Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coyote Mornings

Yesterday the cloud cover kept up cool again. Kona and I headed to our usual trail for some exercise and exploring. The humidity was high, the extra moisture bringing out more smells for Kona. I kept a close eye on her snout, steering clear of stickers.

When we reached the top of our steepest descent, Kona stopped to wait for me. I'd like to think that she has been well trained to not pull me down these hills, but I think she's really worried about me slipping and scaring her. All the same, she even offered a sit when I didn't catch up fast enough. She looked up at me, looking pitifully nervous and painfully cute.
The first half of our hike was quiet. Without the sun casting a golden hue, the hills looked nothing but parched. The fire from last fall looked like it happened just overnight. (I realized that I have photographed this tree several times. I wonder what it is that catches my attention.)
The trail was so quiet that I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard footsteps approaching behind us. I whipped around quickly to see a coyote sprint up the trail away from us. He stopped several yards away to keep an eye on me and Kona. Kona stopped to keep an eye on him.

It took some convincing to pull her away from her coyote watch.
This morning, on the way out the door, another coyote ran across our driveway. It stopped to sniff the neighbor's cat who hid safely under a car. Kona took her position as coyote watchdog and made sure it scampered out of sight before jumping in the car for our morning adventure.

Visitors (of the human variety)
We had out of town visitors over yesterday who stayed the night and left late this morning. Kona had never met them before and I was bit worried about having three strangers as overnight guests.

I'm happy to report that Kona coped quiet well. Amazingly, she didn't let out a single bark or growl. (I think this was partly because she was so overwhelmed by the activity when they first arrived. She usually only barks at guests when they first come in, unless they are particularly scary). She even showed off her wiggle bum and snuck in a few kisses to our girl guest (boys are still too scary).

Whenever our guests were seated, she was able to hang out and even relax in the room with us. Movement makes her the most scared, so she became skittish if anyone got up to move around. I did what I could to try and direct her to a safe spot so she wouldn't get trapped anywhere while people moved.

It seems kind of lazy on my part, but Kona seems to do best with visitors when she's allowed to do her own thing. Treats seldom help her relax. She becomes more anxious if I put her away in another room. I just kept an eye out, kept instructing our guests to completely ignore her, and gave her breaks outside to help bring her anxiety down.

I tried not to beam too much when one guest commented that Kona, "Isn't nearly as bad," as I had described. =0)


Barb said...

Kona is progressing! Guests often make me skittish, too - esp. when they move around! Your neighbor's cat could be in trouble if the coyote has time to catch it. A bear broke into our neighbor's garage, so that is my worry right now.

The Thundering Herd said...

I always laugh at Kiska who stops just before any descent. I used to think it was her concern for me, but now I figured out that she is scared I will stumble and fall on her.

LauraK said...

I LOVE that first picture of Miss Kona, such a happy girl!

And how awesome that she did well with the visitors. I'm sure that was a little stressful for her, but it sounds like she's learning how to handle things on her own and not freak out too much. Sometimes, I think it's better not to intervene and let them figure out things for themselves (like the visitors aren't going to kill her!) Good for her though, especially for giving some kisses :)

As for the Vizsla puppy pictures- the animal in the cage is actually a quail, they were testing the puppies for scenting, since some people want hunting dogs :) Aren't they just adorable though? I can't stand it!

Sara said...

I would have been so scared if I'd seen a coyote. I know they live very close to my house, but luckily we've never seen any. My husband does keep a close eye out when he lets the dogs out in the darkness of the night.

Yea Kona! I'm so happy for you that she handled the guests so well. Now, you won't feel so nervous about next time. Giving you a boost of confidence, will surely rub off on Kona. Oreo is very much the same. He's fine if everyone is sitting, but gets agitated once people get up and start moving around.

Kathy said...

wow, it sounds like it went FANTASTICALLY with the guests. I like how you handled things, I think sometimes the least attention paid to something the better, especially since it sounds like if left alone Kona felt safe and fine. I LOVE that tree too, it would be really pretty for a big picture on the wall. The sort of tree that lets your mind wander while you are looking at it with all the wild branches.
Wow, Kona sounds like she does some great cayote patrol, good job.