Why Do Dogs Howl?  Do You Know?

Why Do Dogs Howl? Do You Know?

Why Do Dogs Howl? Do You Know?

What a wonderful day to discuss “Why Do Dogs Howl?” mine do and I decided to do a little research to see why they howl.

Is there a reason or perhaps a noise that is hurting their ears? I had a wolf and he often howled but that was natural for him!


Why do Dogs Howl?

My opinion here is that dogs are descendants of the wolves and that it would be normal for them to howl, but some dogs do howl more than others what causes this behavior.

I have a Pit Bull right now that when I come home I can hear her from outside howling and then the other two would bark at her are they communicating in a language only known to them?

Because of her being the youngest of the three dogs I have found that she suffers from separation anxiety. Ever since I have gotten her she is rarely left for any length of time without a human and if I am gone more than a few minutes to her it seems like forever.

Howling is a common trait among all canines and no dog is exempt from howling, it just depends on what brings this howling about.

Because it is a non-specific behavior howling can occur anytime there is a “distressed”, stressed in a situation they have no control over (being in a kennel), feeling territorial, communication with dogs far off, or perhaps responding to a siren.

Wolves will howl to bring all the hunters back to the pack or at times to ward off enemy packs that are coming into their territory letting them know that they are trespassing and they are ready for them.

When dogs howl they could possibly be communicating with dogs from the other side of your neighborhood their hearing is so much better than humans and we cannot even begin to hear what they do.

One of my labs would only howl when we played a certain CD it was funny he would sit in front of the stereo and actually sing along with the whole song. Some dogs will howl at the sounds of sirens even before we as humans even hear them.

As humans, we can talk to our dogs, but they have their own way of communication and howling is just one of the forms they use to communicate for attention, making contact with other dogs, and to announce their presence of where they are.

If a dog is sick or injured they may howl in a slightly different way to vocalize they are having a problem, if you notice this is more than normal then please get them to the veterinarian for a check-up it could be serious.

Has your dog ever woke you in the middle of the night howling? When you get up to check on him/her there is nothing wrong but you can hear the neighbor’s dog howling as well? I think this comes from their ancestral wolves and they join in as an automatic response to the rest of the pack communicating where they are.

I have known dogs to howl when someone has passed away mostly the owner the one who has taken care of them all their life up until now – this can cause the neighborhood chorus to begin – but every time it happens does not mean that something is wrong at that time.

Dogs do howl for many reasons but mostly it is for long-distance communication, territoriality, loneliness (anxiety), sickness, or injury. Humans need to learn it is just a dog’s method of communication to other dogs.

Free Dog Training. Click Here.


Can I Stop or Break The Howling

First and foremost you need to determine the reason for your dog howling, once you have determined it is not because of sickness or injury then you can work on stopping them or breaking them from the howling habit if it is bad.

One thing most dogs respond well to is reward therapy – in other words, once you get your dog to stop howling reward them with a treat. If they continue to stay quiet for at least 5 to 7 minutes give them another treat letting them know quiet is good.

After a couple of treats for being quiet and you soothe them, they should be alright – continue to do this when they start to howl to see if this will stop or break the howling issue.

When it comes to a dog howling because of anxiety this is a whole new issue and requires another form of protecting them from harm.

Some just howl from the separation while others will howl and destroy – this has happened for me – and she is now in a kennel when I go out.

The only problem is I can put nothing in the kennel with her that she does not destroy and this can even be at night when I am home in bed and she is in the kennel. So I looked up some suggestions that I am going to try to see if any of them help. The first one is listed below.

Fill a treat ball with peanut butter then put it in the freezer for the next time you need to go out, peanut butter is going to take a long time for him/her to lick out of the treat ball but being frozen also is a cool treat.

JW Treat Tower Treat Dispensing Dog ToyAlways tell your dog you will be back soon when you leave, I do this even if I am walking across the street to the dollar store for a few minutes. Stop when you get outside of your house to see how long he/she howls, prior to continuing on your way.

Some dogs especially one that you have adopted may be unsure that you will return to them as they may have been abandoned in the past.

When you arrive back home give your dog a very exuberant greeting. He/she will then start to look forward to your return instead of howling while you are gone.

Make sure you take the treat ball when you return home (I usually wash it and set it out to dry for refilling). Doing this teaches your dog that he/she only receives special treats when you go away and you will return to pick them up.

Free Dog Training. Click Here.


In Closing

Now that we have a good idea of why dogs howl what do you think? Does all of this make sense of why our best friends end up singing (howling) at times?

If you have had a dog that had this problem in the past would you mind sharing your remedy with us?

Any suggestions on what to do with anxiety when left alone for a dog?

Your answers below are greatly appreciated along with any questions, comments, or suggestions that you might have as well.

Thank you so much for coming by today see you again soon,

Susan

 

10 thoughts on “Why Do Dogs Howl? Do You Know?”

  1. I definitely did not think this deep on why dogs howl. I personally just thought it was their way of communicating with other dogs and never once thought it was a problem. 

    Reading this post has opened my eyes that it might be more than I actually thought. Their howling sure disturbs at times especially at night and I just go outside to see why they are howling. They normally stop as soon as they spot me and I am not entirely sure why they do that. 

    Whether it might be due to fear or anxiety I do not really know. Anyway, with this post, I have a better understanding of why dogs howl and I learned a lot from it that I would definitely try out with my dog.

    • Jay,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my article on “Why Dogs Howl” keeping your dogs outside at night could be why they are howling due to fear or anxiety maybe both.  Have you considered having them inside in a kennel or crate?

      Although, this is their main way to communicate with other dogs that can be even farther away than you are able to hear domesticated animals can sense danger long before we do.

      When you go outside it reassures them knowing you are nearby making them comfortable if possible try a kennel or crate indoors to see if this alleviates your howling problems.

      Susan

       

  2. Hi Susan, 

    You are very correct with this I guess. Whenever I depart from home even to visit a neighbor, my dogs do howl a lot and I couldn’t seem to figure out why a dog should behave like a wolf?

    But I just got my answer from this post that its because they are descendant from wolves. Furthermore, I do engage in giving out treats to make sure she keeps mute when I’m gone. 

    I think my dog howling as a result of missing me. We stay together most times and I am her best friend so, anytime I leave her alone, I think she gets lonely and as a result of that, she howls a lot. You need to see how happy she always get whenever she sees me coming back home.

    • Rodger,

      Yes, I think I might just be onto something here with why our dogs howl.  Over 50 years of having dogs in my life daily and having a gray timber wolf for 14 years I have just a little experience with them.

      Sounds like not only does your dog miss you even if you leave for a few minutes but that she is suffering from just a bit of separation anxiety because you do spend so much time with her.  Considering she does not destroy anything during your absence then I would not let it bother you and give her plenty of attention when you return. Positive reinforcement showing that she might have been howling but that she was still a good girl.

      Thanks for reading come back anytime,

      Susan

  3. This is a great explanation to why dogs howl, I have always believed they do so when in danger/ distressed 

    But it makes sense to say it’s a way of communication too because I do remember sometimes, mostly at night time, while sleeping, one dog can start howling and before you know it, several others within the neighborhood would join in

    So yes,  I do believe they communicate that way too, but whatever it is they are saying, we will never know!

    Thanks for this great piece..

    • Nnakife,

      Thank you for taking the time to read “Why Do Dogs Howl” having over 40 years experience with dogs and a gray timber wolf for 14 years knowing the difference how the howling is presented is something I am familiar with.

      All the dogs in the neighborhood do communicate in this way along with some you cannot even hear, but they can. No, we will never really know what they are saying to each other but this is their means of communication and has been for many years.

      Glad you enjoyed the article return anytime,

      Susan

  4. I always imagined that dogs are like me, in that I can go hours without talking but at some point I will have the compulsion to talk, if for no other reason than to exercise my vocal chords and hear my voice.  I therefore find it hard to accept means that silences the barking of dogs permanently.

    But I understand the need for training them not to too readily bark or howl (again, like humans, we shouldn’t talk all the time or it disrupts the classroom!).  So love the idea of giving them peanut butter treats to train them and gently ease their anxieties over hours of separation when their human companions has to go to work.  My companion doesn’t really have a sweet tooth so he still loves gnawing on gigantic bones that keeps him occupied for hours on end, as well as little morsels of beef jerky for rewards when he does something right.

    Keen to hear other dog treats ideas.

    • Cath,

      Good points that you bring up and with my experience in having dogs for over 40 years including a gray timber wolf for 14 years this howling has been something that I wanted to include on my website for others.

      Not sure what type of bones you give your fur babies to gnaw on but please be careful they can splinter breaking off being swallowed which can cause internal bleeding very fatal for your dogs.  Peanut butter that I use is the natural kind so keeping the sugar down for my animals is also important to me.  Frozen it makes for a wonderful treat inside the Kong Toys.

      Thank you for stopping and reading my article today,

      Susan

  5. We have neighbors to the left and right who own dogs of different breeds. One of them has adult huskies that used to howl when they first came into our neighbor’s house. 

    I knew that time that it was because of Sepanx! But the howling still continues even if their dogs have been with them for quite a long time. What I didn’t know is that they also have different reasons for howling aside from the one I knew. 

    I’ll definitely share with them this wonderful post so they can better understand the needs of their dogs and address them properly. Thank you for sharing!

    Cheers

     Aldren

    • Alden,

      Huskies are a breed that demands human attention much of the time. Their howling is more for human attention and interaction due to their high intelligence and being of the working breed dogs.  Working breed dogs are happiest when they have a job to do it can be a very simple job but this will make them less likely to continue howling.

      Even though humans are spending time with the dogs which could be hours dogs have no sense of time and to them, this seems like minutes.  All breeds will take up howling for different reasons finding the right reason to silence your particular animal is going to take trial and error.  Knowing the exact cause should not take you very long at all to figure out.

      Thanks for reading and please do share this with anyone that might find it useful,

      Susan

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