Coyotes are naturally afraid of people, so you don’t have much to worry about if it’s just you. However, if you’re with your dog, that’s another story. People tend to think their presence alone will discourage a coyote from coming near their dog, but it all depends on how hungry the coyote is and what kind of opportunity you present. With that in mind, here are 5 things you should do if you and your pet ever encounter a coyote.
1. Always leash your dog when you take a walk together.
This is especially important in order to prevent your dog from engaging the coyote. Coyotes are clever creatures and have been known to fain wanting to play in order to lure dogs off leash into a waiting pack of hungry coyotes. If your dog is small, you should pick it up so the coyote will not consider snatching the animal.
2. Stand your ground.
It’s crucial to maintain eye contact with the coyote. Never turn your back on it or run away. Running could cause the coyote to view you as prey and chase you despite the fact that coyotes naturally fear people.
3. If it isn’t spring, when pups are born, try to scare the coyote away.
From August to January, a mother coyote is not likely to be protecting her den, so you should try to scare the coyote away by yelling, stomping your feet, shaking your jacket or tossing rocks at it. If the coyote doesn’t move or only backs up a little, continue assertive scare tactics and move toward it until it leaves the area completely.
4. During pup season, when a coyote may be protecting a den, back away slowly.
From February to July during pup season, you should not agitate a coyote, as you might be near a den it’s protecting. The best thing to do in such a situation is to back away slowly but confidently, always maintaining eye contact and never turning your back on the coyote. The animal might follow you for a while to make sure you are leaving its territory, but maintaining eye contact and an assertive posture lets the coyote know that you are still in control.
5. Report aggressive coyotes.
Although most coyotes are afraid of people, there are some that have become too accustomed to humans and will display overly assertive behavior. If a coyote follows you for too long, doesn’t respond to hazing or acts aggressive, you should report it to the authorities. They will likely remove the animal, which may seem cruel, but it’s much better than having it attack someone later.
More Ways to Protect Your Dog
1. Keep your dog on a leash not longer than 6 feet.
That’s enough leash to give your dog some freedom but allows you to easily maintain control. If you have a small dog, you may want to keep him/her on an even shorter leash since there have been instances where coyotes snatched small dogs on walks with their owners only feet away.
2. Avoid walking in areas with thick brush.
You should stick to roads and trails in general since you will be less likely to run into a coyote there, and if you do, you will have enough time to react.
3. Don’t walk your dog at sunrise or sunset.
Coyotes are typically most active at sunrise and sunset, so it’s best to avoid being out with your dog at those times if you want to avoid an encounter.
4. Don’t let your dog outside alone, especially at night.
If you have a small dog and live in an area where there are coyotes, you may want to even consider taking your dog outside at night on a leash. Coyotes can jump fences, so your pet may not be as safe as you think even in your backyard.
5. Don’t have anything in your yard that might attract coyotes.
Don’t keep pet food outside, and make sure you pick up fallen fruit from trees, secure trash can lids and remove anything else that might provide food or shelter to a coyote.
I hope you now have a better idea about what to do in the event that you run into a coyote. However, wild animals do not all react the same. To find out what to do if you ever encounter a mountain lion, click here.