Urban Coyote Myth: Coyotes Luring Dogs to Their Deaths

In fact, it’s simply an urban myth that coyotes lure dogs to their deaths. But if that’s the case, what actually is occurring for people to fabricate such an idea? Well, it may in fact look like that if you don’t know what’s going on. Whenever there is a void in knowledge, the void is filled in with what there is: speculations, rumors and myths that pop up suddenly or become legendary and grow over time.

So what is actually going on when dogs chase coyotes and eventually they find themselves confronted by more than one coyote?

First of all, dogs chase coyotes all the time. If you keep your dog leashed in coyote areas, or leash and walk the other way the minute you see a coyote, you can minimize the chance that this will happen. Most coyotes are out minding their own business: either foraging, trekking or resting, when they are spotted by a dog. The chase then begins: it’s fun and games for most dogs, but seldom so for the coyote.

The coyote may try to *lose* the dog by wearing it out, or it may head to a hiding place to get away from the dog. But unbeknownst to the dog, and to the human owner, coyote family members are almost always close by. Coyotes travel together, and they rest fairly close to each other, so there’s almost always another coyote or two around.

Once a dog enters into where the coyotes are, it will be treated as any other intruder, be it an outsider coyote or your dog: coyotes will come to the aid of another member of their family. And, if a coyote sees a dog chasing its mate, it will come out to help the coyote drive the dog off. These are defenses to threats, not *lures*.

The coyote’s behavior has nothing to do with a *plan* to *lure* the dog into a trap to kill and eat it.

Please note that “luring” into a trap situation to kill is very different from “leading” a dangerous animal away from pups. Coyotes do lead any threatening animal, including humans, away from very sensitive pupping areas, hoping they will be followed. They have led me away in this manner several times.


72 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. August Strozier
    Sep 09, 2016 @ 17:30:40

    Maybe you can help explain this scenario. I live on 100 acres in a very rural area of south Texas. We have a robust coyote population (you can hear them howling almost every night from all directions). I was out walking this morning with two of my dogs following. Both are large, athletic dogs who have survived plenty of coyote interactions (they’ve never injured or killed any to my knowledge). I spotted a coyote about 20 yards away. It yelped, drawing the dogs attention, they paused with ears erect, it yelped again and they took off after it. The dogs were quickly out of sight, but I could hear the coyote yelping all the time. I followed, calling out to the dogs to come back. I came up to where the coyote had stopped, still yelping as if it were injured, hidden right behind the tree line in a dry creek bed. My dogs had apparently obeyed my calls and headed back home.
    I climbed up a nearby tree to try and see down into the creek bed. I couldn’t see anything, but the coyote continued yelping. After about ten minutes, the yelping ceased and a coyote, (it seemed to be a larger individual) came out of the brush and looked around for a moment, and then went back. I waited another five minutes or so, (no more yelping), and then left. It certainly struck me as some type of feigned injury ambush strategy, although they certainly would have had a hell of a time with those two dogs. A few years ago a small dog I had was killed and eaten in that same area early one morning. I hold no grudge against them, and enjoy listening to them howl of an evening. Just thought this was interesting behavior and was looking for some input. Thanks.


    • yipps
      Sep 11, 2016 @ 03:44:32

      Hi August —

      I’m updating my reply to you after having re-read your comment. The coyote’s yelping was actually triggered by the presence of your dogs in what they consider their area, possibly close to other coyote family members or even in a denning site. Most likely, there was antagonistic eye-contact before the chase began.

      I’ve seen this distressed yelping behavior often. After being chased by dogs, the coyote runs off to a safer space away from the dogs and engages in a long drawn out and distressed vocalization: it’s almost a complaint, or venting of their frustrations. Coyotes also engage in this very same distressed vocalization when they see what they perceive as threatening dogs in the area, especially if one/some of them have pursued the coyote in the past. Simply SEEING those dogs was a trigger.

      “Luring” had nothing to do with what was going on in the situation you describe. Again, please be aware of the power of myths. Once introduced to myths for which no other explanation has been offered, the fabrications often stick and it’s hard to change them. Try looking at the situation logically, no animal is going to use itself as a “lure” where it could be injured: any injury could ultimately lead to death: wouldn’t that be akin to suicide?

      Also, if this was in fact a “hunting” strategy, then because of its “uniqueness” in the mammal world, it would have been noticed and studied and written about by the many scientists who have studied coyotes — but nothing can be found about it in the scientific literature.

      Coyotes are pursuit predators – they chase their prey, they don’t “lure” and “ambush” prey. Lure and ambush hunting strategies are almost exclusive to certain fish, insect and reptile species, and carnivorous plants. [Wikipedia]

    • Shannon
      Jan 17, 2021 @ 07:09:12

      Sounds to me like the yelping was an alert. They are pack animals and was caught alone. 2 dogs posed a threat to the area, and took chase. Just my opinion, but the yelping to me would be… Help! Ha ha makes semse with the rest of your story.

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jan 17, 2021 @ 21:13:36

      There was no mention of yelping in the post. Are you referring to one of the comments, and if so, which one?

  2. Morgan
    Nov 17, 2016 @ 21:24:57

    The coyotes where you live much be special, because those of use who live in semi-rural and rural areas have lost plenty of dogs to coyotes who lured them away from safety.


    • yipps
      Nov 19, 2016 @ 00:18:06

      This is not true. The dogs went chasing after the coyotes and should not have done so. Please let folks know to keep their dogs from going after coyotes — this is safest for the dogs AND the coyotes. Janet

  3. William Logan
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 05:40:49

    You make these cunning coyotes sound like the old-time “loose woman” who lured helpless, innocent young men into temptation and trapped them with her feminine wiles.

    Just like those yong men, your dog was curious and went willingly. Because that’s what dogs do.


  4. Randall S Hardy
    May 01, 2017 @ 17:29:48

    For many years, I had a pet coyote/dog cross. The mother coyote had pups in my tool shed. I saw her only a few times, each time she heard or smelled me first and fled. As she left, I saw that she held one back leg off the ground and hopped or limped away using just one back leg. I have always believed that her injury is what caused her to live close to people and mate with my neighbor’s dog. However, today I happened upon a coyote den. The mother was about 50 feet away when I saw her, and she limped off into the woods on one back leg. Coincidence? or is feigning an injury a stategy to lure predators away from the pups?


    • yipps
      May 01, 2017 @ 17:52:09

      Hi — The biggest cause of death for coyotes in urban areas is cars. When a car doesn’t kill outright, it may leave a lasting injury. I’ve been documenting a coyote with a limp who we know was hit by a car only a few days ago. Five years ago I watched a mother coyote raise her two pups singlehandedly (father coyote had been poisoned) after being hit by a car. It took this coyote months to recover. The injuries are real. I’ve heard of other animals feigning an injury as a lure, especially birds and of course opossums play dead, but I’ve never seen a coyote fake an injury.

  5. Randall S Hardy
    May 01, 2017 @ 18:18:06

    Hi Janet, thanks for the quick reply. For 25 years I have thought that the mother of my coydog had been shot or hit by a car, I only wondered about it being a stategy when I saw another mother act the same way today. When I first saw her, I was about 20 feet from a pile of concrete slabs that had been dumped and she was about 50 feet. After she left, I could hear sounds coming from from the concrete pile so I guessed she had dug under them to have her pups. I gave the whole area a wide berth after that so she wouldn’t be afraid to return. The one that had pups in my tool shed would leave for a whole day everytime I stepped into my back yard, but her behavior may not have been normal.


    • yipps
      May 01, 2017 @ 19:11:28

      Hi Randall — I’ve seen coyotes leave their pups all day long. I don’t think this is unusual mother coyote behavior. They do so to go hunting. It’s during this period of time, when the pups are young, that mothers need extra nutrients to produce enough milk. Fathers hunt extra hard during this time, too, in order to bring more food home. Fathers actually eat the food and then regurgitate it for the pups. Mother coyotes may do the same later on. I’ve cautioned people not to *rescue* *abandoned* pups because, more than likely, they have not been abandoned at all — they’ve simply been left for the day by the parents who went a-hunting!

      You are doing great by giving the mother you saw today a wide berth. I wish more people were as respectful as you are. Thank you for your input, and thank you for abiding by their needs. Do you have a photo of your coydog? I would love to see it! Janet

    • yipps
      May 02, 2017 @ 03:43:54

      Hi Randall — Here’s information from Wikipedia:

      “Distraction displays, also known as diversionary displays, or paratrepsis are anti-predator behaviors used to attract the attention of an enemy away from something, typically the nest or young, that is being protected by a parent. Distraction displays are sometimes classified more generically under “nest protection behaviors” along with aggressive displays such as mobbing.These displays have been studied most extensively in bird species, but also have been documented in populations of stickleback fish and in some mammal species.

      Distraction displays frequently take the form of injury-feigning. However, animals may also imitate the behavior of a small rodent or alternative prey item for the predator; imitate young or nesting behaviors such as brooding (to cause confusion as to the true location of the nest), mimic foraging behaviors away from the nest, or simply draw attention to oneself.”

  6. yipps:janetkessler
    Nov 23, 2017 @ 05:15:53

    The “luring” myth is no less than a form of blaming the victim: it’s the dog who went after the coyote, not the other way around. The myth is a fabrication to excuse the dog’s transgressions (or actually the owner who should have kept his/her dog away).


    • Casey
      Jun 13, 2020 @ 23:22:10

      So when a wolf pack attacks an intruder Wolf from another pack in its territory isn’t this the same thing? I sense a general theme in this thread in that the dog is always at fault for intruding as if the coyote has title to the area. Nature doesn’t operate that way nor is nature static. There are ebbs and flows of various populations of creatures yet humans tend to assign property ownership to them. Canines have been man’s companion since cave man days. We are all part of the eco system and are part of the ebb and flow.

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jun 14, 2020 @ 02:23:40

      We’re trying to explain behavior and prevent conflict. Coyotes stake out territories. They claim ownership from other coyotes mostly, but also from non-coyote intruders. Your dog and you have claimed your home and your yard as your territories and you’ll probably defend those from intruders in the same way a coyote will defend its home space. I hope this is clearer? Your “territory” is your claimed home area.

      Yes, intruders, as in your wolf example, can and have taken over a territory. This happened with humans: “Get off my land! No — I’ll fight you for it”. Same thing before we made transitions more peaceful with laws. The point is, your dog is not going to claim the coyote’s territory because he already has a home elsewhere, so why create an unnecessary disruption, conflict? Just respect their space, like we humans respect (mostly) everyone else’s space or home as theirs.

  7. Bo
    Dec 02, 2017 @ 00:40:07

    Anyone care to explain why the hell coyotes come up to the edge of my yard on multiple occasions and start wimpering like they’re injured when my dog has never even come in contact with them? I know the area I live in, the coyotes have PLENTY of acres to roam they certainly don’t inhabit the areas surrounding my yard. They come specifically to the edge of the woods and pretend to be hurt until we scare them away with intimidating noises.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 02, 2017 @ 13:03:45

      Hi Bo — I’m sorry the coyotes are an irritant for you. I don’t believe they are pretending to be injured — the “whimpering” sounds are simply among the sounds they make all the time. If you continue to scare them off, they’ll eventually, probably, stop coming back.

  8. Bush Girl
    Dec 18, 2017 @ 21:21:23

    You are entitled to your viewpoint, but I have lived in the Canadian north a long time. I have indeed observed coyotes and wolves coming close and making very strange sounds in an attempt to lure dogs. I have also seen a wolf lure an unleashed dog, then the waiting pack that was previously hidden, close in. For any predator to survive, calories expended must be less than those gained. Luring is a very effective way to hunt. If a predator spends the day tracking and searching for prey, they may expend more energy than gained by their meal. Sometimes wolves and coyotes become habituated and learn an easy food source. These are very intelligent animals and very capable of learning.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 18, 2017 @ 21:45:30

      Hi Bush Girl — Thanks for your thoughts. This article was written because there are folks out there who incorrectly believe as you do. Please re-read the posting to know what is going on. Wolves and coyotes often travel with their families. It’s important to keep dogs leashed in areas where there are coyotes and wolves because they often chase after these animals, only to find there are more of them than expected. Please keep your dog away from these wild animals if you want to keep them safe! That’s all that needs to be done!

  9. Bush Girl
    Dec 18, 2017 @ 21:27:45

    Please forgive the swearing in this video – but I believe the sound is actually a habituated wolf luring village dogs. When I think of all the things canines can learn, they constantly amaze me.https://youtu.be/25lzRlwz_u4


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 22, 2017 @ 19:32:42

      Dear Bush Girl — Thank you for sending this, because it is a beautiful example of exactly how myths are born. You have written what you *believe* is going on, without a shred of evidence except your own fears. The posting to which you are responding was written based on many, many documented observations of this same behavior. Wolves and coyotes have plenty of calories for hunting, or they wouldn’t spend so much of their time racing and playing with each other.

  10. Jennifer
    Feb 14, 2018 @ 15:19:51

    Just my opinion here. It seems to me that coyotes are being generalized here, like a specific breed might be… I believe they do have generalized behavior, meaning most of them will behave the same. But that may not be the case everywhere all the time. They are very clever and adaptive. I think their behavior most likely is determined by their environment. For example, during hunting season, while people are in the woods shooting guns, the coyotes in my area come closer to homes and target cattle. (Easier, more available prey) While generally, they just come get their prey, they may not all be opposed to luring on occasion, if it better suits their needs at that time. I would think the point would most likely be to draw an animal away from humans rather than the actual need to lure to kill. Again, just my opinion. (Some info about me= I live surrounded by forest, hear and see coyotes regularly and I also rescue dogs. So at any given time, I can have several dogs of various sizes (though, usually small) in my yard and a coyote will just go by, not paying any attention to the dogs…. or cats. Even when all the dogs are barking like crazy. The coyote just has no use for them. (Thank goodness) (Sorry to all who have lost their furbabies)


  11. Sheila Beard
    Aug 27, 2018 @ 01:31:10

    Janet, I live in a semi rural area of Missouri and I can assure you that coyotes DO ambush prey. Our 15 y.o. deaf terrier was ambushed on our front porch 2 nights ago. There were 3 of them. Luckily, my husband was able to scare them away. They nearly killed him tho. Our dog stopped chasing other animals about 2 years ago when he lost his hearing AND became arthritic. Trust me, he was on the porch and they came and got him!!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Aug 27, 2018 @ 03:44:42

      Hi Sheila —

      I’m sorry your little deaf terrier was so traumatized — it sounds horrible. But glad he survived!

      I think you are confusing some terms here.

      An AMBUSH is “a military tactic using concealment and surprise to attack an unsuspecting enemy from a concealed position.” I’m not sure this is the correct term for what you are describing, since neither prey nor predator used concealment.

      Irregardless, the point of this posting is “luring”. Luring is not ambushing. LURING is to attract or entice the dog into a trap to kill and eat it. Coyotes would never put themselves, using their bodies, at risk for death by engaging in this.

      So it sounds as though your pup was indeed attacked because the coyotes thought of him as prey. Not ambushed. Not lured.

      Please don’t leave your pet unattended out of doors: coyotes don’t know who is a pet and who is not.

      Hope this helps!


  12. Diana Samuels
    Feb 03, 2019 @ 04:11:28

    Is it safe for a dog to play with a coyote? Is it normal for the coyote to engage in play like that?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 03, 2019 @ 04:40:10

      Hi Diana — Coyotes and dogs should be kept apart. Coyotes tend to be distrustful and wary for survival purposes. They are high-strung and “ready to react” much more than dogs are. Dogs are the opposite: they’ve been bred out of these traits to be companions to humans. The two know they are different from each other. I’m sure there has been some form of play between dogs and coyotes, but what I have seen is less “play” and more “testing” activity. In addition, allowing your dog to interact with a coyote on any level just breaks down innate barriers that keep both species apart and safe. The main interaction I’ve seen between dogs and coyotes is dogs chasing coyotes; some dogs get nipped for doing so.

  13. Steven G
    Mar 11, 2019 @ 18:32:39

    We live across from a wooded lot. Part forested area, part open space and part wetland. There is a den of coyotes that live just by the wetland. We often see their tracks, and if we venture towards the wetland will often see at least one. The one I will call the alpha, has an interesting relationship with my shepherd. Bridget is always on a leash when we are close to their main areas, but both Bridget and the coyote will simply sit and watch each other without a sound from a distance of usually about 300′. Each time we see it, this happens until one or the other gets bored with it and we/him/her move along.

    I don’t know how many people know where there den is, and I do not share that information because I fear someone will try to either shoot them or poison them. But, these animals are beautiful. Their coats are thick and they look very healthy. I think Bridget and I both enjoy just watching them.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 11, 2019 @ 19:06:15

      Hi Steven — Nice story! When dogs leave coyotes alone, very often there results a respectfulness. It looks like you’ve encouraged your dog to think this way, and the coyote is reciprocating, helped with keeping your distance. :)) Yes, please keep the den a secret: that’s what the coyotes want. Appreciatively! Janet

    • Steven G.
      Mar 11, 2019 @ 19:09:01

      I will Janet. And we will keep enjoying just watching them.

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 11, 2019 @ 19:19:19

      Sounds perfect! Lucky you! Lucky Bridget! :))

  14. Kathy
    Mar 12, 2019 @ 14:03:48

    I used to walk my Jack Russell Terrier, named Johnny in an open field near the forest. Nearly every day, without fail, we would see a young coyote that would come out to greet us… Johnny would get very excited, and the coyote seemed to know my dog was on a leash and just walked around acting as though she wanted to play.. We would sit on the grass and just watch each other from a short distance for about an hour….She was beautiful..
    One day, my pup pulled the leash out of my hand after the coyote came out of the tree line.. Johnny ran through very thick blackberry bushes, and was several hundred feet deep into it when he got stuck.. He started yelping, and I was a bit concerned that the coyote may come back and attack my dog because he was utterly helpless. Luckily I had a cellphone and called my mom to bring a tool to cut down the blackberries….lol. She brought a hoe.🤓 It took over an hour for her to bring it to and It took several hours of exhausting work to get to him.
    The coyote had the chance for itself, or family members to kill Johnny before I had a chance to start freeing him, but nothing happened, except for my dog being frightened , (by his own misdeeds:)
    Sadly, we never saw the coyote after that.., I would call out to it but it never showed itself again… I believe that the chase frightened it so much that it decided coming out wasn’t worth it anymore:(
    I miss the interaction, but it was probably for the best.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 12, 2019 @ 14:12:50

      Thank you, Kathy, for sharing this. The story tells much more about coyotes than the maligning luring myth does. The chase along with the dog’s yelping probably terrified the coyote. And yes, it was probably for the best, but I’m so glad you were able to enjoy him/her for the time that you did. :)) Janet

  15. Gina Edwards
    Mar 15, 2019 @ 06:04:37

    I also was believing of this lure in dogs to eat and believe it when I watched a documentary on coyotes here the other day and in the documentary they showed a coyote acting as if it was playing with a bison calf and the coyote acted as if it was playing but was trying to get the calf to follow and in the documentary they said that the coyote was trying to lead the calf off away from the adults to kill and eat it, so I made this comment on another post and others who study them let me know that the coyote that was in the neighborhood displaying the same play behavior so that is why I through that, so this coyote in this neighborhood and probably not near a den what was he doing with the dog, was he wanting to play, I mentioned that the dog should not be running lose because I knew that coyotes will eat dogs, can u explain to me here what was probably going on


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 15, 2019 @ 17:30:33

      Hi Gina —

      From what I’ve seen, what “looks” like “play” behavior should more accurately be described as “testing” — testing how far the dog will go in terms of approaching the coyote or being aggressive, testing the dog’s good or ill will. They’ll do so almost provokingly, but also almost playfully, so it’s confusing to someone who only knows about domestic dog play-bowing, for instance. I’ve seen coyotes and dogs enter into short, amicable chases with each other, but one is seldom if ever allowed to get close enough to touch the other.

      The coyote will run off if he/she feels threatened or in danger. That’s a protective move, not a “lure”. If the dog follows or chases, it might well be seen as a threatening gesture by other coyotes nearby, so they will come to the coyote’s defense by attempting to drive the dog away. It’s best to keep dogs and coyotes apart, and it’s so easy to do: the minute you see a coyote, leash and go the other way.

      Hope this helps! Janet

  16. Sherilee
    Mar 15, 2019 @ 21:44:42

    I was wondering if you could help me understand an incident that we recently had with coyotes and one of our labradors.
    We live in a rural area with our horses and 3 labradors. We have peacefully co-existed with coyotes and actually appreciate the job they do helping to control the rabbit and rodent populations.
    We were out with our dogs feeding our horses a few weeks ago. One of our labs took off after a coyote that was next to the horse corral. We called him & he immediately came back to us. The coyote followed him back. When we saw the coyote, we hazed him (as we always do so they don’t become too comfortable with humans) and he left.
    We watched and he joined 2 adult coyotes that were hanging back watching the event.
    Do you know why that coyote followed my dog back? I’m sure that most people would say that he was trying to lure him to be attacked by his waiting companions. Your post above makes sense to me regarding how this can be a myth. But I am curious why that coyote would risk following an 85 pound dog.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 16, 2019 @ 20:57:32

      Hi Sherilee — It’s hard to tell without being there and actually seeing what went on, but is sounds as though the coyote — after assessing that your dog wasn’t going to hurt him (after all, your dog gave up the chase) — might have been engaging in a little show of “oneupmanship” or even “bravado” — a kind of standing up for himself. If your dog would have turned on the coyote again, that coyote would have fled quickly, and the adults might have come to his defense, but that didn’t happen. Does this make sense to you? Janet

  17. Sherilee
    Mar 17, 2019 @ 19:06:51

    Yes, that makes sense to me. I can see that he may have been very curious why my dog only followed him for a short distance. We do see this particular “gang of 3” (as we call them) quite often. They seem to keep their distance and watch us from afar. They do come in closer at night because our motion activated cameras have caught pics of them. Our dogs are never allowed out at night so I’m sure know it’s safe for them. And they are more than welcome to take as many rabbits and pack rats as they can possibly consume :)


  18. Jade Rooney
    Mar 19, 2019 @ 01:48:42

    I’m sorry but the article here is completely inaccurate. Coyotes most certainly lure dogs out of farm yards to ambush them. It has happened to my own dogs. You should watch how a single coyote will lure a buffalo calf away from the herd, by playing with it. Once at a safe distance from the herd the attack commences. While I wholeheartedly agree that dogs should be kept on leashes in unfamiliar areas, I would recommend keeping some type of weapon to beat off an overly aggressive coyote, particularly if you have a small dog. I have heard of coyotes scooping up cats right in front of their owners in the yard. They are a predator after all and humans without experience around them should be cautious and attentive to their dog. They will smell a coyote long before you see it.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 19, 2019 @ 03:22:07

      Hi Jade — Please look up the word “luring”. This article is strictly about “luring”. It is not about ambushing, or separating a calf from the herd, or about grabbing a cat. Luring means enticing, tempting, attracting by pretending to be something that the lured animal wants, mostly to eat. So, for instance, lures are used to catch fish. A meatball might lure an animal into a trap. If your dog was confronted by more than one coyote when it went off chasing one, that’s not a lure. That’s simply a coyote running away from danger and then its family members appearing to help him/her out. Please keep your dog from chasing coyotes and this won’t happen. Hope this helps! Janet

  19. Jade Rooney
    Mar 19, 2019 @ 18:49:31

    Janet, the difference, luring and ambushing boils down to semantics in this situation. A single coyote will imitate the barks of my dogs. This is the lure out of the safety of the yard. The ambush happens once the dog can be incircled by the other pack members. My dogs need to be outside to protect the horses on my farm from the various wildlife in my area. The lure isn’t giving chase to my dogs, it is the imitation bark, calling them out. The dogs want to defend their territory, in this instance the coyotes are definitely the intruders.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 19, 2019 @ 19:01:26

      Jade — You are incorrect. If the coyotes were dogs, would their barking be lures? I don’t think so. Barking is not a lure. Coyotes make all sorts of sounds, and barking is one of them. What’s happening is that your dog is pursuing coyotes whose voices he recognizes as coyotes. Your dog is not mistaking these sounds for the sounds of a dog. Coyotes have indeed grabbed small dogs, but it’s not because they were “lured”.

  20. Jade Rooney
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 19:20:18

    So when someone uses coyote calls or an electronic caller would that not be considered a lure? I would consider a lure to be any type of attractant for an animal, included but not limited to the sounds they make. Coyotes can be dangerous especially on the farm. I deal with them almost every day through the winter.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 20, 2019 @ 19:33:52

      Hey Jade — Yes, HUMANS indeed do “lure” their targets with all sorts of deceptive imitation calls, pretending to be rabbits in distress or something like that, to deceive the coyote. That indeed is what luring is. Coyotes are not pretending to be what they are not. If your dog decides to pursue the coyotes, it’s because he knows they are coyotes, he doesn’t think they are dogs, and the coyote is not pretending to sound like a dog. You need to train your dogs to not go after coyotes. If you can’t train them, you should restrain them. By the way, farmers are finding that, by not persecuting coyotes (i.e., killing them) a peaceful coexistence results! Here’s the link if you are interested: Observations of Coyotes on Ranches: https://coyoteyipps.com/2018/10/09/observations-of-coyote-behavior-on-ranches-by-walkaboutlou/.

  21. Daniel J Morgan-heredia
    Apr 23, 2019 @ 21:23:35

    Hola Yipp!

    I recently heard an anecdotal story of a farmer who had chicken coops. He said that coyotes would befriend the dog, and the dog wanting to fit in, would help get into the coop. Then once that was over, the coyotes would ambush and kill the dog. Any ideas on this?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Apr 23, 2019 @ 22:04:16

      Hi Daniel — You said this was an anecdotal story, but I suppose it could happen. I do know coyotes who befriended a single female coyote in her territory who showed them around. Soon they kicked her out and took over the territory. Territoriality is ownership, and others are driven out.

  22. john
    Jan 01, 2020 @ 04:51:08

    Very impressive and details resources, thanks


  23. Jason
    Feb 04, 2020 @ 23:54:09

    Whats happening here then


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 05, 2020 @ 02:51:24

      Hi Jason —

      It’s really important to look a little deeper than simple appearances. Some people have speculated that, in the video you linked to, the coyote and badger were greeting each other as friends. You are speculating that the coyote is “luring” the badger to his death. On the surface, at first glance, it might seem that either of these might be true, but neither is. Here is the story of coyotes and badgers. Hopefully this will be a learning experience for you! Janet

  24. david
    Feb 07, 2020 @ 07:50:25

    its not a myth. check out this video you can see a coyote leading a raccoon to its death, acting friendly.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 07, 2020 @ 12:45:30

      Hi David — I’ve already replied to this exact same comment, but I’ll repeat myself: It’s really important to look a little deeper than simple appearances. Some people have speculated that, in the video you linked to, the coyote and badger were greeting each other as friends. You are speculating that the coyote is “luring” the badger to his death. On the surface, at first glance, it might seem that either of these might be true, but neither is. Here is the story of coyotes and badgers: https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/coyote-and-badger-hunt-together. Hopefully this will be a learning experience for you! Janet

  25. Robin
    Feb 09, 2020 @ 12:42:54

    Thank you for that story of the coyotes and badgers. I’ve taken note of other inter species relationships when hunting for food but this one is definitely the most interesting! Keep up the good work on educating people. Coyotes are becoming more and more common here in NJ and sadly, more people would rather kill them than understand them. There is a big push where I work to have them trapped (which means death to the animal) just because they saw one on site. Our plant is in the middle of thousands of acres of meadow and wildlife refuges so of course we see all kinds of animals here. But it’s hard to educate those who all they know is hunting and killing.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 09, 2020 @ 18:05:00

      Thank you, Robin, for your comment. Fewer people will approve of killing them if they find out how sentient and family oriented they are; they they each have individual personalities, mate for life, and dad helps raise the youngsters. Please learn what you can from this site and let people know the facts AND how you feel. A good place to begin is with this presentation video: https://youtu.be/mr8XmM1bi70. Please help by being an ambassador for them. Thank you, again, for being supportive! Janet

  26. Kjersti Eide
    Sep 14, 2020 @ 22:27:38

    Pleased to see factual info about coyotes, so very tired of the scare stories, they run rampant where I’m from. Some years back my ex would bring his two dogs over to walk them out behind my house. A yellow lab and a mix. (He was one that used to try to tell me the stupid scare stories, that I never bought!!) One day the dogs had gotten a bit ahead of him and a coyote came out, looked at Skyler and started loping away. Skyler and Ada started running after the coyote, (he said not in an aggressive way at all, just like would run after another dog) caught up with the coyote, one of them kind of yipped, they all turned around and the coyote ran after the dogs. My ex started yelling as he was worried about the dogs, but quickly realized that they were looking exactly like all dogs when playing. He said he just kind of stood there, transfixed, watching this go on for some time, the dogs would chase the coyote, then the coyote would chase the dogs. My ex said if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, he would not have believed it. There was no “luring” going on, they were absolutely playing, more like loping after each other and they never got any further away from my ex, so yeah, NO LURING going on. It didn’t happen every time he walked the dogs out there, but frequently, always the same scenario. We talked to a neighbor that lived out there, his house was kinda out in the middle of nowhere. He said the coyotes would come lay on his deck with his dogs, when he’d come home the coyotes would leave the porch and scamper off. Occasionally his dogs would go play chase the coyotes too. So two guys that used to be afraid of coyotes and join in the silly myths, have now totally changed their tunes. But so few people get to SEE things up close like that. It concerns me a bit, I worry that the coyotes might get too used to people and dogs and end up getting shot by someone afraid of them because they believe the awful myths. I so love when I hear them behind the house at night, it’s beautiful. Anyway, thank-you for sharing actual knowledge and facts about coyotes.


    • david
      Sep 15, 2020 @ 01:13:15

      wrong. its not that they actively lure its that they play with dogs and dogs follow them back to the pack. thats when the pack realizes they arent one of them and will kill them.

      im a park ranger and ive seen it a few times

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 00:20:55

      Hi David — Thanks for your comment. Coyotes know a dog is a dog right from the start — they don’t suddenly “realize” anything different just because other family members have joined them. Coyotes prefer “messaging” dogs to leave their area. They do the same to outsider coyotes. But they will get more forceful if the dog ignores the message or actually goes after them. It’s best to keep dogs leashed in coyote areas and away from them.

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 00:15:36

      Hi Kjersti —

      Thank you for sharing this with us. I think you might have noticed that the “play” of coyotes with your dogs doesn’t resemble that of play between your dogs and other dogs, nor does it resemble coyote/coyote play. And I believe that’s because it’s not totally play, though there’s an element of that. From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly a kind of good-willed “fencing” and testing whereby each side — dogs and coyotes — actually keep an agreed upon distance between them, and whereby they each read the other’s body language for any hint of negativity. This is how I would interpret the play you are describing. Would you agree?

      And I’ve seen coyotes lying and relaxing on porches, but not when another dog was close by, unless the dog was being carefully watched! Was the other dog there, also lying down? Just curious! Janet

  27. Gil
    Nov 21, 2020 @ 07:07:15

    Great information. Keep up the good work. This kind factual information is what people need so we can coexist with coyotes. Never understood people’s need to exterminate them. Especially when you apply some coyote math to the problem. It would seem easier to build an understanding between us. Also I must commend your patience.


  28. Stacy
    Feb 07, 2021 @ 02:41:05

    Hi, thanks for the info. I once read in San Francisco Golden Gate Park researchers restrain a coyote to draw blood & tag them. While the coyote is restrained it “plays dead”. As soon as the researcher is done he “wakes up” & takes off.
    I know your article is about the luring myth but wondered if you have heard any thing like this. It has been quite a few years since I read this article so I can’t remember the method of restraint but the researchers were definitely not sedating them.
    I had to read all your posts & the comments to have that myth start to disapate in my brain. We have heard it so long, by so many, My mind is open to what you are saying, just tough to instantly dispel the myth…working on it✌🏽


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Feb 07, 2021 @ 04:20:38

      Hi Stacy — It’s interesting how stories mutate over time!! 1) The only collaring and tagging in the city are done EXCLUSIVELY in the Presidio, NOT in Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park is a city park, and the city does not do these things. The Presidio is a federal park under a different set of rules, and they have been tagging and radio-collaring and drawing blood, but they are going to stop for the foreseeable future, I’m told. ONE ecologist (not a bunch of researchers) has tagged, drawn blood, weighed, and radio-collared several dozen coyotes over the past several years. When they capture a coyote to do these things, the coyote doesn’t “play dead”, but rather gives up struggling until the handler lets him/her go. This is the only information I have. Hope it helps! Janet

  29. Dr. James B. Mense,
    May 09, 2021 @ 07:23:27

    I exercise my two English setters by walking a trail here is the Colorado desert. One time about a month ago we were followed by a lone coyote for a mile back to the trailhead. It naever approached closer than 75 yards but howled and barked incessantly. My dogs are not leashed but I can keep them at heel if necessary. They seemed interested in the coyote but I only told them to chase the coyote once, thinking they would chase it away. After they chased it about a 1/4 mile, I called the
    dogs back and continued my way back to the trailhead. Within a minute the caoyote was back, barking and howling. The coyote would not come closer than about 400 yards to the parking area.
    This scene repeated about 2 weeks later. Then a week later as we were returning to the parking area at the trailhead, an older woman came running and waving her arms saying there was a coyote that was chasing peoples dogs. I told her my experiences and said I believed that it was probably a female that couldn’t find a mate and was attracted to my adult male dog. suddenly I realized my older dog was missing and figured he got tired of waiting for me and ran across the road where there is a pond for a drink. I quickly loaded my young dog and went across the road just in time to see my setter chasing the coyote across a hayfield. They disappeared into the brush at the far end, I called my dog and in a short time he came running back with the coyote about 10 feet behind!
    Okay, so fast forward a week. I put a shock collar on my older setter because he was the one doing the chasing rather than the one year old. The young dog always stays near me and comes quickly when called. We hadn’t gone more than a 1/4 mile up the trail when here came the coyote, barking and howling only this time it didn’t stop at 75 yards. It trotted right up to within 25 feet with the hair on its back between the shoulder blades raised teeth bared and only stopped when the dogs, which I had by their collars, became agitated. I started back to the car with the coyote continually darting in to about 25 feet and then running off to a distance of about 50 yards. My year old dog would follow and when they got out to about 50 yards the coyote would turn and rush my dog. Once it barely missed my dog which only avoided the attack by jumping to the side at the last second. I saw the open jaws and teeth of the coyote at a distance of about 50 feet from me. It was clearly trying to hurt or kill my dog. All of this went on as I was shouting at my dog to get him to quit chasing after the coyote and come back to me which he continued to do until the coyote would get him to chase again and again. This trip the coyote followed to within 50 yards of the parking area rather than the 400 yard distance as on the previous occasions. Clearly this coyote has become habituated to humans.
    So what is going on?
    Defense of territory or den? Remember it followed me for a mile over a circuitous route and one chase occurred in a field on the other side of the road from the trails.That is quite a large area to defend. My dogs initiated the chase? Not at all, and particularly not the last time. The coyote clearly approached us, not the other way around. Play? Not with teeth bared and hair raised between the shoulder blades which I clearly saw. Rabies or some other disease? Maybe, but the animal appears to be quite healthy.
    One extenuating issue is that we have been in a severe drought here in Colorado for several years and game is scarce. A plausible explanation could be that the animal is hungry and so is willing to take chances to get a meal that it would normally never take. I have been running my dogs on this trail system for 3 years and this is the first coyote I have ever seen.
    Do you have a better explanation? I have spent a good share of my 78 years in the outdoors and have a PhD in the Fish and Wildlife Sciences but I am not familiar with the literature on coyotes.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      May 09, 2021 @ 19:13:49

      Hi James —

      Yes, I know exactly what is going on. The coyotes are attempting to “message” your dogs to leave them and their area alone. That your dogs have chased them makes your dogs now a particular focus for the coyotes’ attention. Coyotes remember dogs who have threatened them. The arched back, bared teeth, gaping, growling, darting in-and-out are all part of their “display” warning, trying to get your dogs to leave them alone. Any nip will be along the lines of what a cattle-dog does: trying to get the dogs to move and leave. This is pupping season: the coyotes will be defending themselves, their dens, and the vast area around their dens. Coyote territories run from about 1.5 to 4 square miles. I suggest you not go to the area for awhile. If you go, make sure to leash your dogs on short leashes and walk through quickly, not allowing your dogs even visual engagement with the coyotes. It might help to watch this section [29:41 to 35:37] of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1EWHOimG0c. Please let me know if this is helpful! Janet

    • Dr. James B. Mense
      May 09, 2021 @ 23:33:54

      After reading some articles on the internet, that is what i concluded was most likely what is happening. He is acting out the equivalent of a bear’s bluff charge. The problem I have now is what to do about it. Considering where I see the coyote, the den is very near the trail I frequent the most and of course I will exercise my dogs at another trailhead.
      This is a busy trailhead, however, with lots of dogs and since it is BLM land, no leashes in most cases. Guns are also allowed and I am afraid someone will shoot this male. I am going to call the CP+W tomorrow morning and try to get them to post a note asking people to at least avoid that one trail or, preferably, to close the trailhead entirely for a month. This should get the pups out of the den at least and hopefully away from danger.I am a lifetime hunter but I see no need in killing for no reason and particularly not for the wrong reason!
      Thank you for your response and I hope your site enlightens many more of those who view predators as “evil creatures”. Now about the wolf reintroduction into Colorado…..

    • yipps:janetkessler
      May 10, 2021 @ 01:14:02

      Thank you so much, James. Yes, if you can get the park department there to close the trail to dogs until the Fall, that would be super. Would love to hear back from you about how it goes. Warmly! Janet

    • Jim Mense
      May 10, 2021 @ 02:45:10

      Just for the record, my setters are not aggressive at all. They just love to run and the 12 month old pup just wants to play. I think it is a case similar to what we are experiencing between whites and blacks…..they just don’t understand each other and they don’t speak the same language! :)
      Your website is fantastic! I watched the entire video and will pass it along to my friends who still think coyotes lure them away to be ambushed by the pack. They think coyotes are more intelligent than humans and in some cases they are correct.
      No wild animal takes the unnecessary risks that humans do.

    • yipps:janetkessler
      May 10, 2021 @ 02:59:47

      Thanks, Jim!! Janet

  30. yipps:janetkessler
    Aug 27, 2022 @ 18:00:50

    Here’s an exchange with a long-time rancher and keen observer, who spends every day out with his working dog pack to secure fence lines. He sees coyote/dog AND wolf interactions on a regular basis and has developed a huge wisdom about them. Read on . . .
    Hi Lou —

    I’m dealing with an individual who claims coyotes lure dogs and other prey to their deaths, as do wolves — “he knows because he’s lived it”, he says.  

    I myself have never seen coyotes lure dogs into a “pack” where they then destroy the dog. As far as I’m told, neither do wolves, and as far as I know, only fish actually “lure”. Please let me know if I’m incorrect.  

    I’ve watched dog/coyote interactions which have been attributed to luring, but I was there and this is not what was happening. Rather, the dog followed a coyote who was trying to get away, often retreating to where another coyote was resting: so then there were two coyotes ready to confront the dog.

    Would love your input!! Thank you!

    Hi Janet, 

    Luring dogs to their death is an old story of Jack London vibes and countless firesides retold.

    That being said, if a human loses their dog after seeing it chase coyote or wolf we can see how this could be felt. 

    I am always in awe of coyote or wolf intelligence … but luring is pretty far fetched.

    What DOES happen is equally tragic and amazing. IF you have a coherent strong pack of wild canids and IF you have a very large area and IF you have an inexperienced or clueless dog and human then it possible that …

    The dog chases or engages wild canid, whose pack quickly converge to see off or fight off trespassing dog. The dog totally panics and runs DEEPER into areas away from human while at same time exhausting itself or even injuring itself as wild canids follow. Exhausted, it tries to make stand against tree or bush. In the case of wolves … absolutely. A wolf pack can kill most dogs fairly quickly. In case of coyote, it would have to be a really clueless, exhausted and likely smaller dog. I’ve had my Zinny piled on by 4 coyote and she was bitten but more than gave back and trotted back to me tail up. 

    Could a pack of wolves kill dogs …Very much yes. Could coyote? More of stretch. Possible. Unlikely. Have to be very clueless dog and owner. Or unlucky.

    The thing is … in nature … dogs, coyote and wolves are almost always intense enemies. And the rare dog or coyote or wolf that blurs those canid lines almost always learns its new friend has a species that doesn’t feel same. 

    People will moan of coyote chasing dogs. But dogs chase coyote almost always. 

    Out here … if someone says they lost dog to coyote it’s human error. Not luring coyote or wolves. 

    (I have terrier colleague who said similar..coyotes lure his dogs to death. No. He doesn’t team his small terriers with larger partners out on range and they are very easily snatched by coyote. No luring involved. Just lack of competency on human end.)
    Thank you Lou! Yes, this all makes sense and I myself have seen some of these coyote-dog behaviors/interactions you describe. 

    I looked up “luring”. That involves “tempting (a person or animal) to do something or to go somewhere, especially by offering some form of reward.”  Or to “entice and actively attract”. Humans lure animals into traps with food bits. Fish also, apparently do this — and as far as I’ve read, are the only other species that do. But this “enticing” isn’t what’s going on with coyotes based on what I’ve ever seen or what you’ve described.

    I suppose that by stretching one’s thinking one could say that coyotes ARE themselves lures which dogs always go after, and the “trap” would have to be any other coyote in the area who appears during the dogs’ chase — but it’s not the coyote’s intention, and, not being his intention, he (the coyote) isn’t doing the luring — in other words, it’s not a thought out plan. And I don’t think an animal would set himself up purposefully as bait to attract a deadly predator towards itself. If a small dog runs after a coyote and is snatched by that coyote, it’s simply because that dog ran after the coyote not thinking that the tables might turn, not because the coyotes was enticing the dog into trap to kill it.

    That’s convoluted, isn’t it? 

    Hope I can use what you say if it comes up again??

    Thanks!  :))  Janet
    Yes by all means.

    If you want to strategically envision coyote and dogs engagements, it’s very much like the old west with indigenous tribes harassing soldier columns or wagon trains. Those soldiers or pioneers werent usually in dire danger, unless they left their groups and allowed themselves to become isolated. Then the skirmish and raids and quick defts become something more. 

    The rage of indigenous nations was real. But … you had to be unlucky or isolated usually to fall victim. 

    Modern day I’ve seen it in Afghanistan. Those dirt poor people resisted soviet occupation and technology thru sheer tenacity and unbelievable guerilla tactics. And it worked agaisnt US forces.

    Guerilla forces avoid pitched big battles. But if you follow them into their terrain, alone, they will exact a price.

    Coyote are skirmishers and canine guerilla in style facing wolves or bigger dogs. 

    It’s very simple to understand their way and weakness. Or strengths. Thats why my pack can face any group of coyote … as long as we stay together. 
    And we influence them to make way. They always do. 

    Understanding the skirmishing ways of coyote gives us the insight to realize … “luring” is really not what happens. But plenty of chasing and skirmishing. Not the place to run off and isolate.
    PS-Also … yes … a dog could be in trouble if the land is empty and wild … and full of coyote. Because they all listen in and a dog less then capable or small could be in trouble.

    That being said … I can’t count how many lost dogs of all sorts have spent days among coyote and not become dinner. The human imagination makes them canine piranha.

    They aren’t. But they certainly can be formidable foes. They’ve survived us all all will continue to do so.
    (August 26th)


  31. Elaine Wallace
    Mar 18, 2023 @ 17:04:27

    Were you the lady featured on that T.V. show ‘Baskets’? You are living in a self-induced state of flat denial, just like a mother who has just been informed her kid is pure evil. After watching a coyote come into the apartment with the kids all over, play for 1 second with our dog before tangling with him to finally break his neck, and drag it across the street into the bushes all the while the kids screaming and crying for their Dad outside for help-oh the T.V. was blaring, too-can you POSSIBLY tell me anything about coyotes. The REAL truth of the matter is that coyotes are smarter than lowly me and nose in the air SF socialite nothing else to do you! I can’t even believe the way you bend their every action to what you, the stupid human, PERCEIVE to be true!! Like you understand their language-you must get grants from the government or something to be able to afford your lifestyle. Afraid of people……that’s the biggest laugh I’ve ever heard!!! Get a job, professor!!!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Mar 19, 2023 @ 17:02:55


      I’m sorry you lost your little dog. You could have prevented this.

      I have no idea what “Baskets” is about since I don’t waste my time on TV (like you do?), and I’m not a “socialite”: I’ve chosen, in fact, to avoid people (many like you) with their hate and nastiness. Try reading more carefully and learning. “Luring” is not “killing”. Coyotes don’t “lure”. Yes, coyotes do kill — they kill to eat (like you do — only you pay someone else to do the dirty work and then just pay for it at the grocery store).

      In fact, why were you not supervising the kids and your pet? Didn’t you hear about the human child abduction in the news the last few days? You’re lucky it wasn’t a child who was taken. Or it could have been a large dog who could have gone after the kids. 1000 dog bites a day send people to emergency rooms every single day of the year, whereas bites and scratches from coyotes to humans amount to less than 20 a year for all of North America.

      If you had heeded the advice given here, which is the purpose of this blog, you would still have your dog — but you were irresponsible and not the best caregiver for your dog. It doesn’t matter where you are — rural or urban — because coyotes are everywhere, including in farms and in cities.

      No one gives me grants or money of any kind. What I do is purely voluntary, for the purpose of finding out about these small creatures, and helping people like you — those who want to learn — how best to keep incidents from happening. Ranting and raving because you allowed your dog to be taken isn’t going to help you. You can prevent it from happening again by supervising your pet — and your children — out of doors. This is the only thing that will help.

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