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Dog Howling: What Causes it and How Do you Stop it?

Howling is a way of communication that your dog does with you. It is a matter of seeking attention or getting into contact with other dogs, or it may be an announcement to “I am here.” On the other hand, if your dog howls excessively, it’s time for you to contact your vet. Howling is an instinct triggered by the outside environment or occurs naturally. But no matter what breed, age, or temperament it is, all dogs do the same thing (i.e.), howling. It will be annoying sometimes, but remember your dog howls to communicate with you or to tell his/her issue in its way of communication. Let us learn more about why do dogs howl at night and what are the reasons behind it.

Why Do Dogs Howl? 

Here are some of the reasons for why dogs howl. They are:

  • Seeking attention (as mentioned above)
  • It alerts owners about some dangerous situations.
  • It might be a response to other noises or sounds it listens to in the surrounding environment.
  • Communication with other dogs.

What Does It Mean When A Dog Howls?

What does it mean when a dog howls? To create a bond with their other members, defend against intruders, or make their presence known to other wolves, they use howling to communicate. While dogs and wolves are different, dogs have similar wolf characteristics, including howling. 

Note: Do not punish your dog at times of howling, as it only amplifies the ongoing process. 

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#1 Attention 

Humans usually respond to loud noises suddenly. So, when your dog watches this, it may repeat howling as a part of the attention-seeking process, and it knows it is an effective way to call you. 

Reinforcement is a technique with which you can discourage this method of attention-seeking. If your dog is howling, ignore it purposely until your canine buddy stops. Once they stop howling, rewarding them with a nice treat will work. 

#2 Anxiety in Dogs

If you are not near them or leave them alone, separation anxiety in dogs may be the reason for your pup’s howling.  Get help from a veterinarian specializing in behavioral issues and follow their instructions to stop your dog’s separation anxiety. Dog calming treats are an excellent solution for anxious dogs. These treats are specially formulated with natural ingredients to help reduce stress and anxiety in canines. Calming dog treats have been proven to be effective in helping pets stay calm and relaxed during stressful situations. With regular use, these treats can help your canine companion live a happier, healthier life.

#3 Responding to Noises 

Dogs start howling when they hear surrounding noises. For example, some of sounds that make dogs howl is siren sounds. The two most effective methods to stop your dog’s howling are desensitization and counter conditioning. Apply a lesser form of noise that triggers the dog howling sounds. Check the level of response in your dog. If they don’t respond, slowly increase the sound in a particular time gap. This is how desensitization works. Counterconditioning is rewarding your dog once it stops howling for certain sounds. 

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#4 Medical Issue

If your dog howls frequently, it may indicate any underlying medical condition. First, check for any injuries that are visible in them. If you don’t find anything, as a next step, you have to take your pet to the vet for further processing.

#5 Intruder’s Alert 

Some dogs, by howling, alert the intruders to stay out of their way/home. If the howling is for other dogs, then it means that the specific area is already claimed, and no one is allowed there. 

#6 Dog Howling in Sleep

When your pet is in the middle of an active dream, you can see you howling in sleep, and also you can notice the change in their leg or tail or breathing movements. This is because they will express their emotions through the above-mentioned actions while dreaming. 

Types Of Howling in Dogs

There are three ways in which your dog starts communicating with you. The first is by howling – it will be a long, mournful crying sound common to dogs and wolves. The second is by barking – it will be a sharp explosive cry and a short, loud sound produced by your dog. The third is by baying – to bark in a deeper, prolonged, loud sound. Whatever type it is, barking for fun or howling due to its surroundings, do not think about why they are making these sounds. Instead, find out the ways or listen to them about what they are trying to communicate with you. 

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Which Dog Breeds Howl The Most?

Hounds used to howl more than other breeds. In the form of vocalization, more breeds are likely to howl than others. Some hound dogs are the American English coonhound, American Foxhound, Basset hound, Beagle, Bluetick Coonhound, Bloodhound, Dachshund, Norwegian Elkhound, Redbone Coonhound, and Virginia hound. Some of the working dogs that howl are Alaskan Malamute, Karelian Bear Dog, and Siberian Husky. Also, some companion dogs that howl are American Eskimo Dog, Japanese Spitz, and Tibetan Spaniels. The two sporting dogs that howl in this category are Welsh Springer Spaniel and Finnish Spitz.

What To Do About Excessive Howling in Dogs?

Excessive howling is always annoying. Don’t respond to them when they howl to seek attention. In this way, they will find out that the technique of attention-seeking is not working out here. Rewarding them is another tactic for handling your dogs. Reward them with either a treat or a toy to stop their howling. This shows them that stopping howling is the right way to gather your attention.  

As mentioned above, Desensitization and Counterconditioning are the two common treatments to treat your dog’s anxiety or aggressive behavior. This is the best way to control your dog’s triggering feelings about certain specific events. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) can help in assisting you in this situation. 

How to stop dog howling? Train your dog to howl when you command them. For example, train them to stop howling by commanding the word “Quiet” or ask them to howl when you say “Speak.” Make them obey your commands by giving them rewards. 

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Dogs are your best friends. In this way, if your dog is alone for several hours, they become so sad that it might cause stress and start howling. Spend more time with them. Take them for a walk, train or trick them, and mostly play with them. Spend quality hours with them to make them happy. This is how you can strengthen your bond with them and help them get out of their stress. Thus, do this and stop the excessive howling. 

You may sometimes feel your dog is behaving negatively with strangers, other family members, or other dogs. This is the correct time to consult a CPDT (Certified Professional Dog Trainer). Ask for their support if you can’t control your dog’s howling. 


There are no fixed meanings for the howl sounds your dog produces. These sounds are based on situations they encounter in their day-to-day lives. So, we hope you got the answer for why is my dog howling? If the desired behavior has to be continued, treat them with proper rewards and encourage them. Do not punish them, but find a way to bring them out of the situation. Use certain techniques to cool them and stop continuing the howls they produce. If, at some point, you can’t control your dog’s howling, don’t hesitate to contact a CAAB for further treatments.