Protecting Yourself and your Dog from Coyotes

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We live in an area where there are a lot of coyotes. I see them at least once a week and there are frequent stories about them chasing and/or killing small pets in the Los Angeles area. Because of this, I keep a close eye on my dogs and leashed in areas where they might be roaming. Even though the likelihood that they would be able to take down 85lb Jack is pretty slim, not taking the chance. We’ve had many run-ins with them over the years – most often with Tino since I always ran with him off-leash and unfortunately, he had a real love for chasing coyotes. His recall was pretty predictable, except when coyotes were involved.

On a spring day, a coyote is standing on top of a hill.
Just over a year ago, I did an interview with a Park Ranger here in CA and gathered some tips and techniques for dealing with coyotes that I shared on Dogster. I thought it would be useful to revisit some of those tips here.

What activities or behaviors attract coyotes to urban areas?

Park Ranger: Coyotes persist in urban areas primarily off natural food sources, small mammals, rabbits and vegetation and fruits. However, they regularly take advantage of human garbage and other human-related food sources such as pet food and fruiting ornamental vegetation. If coyotes are regularly being sighted around your neighborhood, keep an eye out for what they may be eating. Are there trees fruiting, is someone feeding pets outdoors, are garbage cans overflowing or getting knocked over, are people leaving other food items where coyotes can get to it? If so, make sure those get removed and the coyote issue will likely go away. Animals that are being fed by people are more likely to become accustomed to people and show less fear which may lead to human coyote conflicts.
Is there a peak season when coyotes are more prevalent?

Park Ranger: There is a slight peak in human-coyote conflicts during pup rearing, which occurs in April, May, June, and July. However conflicts can occur during any time of year. For coyote sightings it varies. In cold areas that lose their vegetative cover, they are typically seen more during the winter, but here in southern California we typically get more visuals during July and August as the pups start getting older and moving around.
How can dog owners protect their pets?

Park Ranger: I recommend whenever you are dealing with pets to always behave as if coyotes are around, as they probably are. Coyotes are very adaptive and are using urban areas. It makes it important if you want to keep your animals safe to monitor your animals when they are outside, even inside fenced yards.

For dogs, we recommend keeping them on leash when you are walking them. For cats, we recommend keeping cats indoors, or if you need to let them out to keep them on leash or at least within your yard. To minimize the potential for an attack, ensure you keep items that coyotes view as food out of your yard. To not attract them to your neighborhood, ensure that you secure your garbage, pet food, bird feeders, compost piles, vegetable gardens, or any other place you may unintentionally be feeding coyotes.


If coyotes approach while walking a pet, it is best to yell at the coyote and pick your pet up prior to the coyote getting close, if possible. Be sure to act aggressive and let the coyote know you are the larger animal. Slowly back away with your pet while continuing to watch the coyote.

I’ve never had a coyote come after me, but they have followed me and the dogs many times. I realized that I was too close to their den and their pups were just old enough to be venturing out. They wanted me AWAY — so I left, and quickly. I think that’s the best advice: avoid, avoid, avoid.


Additional Resources:
5 Ways to Keep Your Dogs Safe from Coyotes

How to Protect Your Pets From Coyotes


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  1. Great post. We live in a very rural area and have had many close encounters with coyotes. Those are good tips, but sometimes being big, loud, whatever does not work. I recommend an air horn for those times.

  2. I’m so glad that we have no coyotes here. Even the imagination to be surounded by a pack of coyotes is just scary. I hope nothing will happen to all who meet this guys.
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  3. I have always said my one dog Lexus is mixed with a coyote. BOL! She looked like Wiley Coyote when she was a pup! On a more serious note, yes, coyotes seem to overtaking some parts of the world. These were great tips!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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  4. I live on a farm in a rural area in KY and we have recent pics on camera of coyotes taking down baby deer, in the daylight hours, not too far from the house. 🙁 I also take my boy on runs and see their poop not far from the house. I think one tried to lure my dog away for ‘the chase,’ and like Tino, he ran after it. However, again like Tino, I think he realized it was a trap, and he came back fairly quickly. Like you, I was running and screaming too! Of course, I also started my truck and was on my way to go retrieve and meet danger head-on…. TY for this post. I wish the Ranger would have addressed rural areas, as well.

  5. This is a great post! We often times are woken up at night with howling coyotes not far from our backyard. Just the thought gives mom the shivers! Great tips, thanks for sharing!
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  6. This is the first year we have had both coyotes and mountain lions spotted in our area, probably because of the drought. it is scary.
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  7. We have fruit trees – lots of them – and have watched the coyotes come onto our property to get apples or peaches. One thing that has protected our dogs is to avoid letting them out at dusk and dawn. Also being aware of body language so that we know immediately when they catch a scent so that we can distract them before they wander off to find the source. Having a solid recall is paramount with our pack.
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    • Body language is key – I could usually tell with Sally & Tino and as I said the other day – their run when chasing coyotes was completely different.
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  8. Great tips. When we lived in California, coyotes were a real problem in our area. They could been seen just walking around the Air Force base! It’s amazing to see a dog’s instinct shine through. Mauja was always curious about wildlife, but she knew coyotes were a threat and was amazing at scaring them off. Friends with little dogs always wanted to take their walks with us 😉
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  9. When we were in Lake Havasu last winter, we heard coyote stories from the locals. They will climb over a six foot fence to get at the yard and what’s inside the yard. They will lure off leash dogs when out hiking, then 2 or 3 will attack the dog. I kept the dogs on a leash when out in the desert hiking after hearing these stories.
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  10. It’s interesting to hear about coyote interactions from around the country. Most residents here would never guess it, but Chicago has a fairly robust coyote population. Our coyotes are monitored/tracked by the city and almost universally avoid humans. Pretty cool project:

  11. They eat bird seed? Luckily I haven’t ran into any around here. They sure do sound like jerks compared to wolves.
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  12. Great post and thank you for adding it to the blog hop.

    We have coyotes around our area and I always worry about encountering one, I try to always be aware and of course would immediately leave if I saw one. I carry pepper spray, not sure how that would work on a coyote, but if need be I’m willing to try. My guys are big too, but one can never risk it.

  13. Darn coyotes. We have them around our city house, but I think the big dogs do keep them away. At our cabin, the hunters have done a good job of managing them. For a while they were over running the deer, turkeys, grouse and such. Hubby did run into a giant one on one of the trails in the forest. Good thing the dogs did not spot it!

    Thanks for joining the hop!
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  14. We have coyotes in the woods by our home. I’ve not seen any in our neighborhood though. Scary!

  15. Great post!!

    We’ve been having some pretty bad issues with wildlife lately. We have new neighbors who have been feeding them. My dogs actually got into a fence fight with a coyote a few weeks ago. They were fine and the coyote ran off right away but it was still very frustrating.
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    • Big mistake in feeding them. Hope you can convince them to stop.
      mkob recently posted…Protecting Yourself and your Dog from CoyotesMy Profile

      • Yes, I completely agree.. We haven’t been able to talk to them, they pretty much hate us because our dogs keep ruining their photo opportunities… They charge the fence barking and the animals run away. We get pretty bad nasty looks from them and everything. We are probably going to call Fish and Game, though.
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  16. That is such great advice. Some of it is similar to what we need to do here in the Northeast to keep bears away, such as not leaving any food out to attract them. I worry about running into them mostly in the spring when they might be aggressive because they have cubs.
    I used to leave my bird feeders out in the spring, but after they got taken down by bears, I now put them in earlier.
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  17. Hopefully we won’t run into any in the fur. Mom had problems with wild boar in Germany. They kill dogs and people especially if they have little ones, but luckily they never chased her or her dog.
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  18. Thanks for the tips! Barley and I try to avoid places when we know that coyotes are denning and we’ve never seen (although I have seen them when walking my aunt’s dogs in CO), but they are one of my biggest worries when we’re out adventuring!
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  19. I heard that Miley Cyrus’s dog unfortunately passed due to a coyote attack and have been on guard ever since. If it can happen to a celebrity it’s really eye-opening that this could happen to anyone. Be careful guys!
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  20. This is such great advice! We have a large number of coyotes in our area – they love to howl when we’re all sound asleep! – but we rarely actually see them. I worry about encountering one when I’m out with the dogs, but this is something I’ll keep in mind. Also, Newt is never allowed outside unless she’s on her harness and line!!
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    • Good – keep that little Newtster on her leash and not coyote fodder! We don’t want to lose a good SlimKitty friend!
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  21. These are great tips! Coyotes seem to be almost everywhere now. A friend of mine unfortunately had her Yorkshire Terrier taken off her porch one night by a coyote, so please watch your small dogs carefully (especially at night) if you have coyotes in your area.
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