When coyotes lose their fear of people, their lives are in danger. The more these wild animals come into contact with people, the more likely they are to be shot by authorities who face enormous pressure to prevent people and pets from being hurt by coyotes.
With that in mind, behavioral ecologist Marc Bekoff, who has studied coyotes for decades, urges people to do what they can to keep coyotes away from their homes. This advice applies to people who live out in the country as well as urban and suburban dwellers. Coyotes can exist in all of these areas.
To keep coyotes from being attracted to your residence, Bekoff recommends keeping your pets on leash, covering your garbage and never feeding them. Coyotes can be frightened away with loud sounds such as a whistle, shouting or a can of pennies.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, coyotes are much safer when they are fearful of people. Simple steps such as preventing them from being attracted to areas where people live and by scaring them away if they do approach can be life-saving for coyotes.
Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.