There’s no way to miss when a dog is howling somewhere near you. Sometimes it might be goofy and a bit of good fun, but other times it can be downright annoying when it goes on for a long while. Why do dogs howl is a question so many people ask when their dog starts howling, whether it’s their dog’s first time howling or if their dog only communicates in howling. When it comes to your dog howling, you need to remember to be patient with your dog and use positive reinforcement to encourage the behavior you do, or don’t, want to see.
A Response to Certain Noises
Howling is a great way for dogs to communicate with you about something going on in a way you definitely can’t miss. Dog ears are a lot more sensitive than human ears are, and because of this, they will hear more sounds that you might miss, or be bothered by sounds you think are fine. A lot of dogs tend to react to loud, electronic sounds, such as sirens. Other times, they may howl in response to hearing discordant music. Whatever the sound your dog howls at, they’re just responding to it and letting you know it’s there.
Whatever is causing your dog to howl when you don’t want them to, you may want to try desensitization reinforced by positive rewards. Play sounds similar to those your dog howls at and when they howl, don’t pay attention to them or reward their behavior. If they don’t howl at the sounds, make sure to reward that behavior to let them know they’ve done well.
You might not know if your dog is howling when you leave them at home, but your neighbors certainly will. Sometimes, when dogs have separation anxiety, they may express how they feel through howling. If your dog is howling from separation anxiety, you may want to look into seeing what you can do for your dog to make them as comfortable and secure as possible while you’re away. You can look into appointments with behavioral specialists to retrain your dog’s behavior or visit with your local vet.
They Want Your Attention
There are going to be times when your dog howls simply because they want your attention. They may want you to take them outside for a bathroom break so they can relieve themselves or because they want to show you something they can’t reach and want you to get. They may howl because they’re excited to play with you and want to express their enjoyment of being with you.
Most pet owners end up reinforcing their dog’s need to how by responding to them or validating their howling with positive actions when your dog is doing something goofy while they howl that you just can’t help laughing and smiling at.
If you don’t want your dog to howl, it’s never too late to change their behavior by reinforcing different things. Though it may be difficult, you shouldn’t respond to their howling. Once your dog has calmed down and stopped howling, you can reward them with attention to enforce their behavior with positive affection, letting them know that you want them to be calm and quiet and that they will be rewarded for that behavior.
Are Certain Breeds More Likely to Howl?
There are a few dog breeds more likely to howl, having been bred to be working dogs whose job benefits from their ability to howl loudly to let people know what they’re doing. You’ve most likely seen videos of these working dog breeds all over the internet howling up a storm, with Huskies and Beagles being the most common. Outside of working dogs, most dogs don’t tend to howl very often.
Over time, we’ve been able to puzzle out the source of just why do dogs howl and learn to address their needs and retrain their behavior when necessary to prevent excessive and unwarranted howling. If your dog is howling, be sure to pay attention to what’s going on around you and your dog, as they may be trying to tell you something important or your dog may just want you to give them some good old-fashioned love and affection.