Have you explained a situation to an animal? What were the results?


A family of coyotes has taken up residence in our quiet city neighborhood. They live in the wooded area of a nearby park. We see them roaming up and down alleys and between houses early morning and late at night.

Because our little cocker spaniel Leaf is a tiny fellow, it concerns us that he could get hurt if one of the coyotes attacked him.

As many of you regular readers know, Leaf has a unique personality and a mind of his own. He’s the kind of guy who needs explanations. It doesn’t work to give him a command. He’s like a teenager in that he requires a reason. When he understands what you want and why, then he complies (usually).

So we have been looking for an opportunity to tell him about the coyote. Every night one of us goes outside with Leaf before bedtime to stand guard in case the coyote is roaming our neighborhood.

Last night, the coyote walked down the alley behind our house while Leaf was in the backyard. Our alpha dog barked at him. The coyote wasn’t fazed by Leaf’s bark but saw Linda watching him from our back deck. Her glare persuaded him to walk in the opposite direction.

Linda called Leaf back to her with urgency in her voice. He stood on the porch while she explained about coyotes. She said something to the effect: “He is a dangerous animal. He will hurt you. If you see him, run to the deck as fast as you can. Bark and bark and bark.”

Leaf has a way of looking deeply into the eyes of the human who is talking, if he’s interested in what she has to say. Last night, he was interested. He saw the coyote for himself and got a good whiff of his scent. He instinctively knew that this predator spelled trouble with a capital T.

Have you explained a situation to an animal? What were the results?

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Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family