I have heard that a bear will not mess with a dog growling and standing its ground. I would never test that theory, but I have heard that. Also depends what kind of bear - black bear will usually sprint like a scared cat when surprised and are at a distance, operative word being surprised so if you see one further away clap and shout and they have always run away from me. For grizzlies just act like Tim Treadwell! Okay I am joking do not mess with a grizzly...
I have my dog wear a bear bell when we are hiking in bear country, or in the early mornings and dusk, it keeps away more than bears. I really suggest that, and a revolver. I wouldn't ever release the dog and "take chances" if it charges, because those chances always means one of you will lose. Stand your ground and make a fuss at the bear and tell him to go away, your dog will do the same, and bear spray is the last ditch effort, yes it will work on mountain lions - if it'll stop a bear it will stop nearly anything - but those are ambushers so you won't see it coming at you until it is too late, you need to seriously keep your eyes peeled for those.
Last edited by jae; 11-19-2012 at 02:09 PM.