At some point in our lives, we have all heard the sound of a dog howling. In fact, I have a dog that howls every time he hears some kind of siren. And I’ve always wondered, why do dogs howl? Finally, I have some answers.
Communication to the Pack
One of the earliest reasons dogs began to howl was to communicate with their pack. As you know, howls are loud and can be heard from a good distance. It acts as a vocal homing beacon to guide the members of the pack back together.
While it’s hard to tell for sure, this could also be why dogs howl at sirens. When they hear the certain pitch a siren makes it taps into that part of the genealogy. They howl back to “call” out to the siren and join in on the fun.
Expression of Anxiety or Wanting Attention
Some dogs will also howl when they are feeling anxious or if they are trying to get a little attention. It’s not uncommon for dogs to howl out of separation anxiety. Sometimes it’s just because your pet is bored because there isn’t enough to occupy their time alone and they start to get sad and lonely. Basically, they are crying for attention and interaction. Other times it can be a more serious anxiety issue, which you may want to speak to your vet about.
Show Defense and Mark Their Boundaries
This is also a way that dogs communicate warnings and boundaries to other dogs and humans. They can howl to announce their presence or even alert us (and other animals) about outsiders. For instance, instead of barking, some dogs howl when they see someone at the door.
Signs of Sickness
If you notice your dog starting to howl more than usual or having an unusual howl, they may be sick or injured. Usually, pet parents can tell if something is wrong with our pets, so if you suspect this is the case make sure to take them to the vet for a check up.
How to Stop Excessive Howling
If you feel like your dog is howling too much there are a few things you can do to help ease the noise. Sometimes your dog is howling because of how they feel about a certain situation or thing. Leaving your dog in their crate or going down a certain street may lead to more howling behaviors. Using tools like Systematic Desensitization & Counterconditioning (SDCC) can help treat their fears and anxiety. Contact your vet for a recommendation for a behaviorist that can help quiet some of the howlings in your home.
And don’t forget to give us a call for dog walking services to keep your dog entertained during the day! We’d be happy and come play, walk and care for them to break up long days when you’re out and about. We’d love to hear from you. You can reach us on Twitter or on our Facebook page!