Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

SHARE
Health Learn About Dogs PhotosA

Why Do Dogs Howl?

user
Anna Olson
Sep 8 ·

Why do dogs howl? Is it for absolutely no reason? Are there serious reasons why your dog is howling? Is this just a remnant of a pack canine past?

The answer is that dogs howl for all sorts of reasons. Most of the time, those reasons are innocuous. However, they may also point to something a bit more serious. Read on to find some of the reasons why dogs howl.

Why Early Dogs Howled

Thousands of years ago, your dog’s ancestors used howling to communicate over long distances. Since howls can travel for miles, this was an effective way for early dogs to keep in contact with each other. Paleontologists and animal behavior experts have theorized many reasons why early dogs howled. Howls were mainly used to communicate between pack members. They could signal that a wolf or coyote was feeling bored or lonely. Many wolves used their howling to tell their family or pack where they were. Howling could also be a territorial signal to other predators and animals.

Your dog retains a lot of their ancestors’ instincts and communication methods. Since they are a pack animal, they consider you to be part of their pack. Therefore, they will usually use howling as a way to talk to you or to their other dog friends.

why do dogs howl

Why Do Dogs Howl?

Now that you know dogs howl to communicate, you probably also want to know what they are trying to say to you. This can depend on the situation and context. While it’s mostly for harmless reasons, there are a few instances where a howl can be a sign of something very wrong. Here are a few common reasons why your dog howls.

They Hear a Noise that Sounds like a Howl

Sometimes, your dog gets fooled by a siren, wolves or dogs on TV, or even music. All of these things can mimic the sound of a doggy howl. In addition, if you’re practicing a musical instrument and your pup starts howling, there’s no cause for concern. It probably just sounds like their pack to them. Sometimes, an annoying noise, like the beep of an alarm clock, can cause howling. Usually, once you turn off the music, or the siren passes, your dog will stop howling.

They Want to Talk to Their Dog Friends

If there are other dogs nearby, your dog may be howling to try to talk to them. This is especially true if your neighbors’ dogs also howl frequently. They may be just saying hello, signaling where they are, or howling to claim their territory.

They Found Something

Depending on your dog’s breed, they might howl to signal that they found something. Breeds like beagles and basset hounds have a specific howl called a “bay.” Since these dogs were first bred to hunt, the bay often meant the dog had found its prey and was in pursuit. Nowadays, it can still mean that. However, it can also be a signal to you that they’ve found something new in their yard and they want you to check it out, too. Even if your dog isn’t specifically a hunting breed, this may still be the reason.

They’re Alerting You to Danger

Keep in mind that what your dog finds dangerous might be something commonplace or completely innocuous to you. This doesn’t change the fact that it feels or seems dangerous to your pup. If your dog is ever howling and there’s no visible sign of injury or concern, it might be a good idea to contact your vet. This is true of any new behavior.

They Want Your Attention

Often, problem behaviors like howling, whining, or incessant barking are your dog’s attempts to get your attention. It doesn’t matter if the attention is negative or positive. If this is the case with your dog, try ignoring the behavior. Reward your dog with attention or treats when they stop.

They Have Separation Anxiety

If your dog howls whenever you leave for an extended period, it may be a sign of separation anxiety. Since ancient dogs sometimes howled to say they were bored or lonely, this could be the case for your dog, too. Other signs of separation anxiety in dogs include pacing, digging, and inappropriate peeing or pooping. There are a few strategies to combat separation anxiety in dogs. With patience and love, you can absolutely help your pup get used to being alone.

They’re Injured or in Pain

Like humans, dogs often vocalize when they’re hurt. This can include shrieking, crying, whining, and even howling. If your dog howls or shrieks when you touch them, it could be a sign that they’re in pain. If you think this might be the case, check for any visible injuries and contact your vet right away.

Now you know some common reasons why dogs howl. Figuring out why your dog is howling might take a process of elimination and considering the situation around them. Knowing why your dog is howling and what they’re trying to tell you can help strengthen your bond with your pet.

user
WRITTEN BY
Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

Recent posts
Bulldog Training Tips: 5 Simple Ways To Train Your Dog
Training a bulldog is one of the most challenging aspects of their ownership. You want to get them started on training right when you buy or adopt them. The earlier you start, the easier training will be. We’ve listed five bulldog training tips to help you get started with your new pet’s obedience training. How To Train Your Bulldog These bulldog training tips rely on your patience and consistency. Bulldogs...
Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?
Can dogs eat raw meat? With raw diets becoming popular and many people wanting to give their dog a tasty treat, it’s a popular question asked by dog owners. Humans don’t eat raw meat, but can dogs? Is it safe, or should it be avoided? Before doing anything with your dog, it’s important to do your research, especially when it comes to food. Here’s everything you need to know about...
Japanese Spitz Photos
If you want to look at Japanese Spitz photos, we have some adorable ones here. The Japanese Spitz is a small to medium-sized dog that will stand out because of its very fluffy coat! They are white and people often mistake them for American Eskimo Dogs, as the coats make them similar in appearance. They have a pointed muzzle and pricked ears that stand up through their fur. Their grooming...
Find by breed
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Next