Howling is an instinctive behavior in dogs, a vocalization inherited from their wolf ancestors. As normal as barking and whining, howling is another form of canine communication.
Certain dog breeds are more prone to howling than others, such as German Shepherds, Huskies, and the hound group.
After ruling out medical conditions and separation anxiety, these are the four most common reasons for howling in dogs:
- To attract attention. Attention-seeking howling can become excessive and habitual. Keep the howling in check by ignoring the behavior and rewarding the dog when he is quiet. Providing enough mental and physical stimulation can also help.
- To initiate contact. Dogs sometimes howl to announce their presence to other canines, or acknowledge the presence of other dogs, for contact.
- To sound an alert. Certain perceived dangers can trigger howling in dogs.
- In response to sounds. A dog that howls in response to auditory triggers, such as another dog howling or a vehicle siren sounding, will likely stop once the sound stops. If triggers occur frequently, desensitization and counterconditioning (DSCC) can help dogs learn to be quiet.
At the other end of the scale, getting dogs to howl is not difficult after determining what noises they respond to. Here are four ways to try:
- Howl, sing, or whistle.
- Play the harmonica, or other musical instruments.
- Play alarm or siren sounds.
- Play videos of howling dogs.
Feature Image Source: Pixabay