Some Dogs Can Sense Coyote’s Presence in an Area

Peeking out of a hiding spot after an alerted dog passed. The dog did not find the coyote.

Several people have told me that their dogs can sense when a coyote is around, even though they had not seen or heard it. Some dog’s smelling is far more acute than others. So, even though most dogs are oblivious, a few dogs will begin acting differently the minute they sense a coyote.

How do the dogs react? They become more alert and  uneasy: a heightened awareness and a stronger interest in their surroundings. They’ll begin sniffing for clues and looking about for any signs that might tell them where the coyote is. Finally, the dog may spot the coyote and give chase, or, as I’ve seen with one small dog, it may hug against its owner’s leg for protection! Some dogs think coyotes are like squirrels — objects to be chased. Some dogs think it is their duty to drive a coyote away. And some dogs actually would like to play. Best to keep your dog close and leashed in a coyote area.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dsefcik
    Apr 09, 2012 @ 04:23:15

    As I have noted before, my dog is extremely aware of coyotes. I know instantly when he senses coyotes in the canyon next to our house. His nose either goes straight into the air and he begins to smell furiously or his nose digs deep into the ground and he begins a fast pace to find what he smells…it is always a coyote. There is a distinct difference when he smells a rabbit, a squirrel or a coyote, I have learned the difference and when it is a coyote his reaction is very strong and very different, we will usually have a visual confirmation when his reactions are that strong. My dog’s interest seems almost more playful than anything else but that is his natural behavior.


  2. Kimberly
    Apr 12, 2019 @ 05:54:37

    Is it possible that my dogs and cat are able to sense a coyote? My dogs bark at almost everything and don’t when I think it could be a coyote. The cat that usually jumps the fence and runs around the the neighborhood doesn’t leave the yard.


  3. Luisa
    Jun 16, 2019 @ 17:07:24

    There have been various times when my dogs who are inside the house with doors closed can “sense” a coyote in our yard. There is no way for them to smell as all doors are closed and our 1000 square foot deep deck is highly elevated above another deck and then the 1 acre yard but somehow they just know. It’s the weirdest thing. They start barking like crazy indoors and when we open the doors they go tearing through barking. Inevitably – there it is…. a coyote in our yard. Is it possible for dogs to just have a sixth sense for this??


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jun 16, 2019 @ 17:19:24

      Hi Luisa —

      We ourselves have five senses, and we tend to think that’s all animals have, but they might have more. My own feeling about this is that they are HEARING that coyote in your yard. Their hearing is extremely acute, and they may actually be listening for intruder sounds of any sort in your yard. Coyotes can hear a tiny mouse scurry along the ground over 100 feet away.

  4. Betty
    Jul 29, 2022 @ 12:43:13

    We have coyotes in the area where I live. The other day when taking my little Chihuahua for a walk, he put on the brakes and wouldn’t go any further. In fact he tried going in the opposite direction towards my home. He likes to examine pee spots of other dogs but that day he made a bee line for home. I think he sensed a coyote.


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