Spirited Dog Activity Upsets Coyotes


A dominant female coyote had been well hidden on a hillside when two active Vizlu’s began wrestling & nipping each other a couple of hundred feet from where she was resting: they looked as if they could have been fighting. The intense activity — something that bothers coyotes — caused the coyote to emerge on the hilltop with a strong warning display.  I call it a “halloween cat display” because that is what it looks like: arched back, fur on end, teeth showing with lips pulled back, scratching the ground. Coyotes do not like hyperactivity — it is important to keep our dogs calm when around coyotes. The coyote’s display is meant to make the dogs take note and leave. The dog’s didn’t take note, but their owner did when I suggested that it might be wise to restrain her dogs and calm them. She did so immediately AND walked her dogs away, saying to the coyote as she did so “Sorry Babe”.  The owner was superb in her reaction: willingly leashing and leaving so as not to upset things. As she left, the coyote calmed down immediately and went back to resting.

Unleashed dogs had caused a similar situation earlier, but the reaction from the owners was much more callous, with the dogs invading the coyote’s space. The coyote had been basking peacefully in the early morning sunshine on a distant hilltop, 200 feet from the trail. The coyote ended up running off for its own protection.

Later on, when a walker without a dog passed by the same spot, the walker made a wonderful effort to go around the coyotes — now there were more — giving them plenty of berth. Although the coyotes did flee to increase the distance, they did not leave. The walker was rewarded for her efforts: the coyotes remained for her to observe them.

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