Why Do Dogs Howl?

Why Do Dogs Howl?

Ever stop and wonder why dogs howl? The answer to that question is something most of us have never thought about, but it may be an important indicator of the emotions they’re going through. Most people would associate howling with coyotes and wolves however, howling isn’t exclusive to them only. All dogs have the ability to howl while some breeds such as the Siberian Husky are more common associated to making this particular sound.

A dog’s howl is a form of communication, which is more than likely one way they’re telling you that they are in distress. They may be lonely or frightened. Although most people know that dogs howl, this article will go through everything you need to know about why dogs howl and what it means for your dog.

Regardless of the reason for your dog howling, it’s important to realize that you will need to pay attention to it.

Reasons of Howling

Attention Seeking

The most common reason your dog howls is to get attention from you, and this is largely down to the fact that you are their owner. It’s important that you recognize this truth about your canine companion and pay them the attention they desire.

This is also another symptom when your dog feels lonely. This can be remedied by regular play dates with other dogs. Your dog will learn how to understand and read other dogs, this way he/she will know exactly what it means when another dog howls in excitement, and they can find a solution to their loneliness.


Dogs howls when they’re fearful, mostly because during the howling process, it will release pheromones and hormones that act as a type of warning system for other dogs.

When your dog hears another dog howl, they may feel threatened and frightened. If your dog hears you yelling at them or another dog barking at them, they might howl. In many cases, this behaviour can be remedied by teaching your canine companion to relax and be calm around other dogs.

Medical Concern

Dogs howl when they’re in pain or experiencing discomfort. Whether they are sick or hurt, howling can be an indication of pain from a sudden injury, abdominal pain, or another circumstance.

Behavioural Issues

Dogs can howl when they are anxious or frightened in new situations. This is mainly caused by their fear of the unknown or change, which causes them to howl at the top of their lungs to signal their distress.

Dogs that howl because they are frustrated or bored are often redirected to play time or other forms of activity that will excite them. This can help keep your dog stressed free and help them address any issues they may be experiencing.

A high-pitched howl is most commonly associated with wolves and coyotes. Dogs howl more often when they are unable to establish close social bonds. It is also a common trait in many other species of mammals including primates and even some birds and reptiles. It can serve as a form of territorial defence, self-identification, or communication between animals within the same species.

Dogs should not be punished for howling as long as it does not occur frequently, and the behaviour does not become problematic. There are many reasons why your dog may be howling, and punishment could only make the situation worse. If you have come to realize that your dog is not a howler and they’ve never been known to bark or howl before, it’s possible that something has changed in their life (such as a new addition to the family) or there is an underlying medical condition. Check with your vet if you think it’s necessary or try some positive reinforcement training methods.

In Response to Other Noises

In some cases, dogs can be encouraged to bark or howl on command. This is most often done using positive reinforcement training methods. Whether your dog barks in response to other animals or in response to music, it’s important that you do not reprimand the behaviour at first. You never want to try and stop a behaviour that you have not been able to observe first-hand.

In this case it is extremely important that you understand the particular trigger that’s causing your dog the most concern. Understanding the trigger involved in your dog’s barking will help you devise a plan of action.

If, for example, your dog barks in response to the sound of music, you may want to try playing music at varying levels and having somebody else play it so that they can move around your house. Try playing classical music or other instruments that your dog might find soothing.

If, on the other hand, your dog is reacting to noises like lawnmowers or barking dogs, you will want to try distracting him with treats and toys. Work on training exercises that will distract him from the noise.

Sometimes a combination of these techniques is needed. Remember that your dog learns best when he is in a positive state of mind toward you, so keep his attention on you and work on training with him. Remember to treat and praise him for any good behaviour.

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