Provoking a Reaction

This is not an aggressive coyote. I know this coyote well — he simply wants to be left alone. The dog and walker in fact came upon this peaceful fella calmly sunning himself — that’s how it began. This is a defensive coyote being threatened by an aggressive dog. The dog is provoking the reaction by focusing on the coyote, barking and lunging at the coyote. IN RESPONSE to both the dog’s presence and the dog’s behavior, the coyote is displaying its scariest behavior, trying to warn the dog to stay away (“hey, look how ferocious I am; you might want to stay away”) and to get the dog to leave. The coyote is messaging the dog and owner, in the only effective way it knows how, to move away from itself and the area, and not focus on it.

Rather than heeding the message and moving the dog along and away, the dog-owner plants herself and her dog in sight of the coyote to take a sensationalist video for Facebook — it’s a clear provocation to the coyote. All she had to do, was walk away from the coyote, dragging her dog if she had to.

Please heed the message: walk away from coyotes, especially if you have a dog! Please remember that we’re in the middle of pupping season, when coyotes will particularly defensive about themselves and areas close to their dens. [Video extracted from Jennyfifi Facebook]

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jim Mense
    May 21, 2021 @ 22:43:25

    Are you being completely objective? I am not sure the dog is being aggressive, although it could be. It is also possible that the dog is wanting to play or is curious about this new creature. Of course the coyote does not understand because dogs and coyotes speak different languages!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      May 22, 2021 @ 21:38:46

      Hi Jim —

      You have to look at this from the coyote’s perspective. I remember reading that in Colonial times, it was a sport to “toss dwarfs” — great fun and games for the tosser. This coyote is messaging that it wants to be left alone. To keep the peace, the dog should be dragged away and not encouraged to interact. Coyotes do not like dogs, and most dogs will chase them and pursue them aggressively if allowed to. It might be seen as fun for the dog, not so the coyote. Hope this helps. Focusing on an animal in the wild is usually a predator/prey interaction.

  2. Crayshack
    Jun 01, 2021 @ 01:26:39

    That side hop with an arched back is a very clear signal to my eyes. That’s the coyote desperately trying to make itself look far larger than it actually is. If I were to guess, that coyote is on the verge of panicking due to how scared it is in that situation. A panicked animal can potentially be just as dangerous as one that is aggressive, but it is a problem that is solved in a completely different way. By removing the thing that is scaring the animal (in this case the dog) the coyote is no longer threatened. It doesn’t matter if the dog is an actual threat or not because the coyote perceives the dog as a threat.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jun 01, 2021 @ 06:43:59

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the owner doesn’t seem to see that her dog is causing this coyote’s reaction: the coyote is scared, yes, and putting on a fierce show to scare the dog away. If the fence were not there, the dog would chase the coyote, and the coyote would flee. The owner wants to see “an aggressive” coyote so that’s all she sees.

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