Hiking Dogs...

Hiking Dogs…

…and Howling Coyotes.

If you’re hiking in the mountains, more than likely, and at some point, you will probably run into a pack of coyotes (not wolves, coyotes…there are no wolf packs in California and haven’t been for many years; the last wolf was killed many, many years ago).

The coyotes will most generally sound out a warning howl to their pack to announce your presence. Keep calm at all times. Note their position and direct your dog-pack calmly away in the opposite direction while keeping alert to the coyote’s presence.

The word ‘calm’ cannot be overstated in this scenario. As your dog-pack’s Pack Leader, it’s your job to be on top of things and to remain calm at all times. This will bring about a sense of calm to your dogs even if the dogs are somewhat alarmed (think of a paramedic as an example of how to be in an emergency–calm and a stable force). If you’re not in control of your emotions and wrought with fear, your dogs will sense it immediately and may run (some dogs will run towards the coyotes).

In the case where one of your dogs does run off toward the howling (oftentimes, the coyotes are not within eyesight), though it’s a scary time, you have to focus on the others and keep your emotions in-check. Again, direct your dog-pack in the opposite direction. Call the wayward dog back to you and continue calling as you’re moving the rest of the dogs away. Get the pack to a safe place, i.e., your vehicle, your house, etc.

In the event your dog hasn’t come back to you by now, keep calling the dog and and take a weapon with you, as well as, a leash just in case you run directly into the coyotes. A weapon can be defined as anything from a rock to a stick to a gun.


1. Can you run?

Answer: Yes, you can run but run with an inner sense of calm, or as calm as you can get…keeping mentally vigilant on the location of the howls to size-up the coyote pack’s position.

2. Has one of your dogs ever ran off before? If so, what did you do?

Answer: Yes, it has happened to us one time. And, it’s something that you don’t forget. In a dog pack of four, one ran off toward the howls. Generally, the coyotes will send out a lure to entice a dog to go play with it. Once the dog takes the bait, they’re usually dead. The [coyote] lure will lure the dog away far enough and towards the rest of the pack where they’re waiting to attack and kill the dog. In our case, the dog came back within (a very long) five to ten minutes of being gone and was perfectly fine. If we would’ve gone after the one dog when the dog initially took off, the whole pack, and us ourselves, would have been placed quite possibly in mortal danger.

3. Did you lose a dog during the video?

Answer: No. This near run-in with coyotes, in the video, was a different time from the instance above. In fact, all the dogs, in the dog-pack on the video, were under great voice-recall and were calm. A couple of them were definitely on alert but not panicked. We continued our hike moving in the opposite direction and had a great time actually!

4. Aren’t you afraid of coyotes?

Answer: No. In fact, we love them! We just make it a point to–once we’ve entered their territory–respect them and move out of it.

5. Have you ever killed a coyote?

Answer: No. And, we wouldn’t unless we had no other choice. The coyotes have a right to exist just like we do. We believe there has to be a mutual respect for each other especially when you’re taking it upon yourself to enter into their domain.