Behavior Towards A Dog Before Turning In For The Day

Daybreak was coming in, but this small family of three coyotes still had some energy to expend before turning in for the daylight hours. They set out in the semi-darkness for the far end of their park where they explored, raced after each other or ran in unison in-between sessions of sniffing and looking around. Their high energy activities involved fun and games between themselves. The park was empty, so the place was theirs.

Then a leashed dog and owner came into their view in the distance. The coyotes stopped their activities and watched. The youngster male, alone, at first ran and then walked in the direction of the dog. Dog/owner and coyote stood absolutely still as they eyed each other — the man surprised and fascinated by seeing a coyote for the first time he told me, the coyote a bit surprised to see anyone at this hour. I think each was waiting for some kind of response or reaction from the other — but there was no response: everyone remained perfectly still and watched. If the dog had been unleashed, it would have pursued the coyote, who, unbeknownst to the dog, had two family members close by who would have surely come to the coyote’s aid. If the dog had been unleashed and exceedingly active, the coyote may have actually approached the dog to message it.

The young male has been running in the direction of some of the more active dogs recently: this may have to do with the time of year. He approaches to within about 70-100 feet before he stops, often approaching to this point at a full run. When the dog and owner walk on, he watches them go. Sometimes dog/owner and coyote just watch each other for a moment. If the owner and dog step in the coyote’s direction or say something aggressively, the coyote runs away, but then returns to his spot as dog/owner depart to watch them go. We’re moving into pupping season and territorial claims are being solidified by families. This young coyote may be trying to contribute his share of protecting the family turf with this behavior. In doing so, he appears to be testing himself more than anything else.

Since the dog and walker then turned around and walked on and away, the young male watched them leave and then turned his attention to hunting before returning to where his family was. Then all of them trekked back together to where they had been when I first spotted them. There was enough daylight to see things clearly now, and more walkers would be soon arriving in the park. One by one each coyote slithered under the bushes and out of sight where they would spend most of the daylight hours until dusk and darkness begin setting in again.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tina Rich
    Feb 26, 2015 @ 06:02:51

    Hi Janet…fabulous pics. Was this all really this morning!! Wow. I guess I can get a reply via email as I’ve given email address. Cheerio


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