During our ground searches paw tracks are important clues. We often receive inquiries in how we determine the difference between a dog track and a coyote track so we wanted to explain how we know!
Domestic Dog track (on left):
Important note - some domestic dogs can leave very convincing looking wild canid tracks. Your best bet is often to look at the overall trail pattern (if possible) which I explain below. Overall roundish shape, blunt claws from walking on pavement/ indoors, toes 2 and 3 sit relatively low and close to heel pad, toes 1 and 4 point outwards. It would be difficult to draw an "X" in the middle of the track that would only touch the negative spaces (spaces between toes and pad). Also , the trail will usually be that of an animal that obviously was having fun and using lots of energy - not concerned about where its next meal is coming from. Not a lot of straight lines.
Coyote Track (on right)
Overall oval shape, very sharp and pointy claws from infrequent contact w/pavement/hard surfaces, toes 2 and 3 sit almost on top of 1 and 4, all claws point relatively inward (even in this quite splayed print), much more negative space between toes 2-3 and the heel pad. Lastly, an "X" would be relatively easy to draw in the middle of this print while staying completely within the negative space.
When in doubt the overall trail pattern is often more important than any individual track. For the most part, coyotes (and most other wild animals save some species in the weasel family) take a much more business like approach to travel, mostly keeping to relatively straight paths and steady gaits while traversing their territories. A pet dog's exuberance is often very discernible in the fact that they run, zig-zag, and explore more than do their wild cousins in the dog family.