HomeBehavior & trainingWhat Does It Mean When A Dog Is Howling?

What Does It Mean When A Dog Is Howling?

by Adopt a Pet, | January 8, 2024

What Does It Mean When A Dog Is Howling?

Melanie DeFazio / Stocksy

Despite superstitions that say a dog howling means death is near, howling is actually just a form of communication used by dogs. They may howl to let others know they have arrived, to make contact with other dogs, and to attract attention. Many dogs also howl in response to noises such as other animals, sirens, or even to sounds that will go unnoticed by human ears.

Could Howling Mean My Dog Is Sick? 

It’s possible. As with any symptom, you should be aware of behavior that is unusual for your dog. For example, if a dog that never howled suddenly does or if he howls much more than normal this could be a cause for concern. If this is the case for your dog, make an appointment with the vet to rule out a medical cause.

Does the dog only howl when you’re away, and is the howling excessive? If so, you should also consider whether the pup may have separation anxiety. If you think this may be the case, an animal behaviorist can help you with a treatment plan to bring the anxiety under control.

Tips To Make Howling Stop 

Barring a medical condition or anxiety, your dog is just howling as a way to communicate. Whether he’s howling in response to other neighborhood dogs or to get attention from you, here are a few tips that may help curb the howling:

  • Attention seeking dogs will stop howling once they realize it doesn’t yield the desired result, so ignore your dog when he howls.

  • Give your dog attention or a treat at random times when he’s being quiet.

  • Teach him voice commands including "quiet" and "stop." Once he’s mastered them, you should be able to stop the howling on command. 

Some breeds don’t howl at all while some howl more than most. While you don’t want to stop his vocalization completely, there are ways to minimize it so as not to annoy your neighbors. If your best efforts don’t help, consider working with an animal behaviorist who can help you pinpoint the reason for the howling and work on training to bring it under control. 

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