Whether you love a dog that howls or you don’t, most all dogs can howl, however, there are some breeds that are natural howlers and they typically howl for a reason. Some of the most common breeds of dogs that are known to be howlers include, Huskies, Beagles, Bloodhounds and many others. Many people believe that howling is just a genetic disposition in a dog, but there are dogs that have specific reasons that they howl more than other breeds. If you have heard a dog’s howl, you may think it sounds a bit eerie, or possibly even annoying, especially at night when you’re trying to get some sleep, but here are the top five reasons why dogs howl, and it may help you to understand better, why they do.
1. Built-in beacon
Hunting dogs are some of the most notorious howlers. They get out on hunting excursions and can get separated from their pack. In the wild, wolves and other wild dogs would howl as a way of helping to lead their members of their pack back to them, a guiding tactic, essentially. This same scenario is the same for domestic dogs. When hunting dogs get separated from the rest of their pack, they will howl to let each other know where they are. The ones who are lost, will howl to send out a location signal to where they are, and the ones waiting for them will respond to let them follow the sound and make their way back. This instinct can apply to pet canines as well. Even those who do not hunt can howl when you’ve been gone for a while, and they are trying to let you know they are wanting you home – howling in a sense of helping you to find your way back to where they are.
2. A defense mechanism
Howling is often used as a defense mechanism. Most dogs are territorial and when they feel as if their property or their domain is about to be invaded, they will howl as a way to let others know that this is their space – it is occupied and they need to stay away. They use this tactic to protect their pack, whether it be other dogs or their humans.
3. Seeking attention
Howling is also used as a way to express a dog’s anxiety or the fact that they are craving attention. Dogs need the attention of their humans, as well as their pack. If they start to feel lonely and neglected, they can howl to let you know they do not want to be ignored anymore. The attention seeking howl is often viewed as being a manipulative way to get their human to come running to see what they are doing and what they need, and therefore they are getting attention.
4. Set off by environmental stimuli
We have all heard the sounds of sirens in the background, a firetruck racing to a fire, and ambulance, a motorcycle racing down the road, or maybe a train runs close by your home. Dogs are triggered by environmental stimulus and sounds around them, can easily set off their howler. Some sounds that go off will actually sound similar to a howl, and they are responding to the sound they hear. While many dogs will howl at the sounds of sirens and other noises they hear, they will not howl at the sound of another dog barking or howling, and there has not been a definite answer as to why that is.
5. Howl to alert you
Many dogs howl for the simple reason of alerting you to something that they want you to see or be aware of. It can be something insignificant, or it may be an issue that really would need your attention. Some dogs are in tune to dangerous situations and they want to alert their owner to be aware. Some dogs will howl if they are hurt, injured or not feeling well. They don’t know how else to communicate their problem, so they howl to let you know something is bothering them.
If you are in tune with your dog, you may want to pay close attention to their howling and not just sum them all up into one big howling session, where all the incidents are carried on for the same reason – to annoy you. If your dog starts howling, check out the circumstances. Make sure he is safe and not injured or doesn’t seem to be feeling unwell. Make sure there are no immediate dangers surrounding you or your dog – strangers approaching, another dog invading his space, or something similar. If yo have not paid much attention to your dog lately, give him plenty of attention to see if this helps to calm him. The more time you spend learning the different reasons for a dogs’ howling, the better you will be at determining why your dog is howling, when he does.