Dog Chases Coyote, Coyote Chases Back, Walkers Cheer For Coyote!

dog chases coyote

What first caught my attention on this foggy San Francisco morning was a dog running at ultra-high speed down an embankment. Then I heard someone yelling for his dog, with the tell-tale panicky tone which is always a dead-giveaway for what is going on. The dog was a young, small German Shepherd, maybe 70 pounds, while the coyote it was chasing was a small 30 pounder. The dog was persistent and fast, but the coyote was faster. They raced around a large field several times while onlookers froze, wishing the dog would stop.

dog and coyote face each other

The dog would not respond to his owner’s frantic calls. The coyote finally stopped and stood still, which left the dog in the lurch — what to do now? Each animal looked at the other: the coyote was assessing his pursuer. Coyotes can read a dog’s character and intentions visually. One look at the German Shepherd told the coyote that this animal was all bluff. But all bluff or not, the coyote did NOT like being chased. Now the tables were turned. The dog, seeing that the coyote seriously meant business, began running away — fast, lickety-split, with its tail tucked under. The sullen bystanders suddenly perked up and cheered for the coyote: “Yay, Coyote! Way to go!”

coyote chases back

At this point, the dog decided to take refuge next to its owner, and as it reached its owner, the coyote stopped and turned to go the other way. The coyote, who simply needed to message the dog to leave him alone, would not get any closer to the human owner. Most unleashed dogs, by the way, will chase a coyote the minute they see it. The owner gave the dog a thorough body-check for nips: there had been none — this time. Hopefully the dog was sorry and won’t do it again, but often it takes a good nip before some dogs learn to leave coyotes alone. Please remember that your safest recourse is always preventative. When you see a coyote, shorten your leash and walk on and away from the coyote.

2015-06-17 (11)

Coyote looks back as the owner examines his dog, and then trots away

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Wood
    Jul 05, 2015 @ 01:40:31

    Janet I suppose scenes like these are where the saying “Turn tail and run” comes from!



  2. Darlene Dittmar
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 18:42:08

    Very interesting article and some really great shots thank you


  3. Albert
    Aug 30, 2020 @ 03:38:27

    Not my German Shepherd…
    Though he is an “inside” dog; I live on a farm, very much removed from highways, etc. Coyotes regularly travel through my yard, but not when Atlas is outside patrolling the perimeter of our 5 acres of yard, trees, and fields. There are nothing but trees and large fields around my house. I have NEVER seen a lone coyote come within 150 yds of my house, since Atlas reached full size. My male German Shepherd weighs 115lbs. He hs totally ripped apart 40lb racoons when he has caught them trying to get into our trash barrel or at our chicken coop; they usually submit to his ferocity and strength. Within five minutes of fighting. Everybody around here knows that racoons are dog killers. Now, sure, if my dog ran out of gas and there were a pair or more of coyotes, I don’t think he would survive. But one on one in a real fight, where the coyote tried to stand his ground, I am putting my money on Atlas! However, realistically I don’t want to put it to test; coyotes could inflict some serious wounds.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Aug 30, 2020 @ 03:59:47

      Hi Abert — The point of this posting is that an urban German Shepherd who harassed a coyote ended up running fearfully from it. Folks cheered for the underdog (the coyote) because they were tired of the dogs going after the coyotes, which happens all the time here. Of course German Shepherds have the advantage of size — yours is almost four times the size of a coyote (30 pounds) — and could easily win a fight, IF there was to be a fight. But given the choice, coyotes avoid engagement, even when the “display” looks menacing, and here’s a posting and discussion about that:

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