Why do dogs howl? | Top 5 reasons why they howl

Why do dogs howl? Have you ever given that a second thought?

Howling just like vocalization, tail wagging, growling, barking, body stances, and movements, is used by dogs to send messages to other dogs as well as humans.

Dogs could howl in order to announce their presence, attract attention, make contact with others etc. howling can also be triggered by high-pitched sounds around the environment.

Regardless of the breed, all dogs are capable of howling – some howl a little while others howl a lot more. Some are characterised by prolonged howls while others howl for short periods. Some breeds such as huskies and beagles are more prone to howling than others.

Back to the topic ‘why do dogs howl’? Well, there are a number of reasons why dogs howl and some include;

Howling as a Response to high pitched sounds and Howl Reply

Have you ever noticed that when you’ve got some siren whirling in the neighbourhood, your dog gets to howl? Well, if you haven’t, you can try to pay attention to that.

One of the many reasons dogs howl is as a response to high-pitched sounds such as sirens, alarms, music etc.

Your dog may howl in response to another dog’s howling. In cases like this, dogs are simply acknowledging the fact that they can hear the sound and are ready to play along and/or respond.

Howling As a Location Clue

As we all know, dogs belong to the wolf family but are domesticated. And in the wild, when the pack go out hunting, they use howling to communicate with and find each other.

In a similar way, when you return home after a long day, you may hear your dog howl when you pull up the driveway. This may be a way of your dog trying to leave a cue as to where it is so you can safely go to meet it.

Howling to keep away predators

Dogs also use howling to send a clear signal to canines as well as other animals that a particular territory has been commandeered, hence, they should keep off. They use it as a defence mechanism to ward off potential predators or intruders. This is the primary reason dogs howl at strangers once they come close to your home.

Howling to announce their presence

When dogs are about to step into another territory that is not theirs, they will howl in other to notify the ‘owner of the territory’ about their presence in the territory. This is in a bid not to terrify the current owner/inhabitant of the territory.

Howling for attention

Howling is one of the ways dogs get attention and is most likely to work better than any other way. Dogs recognize this and always tend to use it once they need your attention.

Anxiety Howling

Separation anxiety is sometimes the cause of repeated howling by your dog when you are away. The thing with this type of howling is that the owner may not experience it as the dog stops howling immediately after the owner is in sight. This is usually caused by the over-attachment of the dog to its owner. Some other separation anxiety-related behaviour include;

  • Digging
  • Scratching
  • Restlessness
  • Whining
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Pacing
Howling out of Pain

Dogs can howl as a result of pain especially if they’re not the type that likes howling. Dogs will always howl when they’re hurt just like we cry to show pain.

What to do when your dog is Howling

As emphasized, howling could signify various things and you can not be so sure of what your dog’s howling stands for. The best advice is to visit a veterinarian once you see any of these signs. Always call on your vet when you notice any symptom that is strange to your dog.

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