Why do dogs howl?


dog howl

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

Dogs howl for all sorts of reasons – it’s one of the many ways they communicate. Some dogs howl all the time because that’s just how they roll (I’m looking at you, huskies), and some only howl on special occasions. Let’s take a quick look at some of the reasons for howling:

Injury – if your dog starts howling or yelping out of the blue, or more than usual, it could be an injury or illness. Check him over carefully and take him to a vet asap if it continues.

In response to other sounds – quite a few dogs will howl in response to sirens, high pitched noises, vacuum cleaners, or other dogs howling. This howling usually stops when the other noise does.

Attention – some dogs are naturally more vocal than others, and for them howling is just part of their everyday vocabulary. Other dogs will howl specifically to get your attention, which may be cute the first few times but not so much when you’re on the phone or trying to take care of the kids. Attention-seeking howling can get out of hand, so you’ll want to work on behavior modification before it becomes a real problem. Note: dogs that are left outside or kept away from the family are much more prone to howling, simply because they’re lonely.  Bring ‘em inside and let them hang out with the humans!

Separation anxiety – if your dog only howls when you leave him alone, and presents with other behaviors such as pacing, destruction, elimination, or depression, he probably has separation anxiety. Contact a trainer or a veterinary behaviorist if the anxiety is severe – this behavior can be difficult to modify without professional help.


A-wooooooooo! Learn about barking, howling, yodeling, and other forms of canine communication when you register for Behavior Fundamentals Online!  It’s a detailed, science-based look at dog behavior, how dogs learn, and an all-encompassing survey of the world of dogs!


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