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What to Do If You Encounter a Coyote on a Dog Walk: Safety Tips and Guidelines

coyote in a field, coyote in tall grass, coyote sighting

Walking your dog in natural settings is a fantastic way to bond with your pet and enjoy the great outdoors. However, there's been a recent uptick in coyote sightings here in New England and encounters with any form of wildlife can be real a concern.

Knowing how to react when you encounter a coyote during your dog walk is essential for the safety of both you and your furry companion. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide you with valuable safety tips, expert advice, and resources to help you navigate a coyote encounter responsibly.

1. Leash Your Dog Immediately

The moment you spot a coyote or signs of coyote activity, leash your dog if they aren't already restrained. This ensures that you have control over your dog and prevents them from approaching or provoking the coyote.

"Keeping your dog on a leash is the first and most important step in a coyote encounter. An unleashed dog may either chase the coyote or become the target of a defensive response." – Dr. Emily Green, Wildlife Biologist

2. Stay Calm and Make Yourself Known

While encountering a coyote can be unnerving, it's crucial to remain calm. Speak to your dog in a calm but firm voice to keep them under control. Make noise by clapping your hands or calling out to the coyote to let it know you are there. Coyotes are often more fearful of humans than vice versa.

Is it a cause for concern when your dog barks at a coyote? Dogs have a unique ability to detect and communicate with wildlife, including coyotes, through various means such as howling, barking, whimpering, sniffing, eye contact, and body language. When a dog barks, it can grab a coyote's attention, but more often than not, it serves as a deterrent once the coyote becomes aware of human presence. In a study conducted by researchers, it was observed that approximately 25% of interactions between coyotes and dogs were friendly and even playful. However, an equal number of encounters involved predatory behavior, lunging, or biting. Given the potential risks involved, it's prudent to take precautions. If your dog is eager to engage with a coyote, consider distracting them with treats or changing your direction to minimize interaction and communication, thereby reducing the chances of a situation escalating.

3. Back Away Slowly

If the coyote is aware of your presence, back away slowly in the opposite direction. Keep your dog close and maintain a slow, deliberate pace. Avoid sudden movements that might agitate the coyote.

4. Do Not Run

coyote in death valley, coyote in desert, coyote sighting

Running from a coyote is not advisable. They can run faster than humans, and a chase is likely to occur. Stand your ground, continue making noise, and back away slowly.

5. Use Visual Deterrents

If the coyote approaches you, use visual deterrents to intimidate it. Wave your arms, open your jacket to appear larger, and maintain eye contact. The goal is to convince the coyote that you are not an easy target.

6. Carry Coyote Deterrents

Consider carrying coyote deterrents such as a whistle or an air horn when walking in areas known for coyote presence. These can startle and deter a coyote if it gets too close.

7. Report the Encounter

After a coyote encounter, report it to local authorities or wildlife agencies. This information can help track coyote activity in the area and ensure public safety.

8. Learn About Coyote Behavior

Understanding coyote behavior, habits, and territories can help you be better prepared for encounters. Familiarize yourself with the signs of coyote presence in your region.


What to do if you encounter a coyote on a dog walk

Encounters with coyotes during dog walks can be intimidating, but responding calmly and responsibly is essential for the safety of both you and your pet. Coyotes are generally more interested in avoiding human contact than engaging in confrontations.

By following these safety guidelines and being aware of coyote behavior, you can enjoy nature walks with your dog while coexisting safely with wildlife. Preparedness and awareness are key to ensuring a peaceful and enjoyable outdoor experience for you and your canine companion.

Header Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

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