Wondering “why do dogs howl”? Turns out, there’s more than one answer to that question.
Last week at work, one of my co-workers were complaining about a neighborhood dog who had spent much of the previous day outside howling and barking. Her windows were closed, but she could still hear him and was concerned for his safety. She asked me, “Why do dogs howl,” and I didn’t have a definite answer for her. The truth is, dogs howl for many reasons. It may be difficult to figure out why one dog is howling, especially if that dog isn’t your own. It’s safe to say if a dog is howling, it is because he is trying to attract attention to himself, communicate with other dogs, or it is in response to other stimuli in his environment.
Why do dogs howl? It may be separation anxiety
If a dog is suffering from anxiety after being left alone, he may vocalize his emotions by howling. I’m not much of a loud howler, but when I catch my parents leaving the BuzzFarmers office without me, I’ll whine with the hopes that they will hear me and return. I’ve met other dogs who howl like they are yelling. Usually, separation anxiety is accompanied by another type of behavior though it can be seriously disturbing to any neighbors in your area. Talk to a trainer or your veterinarian if your dog howls due to separation anxiety. There may be something you can do to ease your dog’s anxiety level when you leave for the day.
Why do dogs howl? He may be communicating with a friend
I know you may not want to hear this, but dogs enjoy communicating as much as humans do. Like humans, some dogs prefer to communicate more often while others need less interaction from their peers. A dog who howls and gets a response is much more likely to continue howling. Now, many of you have asked me to decode dog language for you, but I just cannot do that. What dogs say in our own language is private. If you find that your dog is partaking in loud conversations with other neighboring dogs, it may mean that they need more social interaction. You might want to look into longer walks or to visit a dog park so that your dog can play with other dogs. Because many neighbors won’t want to hear a howling conversation, try to discourage your dog by diverting his attention if the other dog sparks up a conversation.
Why do dogs howl? He might be responding to sound stimuli
Does your dog howl when an emergency vehicle quickly drives by? He may have gotten conditioned to this behavior and will probably howl every time he hears an ambulance, police car, or fire truck. Maybe your dog can hear sounds that you cannot, such as musical instruments being used nearby. This might make him howl as well. Try to desensitize your dog with training options such as changing his attention to something new or with commands such as “quiet”, “sit”, and “stay.” Remember, if you are planning on using training as a way to change your dog’s behavior, treats are always a great motivator!
Why do dogs howl? Something may be wrong!
I know that no one likes to hear this, but if a dog is howling, there might be something wrong with him. He may be howling in pain if he recently suffered an injury, even if it is something you cannot see, such as an illness. If your dog begins howling out of the blue, I recommend contacting your veterinarian right away. If you notice a dog in your area begins howling you may want to contact your human neighbor, in case they are not aware of the behavior. Something could be wrong with their dog. If the howling continues, contact a local animal safety program in your area so they can investigate to be sure there are no signs of abuse.
Do your dogs howl? What reasons do you think they are howling for? Let us know in the comments section below!
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