A coyote can be as fierce as a wolf and sly, sneaky, and smart as a fox. It’s also one of the most cunning wild animals. It’s, therefore, of little wonder that many folk and children’s stories depict the coyote as a trickster who never ceases to surprise.
Coyotes are known for intruding on yards and snatching away unattended pets, especially puppies and smaller breed dogs.
As this video shows, they could also attack or play pranks on adult dogs.
Even though dogs have a keen sense of smell and can smell a coyote from a distance, the guard dog in the video doesn’t see the coyote coming.
The coyote hesitates for a few seconds before pitching the dog’s hind leg and running away. The dog doesn’t know what has pinched it, but it turns around defensively, chases the coyote for a short distance, and stops to avoid a fight with the coyote.
Why Didn’t the Dog Go After the Coyote Aggressively?
Dogs rarely engage in fights unless they have a good reason. Territory, protecting the pack, and mating rights are some reasons. Fights and attacks involving dogs can cause severe injuries to both animals, sometimes resulting in death. Consequently, dogs usually weigh the situation before deciding to engage or run away.
The guard dog in the video must have realized that the fight was not worth it and decided to scare the cunning coyote instead.
Even though the coyote is the one that initiated contact, it runs away with its tail tucked between its legs, which is a way of saying” don’t hurt me” or “I am frightened” in dog language. The dog and the coyote are distant cousins and use similar communication patterns.
Perhaps the coyote expected the dog to respond kindly and even play with it. The dog wouldn’t have any of that.
The Coyote and Dog’s Communication Patterns
Interestingly, the dog in the video doesn’t bark, which is the typical behavior when someone or something unfamiliar enters or approaches their territory. One would expect the dog to bark to warn the coyote to stay away.
Instead, the dog makes a high-pitched sound as it approaches its owner.
Dogs usually whine when they:
- Want something they can see but can’t get
- Want to be allowed to go outside
- Feel frustrated
- Are separated from a companion they value (mostly human)
- Want the owner’s attention
The dog in the video must have been whining from frustration with the crafty coyote. Perhaps it was seeking its owner’s attention and intervention to make the coyote go away.
Similarly, the coyote howled at the end of the video. Coyotes usually howl to:
- Communicate with other coyotes when establishing a territory. The howl, in this case, serves to call the family together after spending time hunting individually.
- Advertise its presence, warning other family groups from trespassing on its territory.
The coyote in the video must have been howling to advertise its presence and perhaps warn the dog to stay away now that it had refused to engage it on friendlier terms.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.