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So, have any of you come across roadkill or anything like that on a walk with your dog? How did your dog respond? On our walk last night there was a fairly fresh carcass of a coyote in the ditch near the highway. We let Caeda have a little bit of leash, ready to pull her back if she did more than a really short sniff. I'm willing to let her explore to a degree, its part of the point of the walk, and I wanted to know if she would beeline for roadkill, especially since we walk past that spot almost daily.

It was WEIRD. She was terrified! I have NEVER seen her with her tail between her legs before. "Scary stuff" she has always responded to by barking, tail high, bouncing around, testing whether it'll attack her, play with her or whatever, and some curiosity, then some sniffing, and eventually interaction with whatever the object is. In this case, as we walked by she had her tail down, circled it at a major distance around the head, skittered in around the back and had a quick sniff of the tail, with her tail tucked to her belly, then ran up to us and followed along (actually, she voluntarily heeled!). She was back to normal in about 3 minutes (I'm guessing she couldn't smell it any more).

So....what could have been the cause of this completely uncharacteristic response? Was she scared of the "dead" aspect or the coyote for being a wild dog-like animal? She shows plenty of interest in live deer. I mean I'm happy that she wasn't interested in hanging out around it, but for her that behaviour was bizzarre. Anybody else have any experiences coming across odd things on walks that have caused strange behaviour in their dogs?
 

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Probably because it was a canine. My dogs have never encountered a dead coyote, but there was a dead fox they found on our run once. They acted differently than they do when they find a dead rabbit (oh joy!) or deer (some hunter dumped a field-dressed carcass in the area. . .one of the dogs carried a leg the entire time!), even though foxes aren't really dogs. They just sniffed at the body politely and ran off. But then the "road" we run on isn't drivable (except for slow tractors), so the fox wasn't killed by a car. Maybe it was poisoned and they smelled the poison? Or maybe it's canid professional courtesy? I don't know.
 

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The Yote, probably blew its anal glands when it got hit, and the adrenaline was surely pumping between the time it got hit and when it expired.

The combo of those things tell your dog something very bad went down....
 

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Its really interesting Willowy that they act different with different animals, as in deer vs fox. So I guess I can't make any assumptions that her fear of the coyote roadkill means she'll stay back from other roadkill. It'll be interesting when we come across our first deer :p "Canid professional courtesy" is definitely how she treated her opportunity to smell, very strictly approaching from the side/back and only sniffing the rear area.

The Yote, probably blew its anal glands when it got hit, and the adrenaline was surely pumping between the time it got hit and when it expired.

The combo of those things tell your dog something very bad went down....
Wow, this makes a ton of sense as far as her fear reaction goes. I've never seen Caeda like that, and the adrenaline definitely would explain why she tucked her tail so much. I only thought of the smells of Coyote and the smell of "dead". She was far more curious last night when we went by, tail was down but not tucked, so I'm guessing she's curious about the dead smell now, and the adrenaline has dissipated. She still showed her courtesy though, approaching from the rear.
 

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Dogs will also act differently around dead humans as well. There is usually a fear factor as well, I guess it to be the familiarity of humans and other canines. The scent, as well as the posture, as dogs associate people and canines being in an upright or sitting position normally outdoors.

Even tracking dogs, with live people will often react to a person slumped over in the woods until the become familiar with different postures.
 
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