Apprehension About An Approaching Dog

I watched this coyote catch a vole: voles are easy catches these days because they are so extremely plentiful. The coyote carried the vole to a little knoll where it began to chew. The coyote then stopped eating as its attention was suddenly pulled to the distance. I looked over to see two kids and their mom approaching, along with an active, unleashed Weimaraner. I walked towards them a little ways to let them know that a coyote was there. Rather than leash their dog, they turned around and went in the direction from which they had come. Weimaraners are large hunting dogs. I don’t know if the coyote had ever seen this particular dog before, but from the coyote’s reaction I would assume it had.

Upon seeing the dog, the coyote ceased eating and sat down with its eyes riveted on the dog. Then it began soft, barely audible grunting: I’m not sure I actually heard anything at all, but I could see the coyote’s throat moving with each small huff and the lips were somewhat pursed forwards. This kind of soft grunting is sometimes a prelude to a barking session — the barking session always is caused by the intrusion of a dog into a coyote’s space. So I knew the coyote felt intruded upon, possibly because the coyote had been eating so peacefully, even though the dog was well over 200 feet away. I watched the people and their dog leave and as they did so the coyote calmed down and then yawned. Before getting up to continue its search for additional voles, it just sat there staring into space — contentedly relaxed.

The dog never even saw the coyote so there was no chase, and there was no barking episode — but there easily could have been if the family and their unleashed dog had continued coming towards the coyote.

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