Why Do Dogs Howl?
Why Do Dogs Howl?

Why Do Dogs Howl? Reasons and Tips for Pet Parents

Every pet parent wants to know the meaning of dog howling. Now, we all know what howling sounds like - it’s a high-pitched sound that sounds like a doleful cry. However, many of us are still quite unaware of why do dogs howl. Well, here’s a fun fact: howling for dogs is genetic inheritance. It’s no news that dogs are closely related to wolves. Despite the difference in their sizes, wolves and dogs share around 99% DNA. However, heredity is not the only reason why dogs howl. So, what does it mean when a dog howls, and how can you handle your howling dog? You will find answers to such questions in this article.


Why do dogs howl?

To handle a howling dog, you first need to understand the reason why your pet is making this long, wailing noise. Here’s a look at some probable causes of dog howling.

  • Your dog is reacting to something they heard

    Dogs feel stimulated by high-pitched sounds. Howling is their way of responding to fireworks, sirens, bells, and other noises. This type of howling starts as soon as they hear the shrill sound. As a pet owner, you don’t have to worry about this type of howling since it usually stops when the trigger sound does.

  • Your dog has separation anxiety

    If a dog is excessively attached to you, they might experience separation anxiety. So, once your little companion learns that you won’t be around for a few days, they might start howling under stress and anxiety. If your dog howls every time you need to leave for a long period, it is a sign of hyper-attachment. You might have to treat their anxiety to manage this type of howling. And no, scolding them is not the right way of doing it.

  • Your dog wants your attention

    A howling dog could also be seeking attention. And this type of dog howling can be bothersome. You might feel like scolding, questioning, or holding your furball, but you must do the exact opposite of it. Avoid giving your pet any type of attention. Don’t pamper or scold them.

  • Your dog suspects danger

    Dogs can sense bad weather, earthquakes, diseases, and so much more. Hence, you cannot rule out the fact that a howling dog could also be trying to alert you of something. Maybe they feel a situation is not right for you or could cause you potential harm. Dogs can sense the intentions of a person through their facial expressions. That’s exactly why dogs howl at some people who try to get near you or your house.

  • Your dog wants to rejoin you

    Dogs are still very social animals; it’s just that now we are their pack. When they miss us, they will howl in hopes we respond. Dr. James Serpell, BSc, Ph.D., Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, explains it this way: That [howling] is an attempt on the part of the dog to ask the owner, ‘Where are you so that I can rejoin you?’


Are certain breeds more likely to howl?

Dr. James Serpell doesn’t believe so. “My own research has shown that it is common across breeds. People think huskies may be more prone to group howling.”


How to handle excessive dog howling?

Dogs going through separation anxiety may howl excessively when left home alone. Dr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager for Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, says, “If you reinforce quiet behavior, they are less likely to continue howling.” You can do this by quieting your dog and then leaving for a very brief time before returning and rewarding them when they stay quiet. Gradually increase the time you’re gone to reassure them you’ll always be back.


But what if your pawsome pet is howling due to other reasons? Let’s understand how to handle such situations:


  1. Avoid reacting:

    As a pet parent, you must avoid reacting to the howling. This could encourage your dog to howl even more. If you avoid reacting, your dog will understand that howling won’t get their demands met. This might possibly work towards reducing this behavior in the future.

  2. Offer positive reinforcement:

    Pamper your little companion when they do not howl on hearing a siren or bell. Give them attention and love when they are calm to encourage quiet behavior. Always keep your pet’s favorite treats ready so you can let them know they have been a good boy or good girl by not howling.

  3. Get professional training:

    If your pooch often reacts to high-pitched sounds, you can even get in touch with a dog trainer. They can work with your dog to change their response to triggering sounds like sirens and fireworks.

Note: Training your fur baby is a time-consuming process. Hence, stay consistent with the actions recommended above and your pet will learn to control their howling triggers.

FAQs on Dog Howl

  1. What does it mean if a dog howls?
  2. To understand what a howling dog means to communicate, you need to first read the situation. When dogs howl, it could mean anything–a response to high-pitched sounds, an attempt to attract attention, a suspicion towards someone, etc.

  3. Is it good to let a dog howl?
  4. Yes. Since dogs are genetically programmed to howl, it is okay to leave them alone when they do that. However, if it bothers your neighbors, you might want to learn to handle your fur baby or get professional help.

  5. Are dogs sad when they howl?
  6. While howling sounds like a long cry, it doesn’t always mean that they are sad.

  7. How to stop the dog from howling?
  8. To stop your dog’s howling, you can reward their calm and quiet behavior. If they are howling for attention, avoid reacting to it. If you need more help, you may want to reach out to a dog trainer.

Why Do Dogs Howl?
Why Do Dogs Howl?
Why Do Dogs Howl?
  • Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels

    How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.


    1. The Ingredient Panel

    This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.

    Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.


    2. The Guaranteed Analysis

    Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the 'guaranteed analysis.' These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.


    3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address

    This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.

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