Dog Howling: What Does It Mean in Portsmouth NH?
Many dogs howl, and some breeds howl much more often than others. You might wonder why does your dog howl? What triggers the howling? Why do some dogs seem to howl for no apparent reason? Some people think howling dogs are adorable, but some owners of dogs that howl frequently can be very annoyed with this behavior. In this article, we will explain which breeds howl the most and all the reasons that cause a dog to howl as well as some tips to decrease your dog’s howling.
All About Dog Howling
Which dog breeds howl more than others?
- American English Coonhound
- Alaskan Malamute
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Siberian Husky
- American Eskimo
- Basset Hound
- Bluetick Coonhound
Howling as a form of communication:
This behavior dates back to their ancestor, the wolf, who definitely howls more than your pet dog to communicate. So, what exactly is a dog trying to say when it howls? Sometimes dogs use howling as a way to call over someone. This can be their owner, another dog, another animal, or even a stranger. Dogs will also howl to tell intruders to stay out of their territory. Some dogs howl this way when a strange animal or human seems threatening to them and is coming too close to their area. In this case, they’re saying stay back or stay away from me and mine. Another communication dogs are trying to get across through howling is to alert others that they are coming over. Dogs commonly use howling to warn others of their approach to avoid startling anyone with their sudden presence. This prevents dogs from being surprised by another dog running up on them and aggravating them into aggression, so dogs howl for this reason to avoid adverse reactions. Dogs will also howl to tell you they are nervous about something or uncomfortable with a situation. This is why many dogs will howl when at a vet clinic. Sometimes a dog will howl when it finds something it’s excited about to tell whoever is around it found something interesting.
Howling for attention:
Dogs will also howl just for attention. Whether they like their dog howling or not, most owners will pay more attention to a howling dog than a quiet dog. Unknowingly they are encouraging their dog to howl longer and more often by reacting like this. Attention is usually seen as a reward to a dog, even negative attention. Have you ever yelled at a dog howling, and it just howls louder and more? They probably think you’re happy with what they’re doing, which causes them to howl even more.
Howling when you aren’t home:
The leading cause for a dog howling when its owner isn’t home is separation anxiety. Many dogs suffer from this condition. Usually, if a dog has separation anxiety, the howling won’t be the only sign. Most dogs with separation anxiety develop an array of bad habits of dealing with their negative feelings regarding being left alone, which will show you the howling is related to their stress. Other bad habits of separation anxiety usually include behaviors your dog normally doesn’t do when you are around, such as destruction of things around the house and urinating or defecating in the house even if they aren’t alone for very long.
Howling due to pain or medical issues:
When a dog is in pain or having medical problems, it may howl to alert you to the issues. If you dog starts howling for no apparent reason during or after activity, inspect your pet for sources of pain such as cuts on the paws, torn toenails, or bites from insects or another animal. It’s always a good idea to supervise your dog when they’re outside if you can. This way, you can react to a problem right when it happens. If your dog isn’t usually a howler and suddenly develops the habit of howling frequently, it is very possible they’re experiencing a medical problem. In this instance, it’s best to take them to a vet to make sure nothing serious is going on.
Howling because of sound triggers:
Some dogs howl because of certain sounds, such as sirens. Unless coupled with other howling behavior, this usually isn’t as much of a concern. The dog should usually only howl for a short time when they hear a high-pitched sound like a siren and then stop when the sound has gone away.
Tips for changing unwanted howling behavior:
Unless your dog is howling because of a medical condition, you can train this behavior to occur less often. One of the best ways to address dogs that howl for attention is to stop rewarding them for their misbehavior. You may think your negative attention isn’t a reward, but to your dog, it is. When your dog howls for attention, what you need to do is ignore them completely. Act like they aren’t even there. Your dog is howling because they want something from you; whatever it is, don’t give it to them. Instead, reward them for being quiet. When they finally stop howling, provide them with the attention they want or a treat or a toy, and over time, this will teach them that they will get a reward only for being quiet.
Dogs that howl can range from cute to annoying. The act of howling is something dogs have been used to for a very long time. It can communicate many things both to other dogs and animals as well as humans. Howling can also show underlying issues such as anxiety or pain. If you want your dog to howl less often, it just takes a bit of training from you to get the result you want.
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