Why Do Dogs Howl?
Why Do Dogs Howl?

Why Do Dogs Howl? Reasons and Tips for Pet Parents

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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 behaviour 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 behaviour. Always keep your pet’s favourite 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.


If you're looking for the perfect dog for you, try our Dog Breed Selector today and enjoy a lifetime of tail-wagging joy.

FAQs on Dog Howling

  1. What does a howling dog mean?
  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 neighbours, 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 behaviour. 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?
  • How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies

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    Bringing a furry friend home is one of the greatest things you will do. If you are someone who has been longing for a furry companion, you should wait no more... however, only if you are confident that you can take complete care of this four-legged angel. Puppies need love and care, so as their caregivers, you need to help them grow into happy and healthy dogs.

    Stay by your pet’s side throughout its growing stage. This is that time of its life where you need to do more than just provide food, love, and fun times; you must understand dog nutrition, follow the vaccination schedule, and potty train your puppy. Sparing some time and energy to provide your pet with basic puppy care can help you build a loving relationship with your pooch. So, let us explore a few things you can look into while nurturing a puppy. This basic puppy care guide will also keep you informed with what to expect in the first few months of being a caregiver.

    • Bringing your puppy home

    Wondering what to know about taking care of a new puppy? Let us start with the most basic things like puppy proofing your house. That is right. Puppies and babies fall in the same category: delicate and fragile! You need to be careful about their surroundings and make sure that there is nothing hazardous around. Puppies are naturally curious. Make sure they do not encounter things like chemicals, electrical cords, harmful houseplants, valuables, and especially breakables. You also need to get necessary pup supplies like a feeding bowl, collar, leash, and more. Set up a cosy corner for your puppy to rest in!

    • Feeding your pooch

    Choosing the right puppy food is of paramount importance. You must pick out puppy food that is specifically formulated for growing puppies as it needs the right kind of nutrients to grow stronger. So, avoid adult dog food if your pet is still a pup.

    Not sure when to make a switch to adult dog food? Well, it totally depends on the breed size. If you have a small or medium breed dog, you can switch to dog food once it turns 9 to 12 months old. If you have a large breed dog, continue feeding puppy food until it turns 12 to 24 months old. Apart from that, make sure your pup always has access to fresh and clean water!

    This is what a typical puppy feeding schedule would look like: 

    • 6-12 weeks old: Four meals per day 
    • 3-6 months old: Three meals per day 
    • 6-12 months old: Two meals per day 

    At IAMS™, we offer a range of puppy as well as adult dog food that nourishes your furry friend with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other essential nutrients. Our products are made with premium-quality ingredients to ensure that your dog enjoys every bite of its food.

    • Vet visits and vaccinations

    Taking your furry friend to the vet is the most important part of taking care of a puppy. Your dog’s first visit to the vet will help you learn about your dog’s overall physical health. Vet visits will also keep you informed about the vaccination schedule.  In fact, it is recommended to make a list of all questions that you may have. This list should include topics like: 

    • Vaccination schedule 
    • Spaying or neutering 
    • Potty training 
    • Basic obedience training 
    • Any symptoms 
    • Diet and nutrition 
    • Deworming
    • Socialisation

    Puppies should meet a variety of different people, dogs, objects, and situations – all in a positive way. The most important time for pups to socialise is between three and 12 weeks of age, however, it should continue throughout a puppy’s development. As pet parents, you can take your pooch to puppy classes as it provides a great opportunity to socialise puppies.

    • Potty training

    You can get started with potty training from the day one. This will help inculcate basic bathroom manners in your dog and will save you from cleaning the floor every time your pooch excretes. So, pick a bathroom spot outside your house and take your pup to the same place whenever it is potty time. Praise it right after it is done. You can also reward it with treats. However, under no circumstances must a puppy be yelled at since it may ignite fear.

    The best way to train is to reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour. It is never too early to begin training a puppy, but owners must remember that very young puppies become tired or distracted easily so training sessions should be kept to a short duration.

    • Oral care

    Dogs are prone to losing tooth, bad breath, and periodontal diseases. Moreover, they are good at hiding their dental pain. Hence, owners should introduce some form of oral care for their puppy as early as possible. Consult your vet to ensure that you pick the best dental care option for your pooch.

    • Exercise

    Amounts of exercise should be controlled for puppies during growth. They should not be forced to exercise beyond the amount of time they would engage in with another puppy of the same age. Moreover, your furry friend must be allowed to rest when they need to. So, instead of offering a one long playtime period, go for two short walks.