Swiping A Dog’s Pinecone

I heard rustling noises and looked up to see a friend throwing a bag full of pinecones to his very enthusiastic dog. The owner would toss a pinecone, and the dog would whizz after it and then bring it part way back. This is why the owner needed to collect a bag full of them to begin with — otherwise he would be doing most of the retrieving. The dog was absolutely absorbed in the game: in the pinecones and in his owner.

The activity and rustling sound must have caught the coyote’s attention, as it had mine. The coyote was drawn to this. The coyote watched, transfixed and utterly fascinated. At first the coyote just stood there and watched. And then the coyote approached a little bit — enough so that the owner could now see the coyote which was no longer hidden by bushes. When he did see the coyote, he stopped the activity in order not to interfere with the coyote. Within a moment, the coyote moved on. But when the activity was resumed, the scenario was repeated. Only this time, when the owner stopped the activity, the coyote actually approached close enough, maybe 50 feet, to grab one of the pine cones and split with it! We were fascinated. The coyote disappeared and the man and dog continued their game.

Of interest is that the dog was so absorbed in his activity that he never saw the coyote. Maybe the coyote sensed that these pinecones must have been pretty darn special if they warranted this amount of intense absorption?

This particular dog and owner play pinecone-toss regularly in this same spot. The dog is not one who chases coyotes. The situation is a “safe” “known” to this coyote, which is probably why he “dared” to intrude to the extent he did!

I have seen young coyotes watch dogs play with balls or pinecones, chew on sticks, dig in certain spots, roll in certain spots. When the dog left, the coyote hurried into the spot previously occupied by the dog to “try” whatever the dog had been doing!!

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