Everyone knows that coyotes are a risk to our dogs in Northern Nevada, but this recent event really drives home the point. In brief, a couple were walking near the Tahoe Rim Trail, and their Whippet spied some coyotes and gave chase. By the time the couple caught up to the dog, he was dead and the pack was eating him.
To minimize the risk of a coyote attack on your pets, make sure that your dog run and yards are secure, and check for digging holes regularly. Let your medium to large dog outside only when you can supervise, and if they’re in a dog run all day when you’re at work, put a roof on it to be sure your dog can’t climb out, and coyotes can’t climb in (yes, dogs can climb chain link fences). Make sure your pets have current identification on them at all times – a break-away collar and ID tag with your cell phone number is best. Keep cats and small dogs indoors unless they’re directly supervised.
When you’re out with your dog, have them wear a leash or drag a long line for safety – that way, if your dog takes off, they’re easier to catch quickly!
NEVER let a small dog hike in front of you or behind you more than a few feet.
And NEVER let your dog chase wildlife on the trail. It’s bad environmental stewardship, and very unsafe. Dogs learn through experience, and once they learn how much fun it is, they will want to do it again – and your dog doesn’t know the difference between chasing a deer, rabbit or coyote – as long as it’s running, it’s fun!
Practice your recall regularly, off of other dogs, squirrels, tennis balls, good smells, and other people, so that when the situation presents itself, you can call your dog away from something distracting. Until they’re reliable with this skill, have your dog drag a line. If you need help, call me – this is one of my favorite things to teach!