Do not be convinced in any flashlight repelling dogs. Once i was i a situation when i had to fire up my Polarion PH50 (5000 lm) against a dog - i feel sorry about the dog until now because i like dogs. The only effect was that he stopped running against us so that we could pass. But the dog was not hiding or anything else but was still looking in our direction. If i shone this light to a human it would had been more effective.

I dont know if very right flashlights could do any damage to dogs eyes. But to prevent it i would use chemicals as pepper spray in future if possible.
 

Monocrom

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
20,482
Location
NYC
I went on a night time walk with my girlfriend in the park down the street from her place about a month ago. It was about 8:00 PM and aside from the pathway lights in the park, very dark. It was the perfect place to test out my Fenix TK40.

On our walk to the park we passed by the backyard of a home that was dominated by Cujo. Luckily there was a tall metal fence separating us, otherwise we would have been the latest flavor of Purina Dog Chow that evening. My girlfriend knew about the vicious dog so we walked on the opposite side of the street (2 lanes wide) from that yard.

As Cujo moved in for the kill, but just stopped short of the fence, I kicked my TK40 into turbo and shined all 630 lumens straight at him. He didn't budge. I then turned on the strobe mode. Once again he didn't budge, but he kept barking like crazy. I cycled my TK40 through all the different light output modes and flash modes...all resulted in no change from the dog.

Based on my experience that night if you want to stun a vicious dog, you need something else besides a bright flashlight.

I think you would have eventually stunned him with your TK40 ... By chucking it at his head. :lolsign:

I'm sorry. Couldn't resist. In all seriousness, pepperspray is a better option. A dog's nose is far more sensative to chemical irritants than that of a person's.
 

LightCannon

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
214
Location
California, USA
I went on a night time walk with my girlfriend in the park down the street from her place about a month ago. It was about 8:00 PM and aside from the pathway lights in the park, very dark. It was the perfect place to test out my Fenix TK40.

On our walk to the park we passed by the backyard of a home that was dominated by Cujo. Luckily there was a tall metal fence separating us, otherwise we would have been the latest flavor of Purina Dog Chow that evening. My girlfriend knew about the vicious dog so we walked on the opposite side of the street (2 lanes wide) from that yard.

As Cujo moved in for the kill, but just stopped short of the fence, I kicked my TK40 into turbo and shined all 630 lumens straight at him. He didn't budge. I then turned on the strobe mode. Once again he didn't budge, but he kept barking like crazy. I cycled my TK40 through all the different light output modes and flash modes...all resulted in no change from the dog.

Based on my experience that night if you want to stun a vicious dog, you need something else besides a bright flashlight.
Maybe an ROP or Mag85 would stop it...worst case scenario, just use it like a club?
 
Last edited:

Andy80F

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
33
Location
Poole, Dorset, UK
Big torches can be used as clubs, little ones get stuck in there throats.

I know my dog will run in the flood of light at night but neither she or any other dog encountered seems threatened by light and unless its very dark the effect on people is pretty limited as well. I don't really view flashlights as "defensive" weapons other than for there ability to be used as a club.

Andy
 

leukos

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
3,467
Location
Indianapolis
I'll echo what most others are saying here, but bright lights do not seem to deter determined dogs. My guess is dogs don't rely on their sight as much as humans, perhaps they could still attack us just with their sense of smell? In an animal attack, objects that can serve as a club or a spear will be more effective than a bright light in my opinion.
 

RobertM

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
1,483
Location
United States
Would an incandescent have a great effect on a dog than an LED due to its much broader spectrum of output?
 

ab1ht

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
161
Location
Massachusetts, USA
I wonder if the spectral sensitivity curve of canine (and feline) eyes is different from that of humans.

I was thinking the same thing. This information might be helpful. Will have to look into that...

I'll echo what most others are saying here, but bright lights do not seem to deter determined dogs....

I think that's the key. My dog doesn't particularly like having a light shined in his eyes, but it's certainly something he can handle.
 
Top