January 22, 2013

Howling is nothing more complicated than a dog's way of communicating just like with whining, barking and growling. However howling is a form of communication that is the least used in domesticated dogs. Seldom do you hear a family dog howl and some dogs never howl at all.

The howling of a dog is a carried over trait from their direct ancestors, the wolves. Studies conducted on wolves have noted that a wolf will howl when it wakes up. This howl will be answered by other wolves in the pack. It appears that this is their way of saying “good morning” or a vocal communication of staying in touch. Also a wolf that was separated from the pack will also howl. Other pack members then answer the howl as an acknowledgment that the message was received.

Interestingly, it was noted that wolves that are not members of that pack will howl also. The lost wolf will recognize that these wolves are not from his pack and will stay clear of that area. Wolves are very territorial and will howl to discourage other wolves from encroaching on their territory.

Although dogs seldom howl, there are times when they do. Some dogs will howl at a fire truck,police or ambulance siren passing by or even when heard on TV. They instinctively interpret the siren as another howl and will reply by howling too.

Separation anxiety is another reason a dog may howl. This usually occurs in dogs that have formed a very close bond with their owner. Sometimes a dog whose owner has died will mourn through howling. Howling can also be a sign that the dog is bored. Dogs that are kenneled or chained up outside the home for a considerable time can show their boredom through incessant barking and howling. This is only because the dog is lonely and longs for companionship as dogs are very social creatures.

Last but not least, howling can be a sign of happiness. A dog in a state of high excitement will howl too. Dogs will even howl when someone is singing as a way to join in on the fun with their family.

Here is a dog howling along with a pack of wolves.

Responses to "Why do Dogs howl? (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    My dogs do not bark but frequently howl. Nor surprising, as two are half wolf an the third half coyote. In days when we lived in a log cabin in area inhabited by coyotes, they would join in with the coyote howls. Later we lived in a less pleasant environment, within hearing range of traffic with occasional sirens - the sirens would always get them howling. Now we live in area with no coyotes and no sirens but they sometimes howl for reasons of their own (including the middle of the night), on cue when I howl, or when they hear recorded wolf songs. I had to put them out of the room to be able to listen properly to the recording of this video - they are much louder than my speakers. ROTFL

  2. Anonymous says:

    My wolf dog comes in the house and "talks" to me to get me to howl with him, mostly in the evening. My shepherd./mastiff mix will join in but my lab mix will just lay there, his eyes darting from one to the other. They don't howl at sirens but will join in when the hound next door starts to howl.

  3. I have this turned way down, but my dog is going crazy...lol

  4. Morgana says:

    One of my dogs, used to howl when he listened to the church bell ringing, and the sirens of the first aid, gone long ago my baby.

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