Why Does my Dog Howl?

In October 7, 2021

As HOWLoween approaches quickly, I thought a blog on ‘why dogs howl’ would be appropriate!

Howling is one of many forms of vocal communication used by dogs. Dogs howl to attract attention, to make contact with others, and to announce their presence. Some dogs even howl in response to high-pitched sounds, such as emergency vehicle sirens or musical instruments (I’ve even had a dog howl when I sang—not sure how to take that!). For instance, you may want to notice if an emergency vehicle is in your neighborhood again, if your dog responds. They may also respond to another dog howling nearby—we all are familiar with the ‘’grand chorus that can erupt amongst a group of dogs in an area. I’m also so flabbergasted how they all stop at ONCE. Just like that. As if a choir director said “cut!”

At our home here at Endless Mt. Labradors, our dogs quite often hear the distant howl of wild dogs and occasionally will respond. This can raise the hair on your neck! But luckily, we’ve never had a wild dog stray too close. I imagine they know when one of our girls are in heat!

When a dog howls does it mean death?

Despite superstitions that say a dog howling means death is near, howling is actually just a form of communication used by dogs. They may howl to let others know they have arrived, to make contact with other dogs, and to attract attention.

Do dogs howl when they are sad?

Dogs howl to attract attention or express anxiety.

“A howling dog may simply want attention. … If your dog knows that you leave for extended periods of time, he may howl as an expression of separation anxiety. Dogs that don’t have toys or sufficient things to entertain them in your absence get sad, lonely and depressed.” (Dogster)

What does a dog howling symbolize?

“Howling is your dog’s way of communicating with you and the world. They howl to get attention, make contact with other dogs, and announce their presence. … Some dogs respond to high-pitched sounds like emergency sirens or musical instruments by howling. Excessive howling can be a sign that your dog is in trouble.” (Dog MD)

Are dogs happy when they howl?

So when your dog is howling, and you respond, and your dog sees that they’ve gotten your attention and that their howling has been effective. Many pet parents also find their dog’s howling to be funny or entertaining, so a dog may see it as a way to get positive attention from people. But, be sure not to let them manipulate you with it—just like barking and other nuisance behavior. Never reward this behavior if it is persistent. Treat or praise when your dog is quiet.

But if unsure, just add a bit more play time, entertaining toys, walks, and play dates with other dogs. And also, don’t discount the howling. It may be a clue that your dog needs something whether that be attention, mental stimulation or possibly comfort. But all within balance.

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