No matter where you live, in the beautiful countryside or in the hustling city, you must have heard the unmistakable sound of howling made by dogs. Or you are the one whose dog makes such sound every now and then and also disturbs your potential sweet dreams.
Are you curious to know why dogs howl? What is the reason of dog howling at night? We’ll try to answer the most common questions, so you can know exactly why your furry friend is breaking your calm sleep.
1. To convey a message or for vocal communication:
Dogs are successor of the wolves and howling in the wild is the way of communication for wolves with other members in the pack, regarding their presence or current position. Dogs have inherited this behavior from their ancestors and it means that either they want to communicate something to you, or to other dogs they hear at far distance.
There could be various ideas for communication when a dog howls, like:
- Warning signals to other dogs.
- Help signals when they’re scared or need help
- When they are anxious
- Mating signals by females when they are in heat.
2. Separation Anxiety:
Dogs have strong sense of separation anxiety from their pack or family, and it is a very possible reason why dogs howl every time you leave the house. Typically, when your dog feels nervous or yelp helplessly after you leave him alone, he may suffer from separation anxiety. The symptoms of separation anxiety among dogs include: indifference, edginess, uneasiness or involuntary defecation. Howling can become a self-soothing and permanent behavior for dogs which could be annoying for you or your neighbors.Your dog may also relate ‘logically’ that their howling has brought you back home, once they develop this conclusion it would be difficult to condition your dog out of it.
3. Excitement or Success:
Some dogs especially the hunting breed, are trained to howl when they make discoveries during the hunt to alert their owners to the location of the reward.
4. Injury or Sickness:
Dogs may also howl to vocalize their pain or any physical injury. Generally, dogs don’t show the sign of pain when it is mild or moderate, if you notice that your dog is howling or making noise, it could possibly mean that he’s experiencing a very high level of pain, get them to your nearest vet for check up.
5. Marking their territorial presence:
One of the reasons why dogs howl is attributed to the dog’s territorial instincts. By howling they may disclose to other dogs that they are not welcome in his territory.
What you can do if your dog does the excessive howling?
Some dogs may relate howling with the attention from people to get food or desired objects. If you observe this kind of behavior from your dog, you can do the following things firstly, ignore him to teach that howling doesn’t work to get things, secondly, treat him once he gets quiet showing that being quiet earns him your attention as well as the treats.
1. Providing Ample Exercise and Attention:
You can consider spending more time with your dog if he howls very frequently, this would help in creating a strong bond between you and your dog which would reduce separation anxiety. Also, ample exercise and fun activity would leave him with less energy to howl during night.
2. Desensitizing the howling behavior and rewarding at right time:
Rewarding your dog with treat or objects he seeks when he howls would reinforce the negative association. It is advisable to ignore howling or distract him with some other activity, and one he calms down give him the treat. You can also randomly give your dog a treat when he is not making noises, just to reward the gentle behavior.
3. Sterilization of Female Dogs:
You may also consider sterilizing you female dog if she howls every time she’s in heat. Sterilization would help in eliminating the need for her to howl, you’ll also be soothing her as she won’t have the need to mate.
4. Finding Help:
You can take the help of professional dog trainer to educate you more about the dog behavior and how to handle it.
Dog breeds which have tendency to howl:
Some of the dog breeds which were originally trained for hunting or guarding have tendency to howl more, below is the list of dog breeds prone to this behavior:
- Afghan hound
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Great Dane
- Maltese Shih Tzu
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Siberian Husky
Does your dog howl as well? Tell us about it in the comments!
We’re always happy to find the solutions for your pet parenting needs. Reach out to us anytime and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. We also welcome you to share your own dog tips and behavior solutions with all the pet parents.
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