We have all heard the all familiar sound of a dog howling. The sound of a dog howl could even be pleasing to some of the people that listen to it depending on their attitude towards dogs. A popular misconception is that only wild members of the dog family such as the wild dog, the wolf, or the coyote can actually howl. This assertion is very flawed since domestic dogs have also been known for howling. The sight of a local dog howling has at times left their owners in fear. This is because most owners may mistake it for some wild and violent predisposition. So as many may wonder, what causes a dog to howl? Dogs howl for one or more of the following reasons;


To Attract Attention

A dog may haul to attract the attention of other dogs or the focus of its masters. Dogs have been known to be just as notorious as our toddlers when it comes to attention seeking. Dogs may also haul to alert their masters in the face of impending trouble.


Response to Loud Sounds

Dogs also howl when they are startled by high pitch sounds. You are likely to hear a howl or a series of howls in response to an emergency siren or loudspeaker sounds. It may sound at times as if the dog or dogs are competing with the high pitched sound, but they mostly howl because the noise has startled them.


Make Contact

Humans are not the only species in the cycle of life that make efforts to reach out to their own. Animals do it as well, with dogs perfecting the art of animal communication. A dog may howl to connect with other dogs in the vicinity. Dogs do get lonely as well, and if one feels secluded, they may let out a howl to try and contact others that may be in the vicinity.


To Reveal a Discovery

Since dogs do a lot of snooping around the compound unless they are on a leash, they may haul to alert you to discovery. This mostly occurs when dogs are trained to do so. Some breeds, however, do it out of natural instinct. A dog may howl to alert you of a dangerous discovery such as a snake in the compound or the presence of dead domestic animals such as a fellow dog or a cat.


Bring Attention to Injury

A dog may be a resilient and intelligent animal but this does not mean that it is above vulnerability. A dog may howl to bring attention to an injury it has sustained. They do this probably in the hope that the owner will notice the damage and move to relieve it. It is always a sad sight to see a dog in pain; this is why most owners go to great lengths to protect their animals. Now that you have been acquainted with a number of reasons that may cause a dog to haul, you also want to rule out a few explanations for dog howls as soon as possible. A few reasons you may want to rule out first for dogs howling include;


Separation Anxiety

Dogs especially those of a young age are quick to experience separation anxiety. Just as a baby may cry when the mom has to leave for work, some dogs howl when the owner goes. Dogs, however, are known to mostly howl when left on their own for extended hours. This howling may also be precipitated by a particular condition. One of these conditions may be depression, pacing or another state associated with distress.


Medical Reasons

In case your dog is howling out of control or more than usual, you may want to seek the opinion of a veterinary. Dogs have been known to howl as a sign of sickness or when they are hurt. It is vital for you to get a vet’s opinion as soon as possible to rule out illness or medical stress as the reason for your pet’s howling.

A dog howling may seem cute to some with online videos showing satisfied owners howling along with their dogs. Others go to the extremities of recording their dog howling and having the recording as their ringtone. To some though, a dog howling is something to be alarmed about. If you are that dog owner who is concerned about your dog’s excessive howling, here are some tips on how to handle it.


Desensitize the Dog

When your dog hauls in response to high pitched sounds such as another dog howling or an emergency siren, he or she will probably stop when the sound stops. You can control this by desensitizing your dog to sound overtime which will teach him to remain silent.


Systematic Counterconditioning

Dogs can be trained to control their feelings just as humans can. You can contain your dog’s fear of high pitch sounds by conditioning him or her against anxiety, phobia and also excessive aggression. Instead of only seeking to change their behavior, you may also want to address the root cause of the action by conditioning the dog’s feelings. You may choose to find the services of a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist to help recondition your dog.


Ignore Attention Seeking Howling

Dogs like children thrill in any kind of attention from their masters. When your dog howls for attention do everything possible to not pay him or her any attention. Desist from touching, scolding or even looking at your dog. When you deprive the dog of your attention it will surely discourage the howling.


Reward Silence

Positive reinforcement works wonders with dogs. A snack or two to reward your dog’s silence may condition him or her against continually seeking attention by howling. Remember to ignore your dog when he or she starts to howl. Deprive them of all your attention until the howling stops.


Spend More Time with Your Dog

Dogs at times howl as a sign of loneliness. This occurs mostly when they are left alone. Dogs need a healthy dose of human interaction and play time to remain healthy and happy. Enrolling them in a dog fun class may just be the cure to the excessive howling.


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