Many dog owners wonder why their pets howl. They would like to know the cause of this behaviour in order to remedy its potential negative effects, both on their pet’s health and on the broken relationships with their neighbours. A dog’s howling can be triggered by a number of factors. What are the most common ones?
A form of communication
Does it happen that your pet starts to howl when it hears another dog or the sound of an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or a fire truck? In such a situation, with a high degree of probability, instinct comes into play. Many studies show that dogs are descended from wolves. Howling is a form of communication among these animals. And your dog, when it hears the high-pitched sound of an ambulance or other dog howling, “remembers” that the sound may be a warning of danger. How to deal with it? If the howling only occurs in such cases, you can simply ignore it. Just don’t punish your pet or try to silence it with treats. This way, you can develop bad habits in your dog.
Many dog owners are unaware that their pet’s howling may, at least in part, be due to their own mistakes. The puppy usually whines and howls while playing. And it often happens that its owner, trying to silence the puppy, gives it a treat or otherwise distracts it. Unfortunately, this is how the bad behaviour patterns are formed in the dog. When this puppy grows up, it will howl to receive a reward. This behaviour is correctable but it requires a lot of work. The best solution is to consult a specialist who will advise you on how to proceed in a particular case.
Pain or stress
Howling can also occur when a dog is in pain. In such a situation, it is an expression of suffering. If it turns out that, for example, somebody has stepped on the dog’s tail or paw, simply massage the painful part of its body and make sure that there is no more serious injury. However, if an adult dog suddenly starts to howl and you cannot remember any event that could cause pain, you should immediately take your dog to the vet.
Howling in the owner’s absence
If you know from neighbours or other people that your dog is howling when you leave the house, it is most likely separation anxiety. It is especially common for dogs that are adopted from a shelter, are traumatized by their past, or have experienced some sudden change, such as a relocation. In such a situation, it is necessary to work through the whole situation with the canine behaviourist, because separation anxiety is a serious disorder that, if left untreated, can even lead to lead to the dog trying to self-harm.
As you can see, there may be at least several reasons for your dog howling. The most important thing is to understand the root of the problem. If basic veterinary examinations do not indicate any abnormalities, it is a good idea to consult a canine behaviourist who will help to diagnose other causes of this condition.