Why Do Dogs Howl? Dog Howling and Whining Explained!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

dogs howling by windowWhy do dogs howl? Our fur babies are sometimes the epitome of cute when they howl, especially as puppies seemingly testing out their pack-doggedness.

That cuteness can, unfortunately, morph into a soul-destroying sound when the neighbors starting complaining or you are kept awake during the wee hours for nights on end.

As for whining and whimpering, well – that can indeed prove to be a whole other concern.

Howl Definition 

The dictionary defines this as an adjective meaning: producing a long, doleful cry or wailing sound, and gives “howling wolves” as the example of usage.

Do Dogs Cry? Can Dogs Cry? 

While it is blatantly apparent that pooches can be sad, they do not actually cry tears the way people do. A dog expresses sadness, pain, and loss verbally by howling, whining and whimpering.

To answer the question: No, dogs cannot cry tears BUT they communicate their sadness or pain through verbalizations in the hopes of a satisfactory reaction from us.

Why Do Dogs Howl? 

We all like to believe that dogs howl because of the wolf in them, and this is maybe true to some extent. Ancestry is partly to blame, and wolves or coyotes communicate across vast distances through howling.

Dogs howl for similar reasons, but also out of boredom, anxiety, in times of separation and when they are in pain. According to Filipino culture, a dog howling signifies that death is coming to someone. Believe it or not.

A History of Howling: Why do Wolves Howl? 

No. wolves do not howl at the moon. Because wolves tip their head back as they do, we assume they are howling at the moon.

So is it the same answer as to why dogs howl?

Well in fact, they tend to howl as darkness is falling or as dawn is breaking, and while the impression may be mystical, it’s really not. The sound of a howl carries much farther than a bark or a growl and so wolves howl to communicate with their pack, often to guide lost members back.

Wolves are also extremely territorial and howl to warn rival packs of their possible breach of territory.

Do Wolves Bark? 

No. Barking in the wild would expose the pack to danger. Mature wolves in the wild don’t bark like domesticated dogs do, however cubs and juveniles can and do bark.

photographer learning why do wolves howl

Why Do Dogs Howl at Sirens: A Simple Explanation! 

Quite simply, your pet dog may mistake the siren for a doggy howl. Their responding howl may warn “Get off my turf!” or call out to say “Here I am. Where are you?”.

The sound is not causing them any anxiety if they do not run and hide or tuck their tails at the onset of the sound.

Interpreting Dog Howling: 3 Potential Reasons You Dog is Being Loud

You know by your fur baby’s body language and type of bark, whimper or whine, the behavior or message they are trying to convey. Right?

Why do dogs howl? Easy.

Okay, somewhat easy.

1. They’re Having Chats with Other Dogs Howling in the Area.

Your pet pooch is genetically wired to communicate far distances through howling. If a neighborhood dog is howling, it’s only polite for your dog to reply.

2. They’re Howling Due to Separation Anxiety

Separation is, unfortunately, a reason behind howling – remember that dogs are wired to call to lost pack members.

That phone call at work from your irate neighbor complaining about your fur baby’s continuous howling throughout the workday may seem unbelievable to you.

The truth is, if they howl when you are not there, it is because they suffer from separation anxiety. Animal behaviorists suggest that non-verbal cues such as pacing and destroying things will confirm this.

3. Howling Dogs Might Be Telling You They’re Sick or Hurt! 

As pack leaders, we can interpret the meaning behind our pooch’s varied verbal cues. You can distinguish between a bored howl and an “ouch” howl (just like with babies). Body language will also be a clue. A dog who is hunched up or howling while lying down should visit the vet for a check.

How to Treat a Nervous, Frantic, or Scared Dog

Anyone who has experienced a neurotic or scared pet, can attest to it being quite traumatic. Any port in a storm can be your response to curing the situation, but now you have pet friendly alternatives to treat your nervous pup. If you conclude the reason why do dogs howl could be specifically related to frightening situation, there IS an easy fix.

Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs

The Honest Paws all-natural oil, derived from hemp, will calm your anxious pooch without the risk of harmful pharmaceutical side effects.

Honest Paws CBD Dog Treats 

Sometimes all a dog needs is a treat, but one that can help their stressed-out furry minds. The Honest Paws CBD dog treats are a healthy, organic alternative for calming your fur baby in any situation.

Just a Small Pupper in a Big Doggo World! Puppies Howling Make for Broken Hearts! 

Howling can be the most forlorn and mournful sound ever. Bear in mind that this is just a baby who has been taken away from the comfort of its mother and the company of the litter.

Puppy Howling is Often a Phase 

It is quite normal for puppies to howl at night. It could be because of fear or boredom or because they are lonely and want your company. By resisting rewarding this behavior with attention, your puppy will eventually stop howling as it gets used to you and its new surroundings.

What Sound Does a Dog Make When They’re Simply Spoiled? 

You will get to know the reasons behind your pooch’s verbalizations, and you will recognize when they are just exhibiting spoilt behavior. Always rule out possible good reasons for your doggy’s sounds before blaming misbehavior.

Drama Dogs: Your Dog May Simply Be Whining and Complaining! 

Dogs have unique personalities and character traits. Yours might be a doggy diva. If the whining and complaining is not acceptable to you, there are ways to recondition your pooch’s behavior, so you don’t HAVE to put up with it if you don’t want to.

white dog whining in grass

All Howl, No Bite: Some Dogs are Simply Loud and Proud! 

Why do dogs howl?

Your dog has a personality. Often a dog will mimic its owner’s character, so if you are an extrovert attracted by noise and activity, chances are your pooch will be too. As long as your loud but proud dog fits with you and your lifestyle, there’s really no harm in their being all bark and no bite.

How to Correct Unwanted, Overly Vocal Dog Behavior in 4 Steps

  1. Set up a daily routine of training, play, and exercise during which you give your dog undivided attention.
  2. Ignore your dog when they demand attention noisily, and only pay attention when they are behaving well and quietly. Don’t reward noise with attention!
  3. Recondition the unfounded behavior. Distract them with a ball or better still, ignore the unacceptable behavior.
  4. Do not answer your whining dog. This will encourage a chat rather than encouraging them to be quiet.

Your doggy’s noisiness need not be problematic. Getting to grips with your puppy’s uniqueness at the get-go will make you both happier in the long run.

Common Questions on Why Do Dogs Howl, Whimper, and Whine

Does my terrier experience some form of physical pain that causes him to howl whenever he hears a rescue vehicle siren?

How can I safely calm my nervous dog for a road trip?

Should I sit with my puppy when it howls at night?

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