Is my dog being stalked
I live in an agricultural part of northern New Mexico. There are many coyotes in this area and they have no predators. They do prey on cats and dogs so we keep them inside at night and are cautious during the day, but I have never been worried to leave my dog in his yard while I am at work during the day until now.
Lately when I walk my dog early in the morning we have encountered a lone coyote in the horse fields in a valley close to our home. He is on the other side of a fence, but seems to be waiting for us (I could be wrong). I don't want this coyote to think I am afraid of him, and I don't want my dog to be his meal, so I have stood my ground and stared him down until he leaves, but twice he hasn't left and one time he moved toward us. This morning a horse that was standing nearby appeared to become frightened, even though neither of us moved, and he galloped away. My dog ran with the horse (on my side of the fence). The coyote walked away. However as the coyote walked away he kept his eye on us and walked parallel to us most of the way as we returned home, even though he was probably about a football field away on the other side of the field. When we stopped, he stopped. He stared at me - I stared back. Eventually there were some bushes in the way and he disappeared.
I am afraid that he is stalking my dog. Now I am afraid to leave my dog alone in the yard during the day. I don't know what to do. There are many coyotes around here, One day I counted 6 on my morning walk. At night I hear 3 different packs on 3 sides of our property..
I've heard that coyotes can scale fences 6' high he has a wire fence so he can see out. I leave my dog in it from 8-5:30/6 while I'm at work. My dog is a Dalmatian mix. Not aggressive and very playful. What can I do to protect him?
Taos County New Mexico
The best way to protect your dog, is to do some research on coyote and their behavior based on scientific research and not what someone said they can do. Coyote are very observant, have defined territories, tend to have specific time periods related to attacking for food versus attacking for territorial reasons and are commonly believed to have higher population levels than they actually do. While it is possible for a coyote to attack a dog in your area, you most likely also have the possibility of attack from other predators such as mountain lion and bear.
If you're concerned about leaving the dog unattended, the first option is to build/purchase a fully enclosed kennel for it to use when you're not around. If that isn't possible and you're concerned about the fence being breached, you can install "rollers" on the fence top to prevent animals from using the top rail for solid footing. If you do a Google search for "coyote rollers" you will see several commercial options available.
It is important to note that in many cases, removal of the coyote itself will not resolve the issue. Unless the coyote has distinct markings, it is almost impossible to know if the "problem" coyote was taken or not. Even if the proper coyote is removed, it doesn't mean that another one won't take its place and repeat the behavior. This doesn't mean that removal of coyotes (problem animals or population management strategy) shouldn't be done as there are times when this is necessary. Also, trying only nonlethal means has many of the same problems and shouldn't be looked at as the only solution. Rather, the most important act for finding an answer to coyote problems is education and understanding their behavior as this allows for the proper techniques (avoidance, habitat modification, harassment, removal, etc.) to be used for the situation at hand.