Mom Tells Off Her Son, and Dad Stands By

The family was out together, all four of them: Mom, Dad, Daughter and her brother. It’s not often that we see the young daughter: she’s just not comfortable at this point being out when people look at her. The minute she feels noticed, she hurries off and disappears into the surrounding foliage.

Her brother also dislikes being watched. This makes a lot of sense: in the wild, if any animal looks at another animal, it’s probably a predator sizing it up as prey. But brother has become more tolerant of humans eyeing him than his sister. He might leave an area if he feels the focus is on him, but he inevitably returns to the same spot, especially if his parents are out there.

So after Sis left today, only Mom and Dad and Son were out. They wandered around a little, and then Dad moved further away from the others. Suddenly Mom was beating up Son: he was on his back and she was standing over him with teeth bared. Yikes! She seems to have a short temper recently.  She got annoyed at Dad recently while I was watching: I think simply because he bumped into her, maybe brushed against her or stepped on her heels. She not only snarled at him, but she then acted on her “words” and let him know who was boss by raising herself above him: it was an instance of interpersonal coyote communication and interactions showing HER emotional response to him, and HIS tolerance and total deference to her.

What happened with the youngster today? I didn’t see it, it happened very quickly, but probably the same thing. I’ve seen dogs get pretty upset when they’ve been bumped — nothing else but a clumsy bump — by another dog, and maybe something like this happened today. It’s probably disrespectful. Anyway, here are the photos of Mom letting little guy have it with snarls and growls. Dad soon arrived and seemed to take sides with Mom. He may have had to — if you know what I mean. In fact, Mom in this family is the “top dog”.

Eventually, after making sure Son got the message, the two parents walked off. And the little guy stayed behind. He looked dumbfounded, like he had no clue why that had been so intense: “What did I do?” But he knew he was not invited to follow his parents. Parents proceeded to walk around the periphery of their park together, and Son stayed right where he was, searching for gophers, alone.

Maybe this was just a temper-tantrum on Mom’s part — maybe she just wanted a little more respect from him? Then again, maybe she’s setting the stage for dispersal. The earliest dispersal I’ve seen occurred when a pup was nine-months old, which is what this pup is now. We’ll have to see what happens next..

© All information and photos in my postings come from my own original and first-hand documentation work which I am happy to share, with permission and with properly displayed credit: ©janetkessler/


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Claire Perry
    Jan 16, 2021 @ 15:11:04

    They are so interesting Janet. We need your observations so badly. In Maine, there are no studies being done…only constant killing. Just a shame.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jan 16, 2021 @ 19:22:42

      Hi Claire — Help spread these stories about their sentience and awareness. “Dehumanizing” them as mere objects or even “the enemy” makes it easy for killers to go after them, but spreading true life stories about them which we can relate to may cause would-be-killers to pause and think about their actions. Hopefully? Janet

  2. Hilary Cole
    Jan 16, 2021 @ 16:56:10

    Awww makes you feel sorry for the son doesn’t it.. but I guess Mom was doing it for a reason – families 😊


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jan 16, 2021 @ 19:13:57

      Yes, definitely, but there ARE reasons: It’s Mom’s job to prepare him for the real world — knowing some rules and guidelines will help him better navigate a world that is often cruel and uncompromising. Still, as you say, it’s sometimes sad to watch.

  3. Lisa Febre
    Jan 16, 2021 @ 21:18:10

    Here’s an interesting thing… is it possible mom is hurt or has some sort of pain?

    I know it’s not the same thing AT ALL, but many years ago my even-tempered cat suddenly became very intolerant of any touching — if you petted him nicely he would swat, if you moved like you might pet him he would swat, and he was generally intolerant of any touching. Turned out he had colitis and of course being touched actually hurt. Could she have had an injury we can’t see or maybe an underlying condition that is making her a little short tempered?

    Regardless, this is fascinating language & communication between the family!


  4. MelindaH
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 18:32:20

    Their interactions are fascinating—and you always tell
    a great tale about what is going on, even when the ‘why’ is uncertain. All moms get cranky now and then. 🤣🤣


  5. renate
    Sep 14, 2021 @ 02:16:24

    is this the same female that so harshly disciplined her young daughter?


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Sep 14, 2021 @ 04:02:28

      Hi Renate — No, this is a different family. Discipline is dished out in order to maintain a strict hierarchy: parents are on top. The hierarchy is necessary for maintaining order and by extension for survival. This way, the family gets to work as a unit if danger should arise. Janet

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