Why Does My Dog Howl?!
Dogs communicate with us and other animals in many different ways – barking, licking, body language, and howling. Some breeds also howl more than others – Beagles, hound breeds like Bassets and Tennessee Walkers, arctic breeds like Huskies and Malamutes, Dachshunds, and many more.
Howling may happen because of high pitched noises like a siren or musical instrument they hear. Sometimes they howl because another dog is howling or barking. Usually, howling because of noises like this will stop once the noise stops.
However, howling can also happen because your dog is hurt or in pain. If this is the case, please bring your dog to the vet right away!
Another reason for howling is separation anxiety. Your neighbor may tell you your dog howls when you’re gone. If this is the case, you may need to talk to your vet or a behaviorist about ways to help your dog cope with you being gone.
Some dogs will howl simply because they want attention. They’ve learned that when they howl, we pay attention to them whether by asking them to stop or pausing to pet their head or rub their belly. If this is the case, stop giving positive reinforcement (what he wants) and ignore his howling completely. When he is quiet, reward him with attention or a treat. This will help him/her learn that howling is not helping them achieve anything.
Some owners like to teach their dog to howl on command. Teach this by rewarding them when they howl while saying a command like “speak” or “howl.” Repeat this exercise a few times daily, until it becomes routine for them. You may also want to teach them a command for quiet at the same time. Reward them for silence when you’ve said a command like “quiet” or “hush.”
Written by: Christina Munn, DVM