Urban Coyote Myth: Coyotes Luring Dogs to Their Deaths (Revised and Updated)

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 *loose* 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 an intruder: 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.

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