Purposeful Monitoring of Particular Dog Groups

As dawn was beginning to break, a coyote appeared, clearly silhouetted on the edge of the horizon in the far distance, which, just as promptly as it appeared, it disappeared. The morning seemed darker than usual because of the dark cloud cover — and because of this, the dawn seemed later than usual. I walked in that direction and soon the coyote came trotting down the path I was on, stepping off onto a grassy area as it got closer. It was clearly on its way “home”, and away from dogs which were trickling into the park. It was particularly nice seeing a coyote — the rains, I think, made them less visible for a time.

I wondered if the coyote would hurry on, or be here when the gang of dog walkers came over the same horizon. Unleashed dogs often chase the coyotes, and I really didn’t want to see this happen. The coyote kept looking back in their direction. Finally it decided to continue on, at a brisk trot. I followed a certain distance, but it soon was gone. I thought how lucky I had been to glimpse the coyote and at the same time have it successfully evade the dogs — that is an ideal situation. As I was thinking this, another coyote briskly trotted in my direction — it had obviously been on the same trajectory as the first one and for the same reasons. This set of dogs has chased these coyotes any number of times, so it was in the coyote’s interest to keep track of them. This coyote, however, instead of moving on, climbed up some rocks to get a better view and watch the approaching dogs.

The coyote was monitoring their every movement. It stood there, at first listening for the group in the distance — you could not see them at first — and then watching them, still in the distance, as they wove in and out of visibility due to the shrubbery and trees around the path they were on. The coyote watched them for twelve minutes, until they came within about 200 feet and then it took off down a hill. None of the dogs seemed to have been aware of the coyote, and neither did the owners. I thought that might be the end of the coyote’s monitoring this group, but nope.

Ten minutes later this coyote had climbed up to another lookout, where I noticed it was keeping its eyes on this same group of dogs and walkers as they moved forward!! The coyote knew the habitual route of this group — it knows all the dogs in its park and is particularly leery of certain of these. It chosen this lookout where it would be able to see them exit this part of the park!

After that, the coyote relaxed for a while, grooming its legs and finally it slithered off about half an hour after I first saw it up there! Please see my posting of January 29th for a more complete explanation of the monitoring: The Purpose Of A Coyote’s Monitoring Some Dogs.

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