A Coyote Encounter – with Dogs – from One Of Our Readers

One of our CoyoteYipps visitors sent us a description, and took the attached two short videos involving a coyote encounter with dogs. I am reposting the comments and videos because they display normal coyote behavior that everyone needs to be aware of if they have a dog. More often than not, a coyote will simply flee when it sees a walker with dogs approaching it, but there are times when it may react as it did to Samira. Coyotes are territorial animals. This is still  pupping season for coyotes — it’s a time when coyotes are particularly protective of their areas.

Hi Janet —
Today I had an encounter with a coyote that unsettled me. I was walking my two dogs, one very large (~90lbs) German Shepherd, and one medium-sized Beagle/Cattle Dog mix (~40lbs) on a wooded path. I never see other people walk here, so I let them go unleashed. About five minutes in, we came across a coyote who barked, howled, and followed us. My dogs immediately started chasing the coyote, and when I called them back to me, the coyote followed. Since I thought the coyote was heading in the opposite direction, I continued further into the woods, but it continued to follow us. Though my dogs have good recall, they seemed unable to resist the urge to chase the coyote (particularly since the coyote was acting surprisingly playful) and the cycle of chase-return-follow happened several more times. My German Shepherd in particular was enjoying himself; normally he is very wary and protective and often takes offense to other dogs at first sight. It honestly surprised me that he didn’t attack. Though we didn’t appear to be in any danger, the fact that the coyote was so doggedly following us (it even went as far as the asphalt path next to the road as we exited) made me nervous, and I booked it out of there was fast as I could.

I’m having trouble understanding if the coyote’s behavior was as playful as it seemed to be, or if it was (as you’ve mentioned in this blog) meant to “escort” us out of its territory. Is it safe for us to go back? I’ve walked them there many times without any incident, albeit during the mid-afternoon (today we got there around 6pm, later than usual).

I’ve uploaded two videos:


———————–
Hi Samira –

Thanks for writing about your encounter. The videos you sent are excellent in that they depict exactly what can go on when you encounter a coyote with dogs. What you encountered was normal coyote behavior. Dogs and coyotes don’t like each other — it’s important to keep them apart. It’s a good idea to keep your dogs leashed once you see a coyote — please don’t allow your dogs to chase them. If it followed you to the edge of the forest, it was assuring itself that you were indeed leaving the area. It could have been a youngster coyote who was curious about your dogs, but more likely, the coyote could have been trying to divert you away from youngsters in the area by making you focus on it.

If you don’t want to walk elsewhere, when you do walk through this forest, please make sure to leash and keep walking until you are out of the area. With your dogs leashed and next to you, the coyote is unlikely to approach. You have a large dog and a medium size dog — still bigger than coyotes who weigh 20-40 pounds — on the East Coast they are slightly larger. Also, you have two dogs which constitute a “pack”. When dogs are part of a pack, they are much more self-assured and they work together. They can do incredible damage. It is the coyote which is endangered by this situation, not your dogs. Also, you should be armed with knowledge of how to shoo off a coyote if it gets too close to you: you can see how to do this by watching the video at the top of the coyoteyipps home page. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Also, may I post your videos on the blog? — the more people who see this as a potentiality, the better they can be prepared to deal with it. Thank you! Janet
———————
Hi Samira,

Going just by the short videos the coyote doesn’t come off to me as wanting to play. I too have had encounters like yours, over several years with a coyote couple and their children. Janet has been kind enough to let me post pictures and video on her blog and my coyote encounters almost always involved dog, human (my dogs and me), and coyotes messaging their territorial concerns to us. So the way I interpret your coyote’s behavior is that he is herding your dogs out of the area. (Actually you were doing the herding by calling your dogs back.) It’s hard to know with any certainty, but there may be something in that particular area the coyote cares enough about to claim and it looks to me like me may be broadcasting his claim to your dogs. Charles
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Thank you for the response! I probably won’t return to this area of the woods anytime soon – we have a lot of other spots to choose from. And yes, you can use my videos. For reference, we are in Eastern MA, in a suburban neighborhood.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Traysea
    Aug 03, 2014 @ 05:16:42

    Hi Janet, I really enjoy reading your blog. I would like to ask your opinion about a young male coyote that appeared in my neighborhood park a few months ago. I live in Vancouver, BC. I have a female german shepherd who is spayed. Whenever he ( I named him Charlie) see me and my dog in the park or on the beach he likes to walk with us or hang out on the beach on a log watching my dog swim. He has tried to get close to her to play and I tell him no and he backs off right away. He walks with us for as long as he can sometimes a few hours. I always keep my dog on a leash. I have read in your blog that you have witnessed dogs befriend coyotes. Is this normal behavior this coyote is displaying with my dog. HE IS NOT AGGRESSIVE WHATSOEVER. I TOO THINK HE IS JUST LONELY AND FOR SOME REASON HE LIKES ME AND MY DOG. I HAVE NEVER FED HIM. And do you think it would be okay if I let my dog off leash to play with him. I had originally hazed him every time I saw him but got very frustrated as the people with power were doing nothing to protect this coyote so I refuse to do it anymore and he doesn’t take me seriously anyways as hazing has to be done correctly and I knew I was not doing it right but got no assistance. Its a long story. And please don’t refer me to the Stanley Park Ecology Society for information as I know more about this coyote and coyotes in general than this useless organization who does nothing to protect coyotes or the public really. And I realize that you are not an expert and base your opinions on what you see personally and that information to me is far more valuable and factual. I really love this little coyote and am thrilled he seems to like me and my dog that he wants to hang out with us when he sees us. Thank you

    Reply

    • yipps
      Aug 03, 2014 @ 15:57:49

      Hi Traysea —

      Thank you for contacting me, and thank you for supporting our coyotes. Yes, dogs can befriend coyotes. Charlie watching you from the distance is normal behavior for a coyote. However, the kind thing to do is to keep the friendship the way it is, at a distance — dogs and coyotes need to be kept apart. Please help keep Charlie wild — he needs to know not to approach dogs or people. The reason for this is to protect him. If Charlie were to start playing with your dog, he might well try to play with another dog, and the owner of that dog might consider the coyote bold and aggressive just for approaching. He could be reported for this and shot. Charlie gets immense enjoyment just out of watching you and your dog play — that’s enough. But help him stay wild by not inviting or allowing your dog to interact with him. It’s a simple precaution you can take in a world with so many people and dogs, and by doing so you may be saving his life down the line. Janet

      Reply

  2. Traysea
    Aug 04, 2014 @ 01:16:17

    Please understand I did my part in trying to keep Charlie wild when he first appeared in our park. I hazed him as instructed even though I didn’t want to as I truly enjoyed seeing him. I was the only person doing this and the person who runs our co existing with coyote program refused to haze him effectively. I had never hazed a wild animal before. Many times I had people yelling at me for doing so telling me to leave the coyote alone which turned into heated arguments. I witnessed a man who lives on the edge of the park feed him on 3 separate occasions, chunks of meat ect and I had huge arguments with him about him doing this. It is against the law here supposedly and I reported him to our bc conservation officers and gave them his license plate number and home address and they did nothing. The park board staff also was not hazing him as they were supposed to and this guy who calls himself a wildlife photographer monitors the coyote sighting map and there was a press release about Charlie being illegally fed thanks to my complaints so he came down to the park and filmed him sleeping on the golf course in the day and then took his video to the news claiming charlie as aggressive. That was the final straw for me and I decided at that point that I would rather charlie be hanging out with me and my dog in the woods instead of being lured out in the public by food ect. And I did consider everything you advised me in your reply but I am not going to do anymore hazing ect. I am going to allow him to be with me and my dog if he wants. If he tries to come close to my dog which he has I tell him no and he backs right off. I really want to let my dog off leash and play with him and this is what I wanted your advice on and I think you are telling me that it is not a good idea which I kind of already knew. And he doesn’t watch us from afar he comes very close as close as I will let him – I am going to try and film it next time.

    Reply

    • yipps
      Aug 04, 2014 @ 05:11:39

      Hi Traysea —

      I’m sorry the situation is so antagonistic. It sounds like people are the biggest problem: feeding Charlie, fabricating sensationalist news reports, an irresponsible park department, a non-responsive conservation department, and people who yell at you. Let’s try to work on a possible solution. Could you please let me know how close Charlie has been coming towards you, what about your dog attracts him, and what size dog you have? Janet

      Reply

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