How to survive a coyote encounter around your urban home

Coyote sightings are being reported more frequently in urban areas.

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If you see a coyote, below are some things to keep in mind.

Have your dog nearby

Bob Calkins, author of "Sierra the Search Dog" series of books and search and rescue dog handler, says having your dog nearby on a leash is OK.

“Sometimes coyotes will actually work in pairs,” Calkins said. “One will give your dog a play bow, which your dog will recognize as, ‘Come play with us,’ while the other coyote will circle around back.”

The Humane Society says attacks on larger dogs are rare, but coyotes will sometimes go after them if they feel their territory is threatened. It's more common during breeding season, which is January through March. For obvious reasons, smaller dogs are at higher risk of attack.

Do not run

“In many species of animals, that will trigger a pursuit instinct and they will chase you,” Calkins explained.

Rather than run down the street screaming, Calkins recommends turning around and facing the animal.

“But don’t stare them in the eye,” he said. “Puff up and look big. Open your coat so that you look bigger, and speak to them in a soft but firm voice. ‘I’m leaving, I’m not here to hurt you, bear. I’m not here to hurt you,’ and back away.”

Not all animals are the same

There are different tactics for different animals. For instance, if you encounter a brown bear, experts recommend playing dead. Lay on your stomach and clasp your hands behind your neck. Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to roll you over. Stay still until the bear leaves.

If you're unlucky enough to come across a grizzly, don't run. Avoid eye contact and walk away slowly. If it charges, don't run. You can't outrun a grizzly.

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