Wherever you live, you’ve certainly had the experience of going out into the porch late at night and hearing the unmistakable sound of dogs howling in the distance. So, why are dogs howling?
Researchers believe howling dog are bound to a dog’s genetics. The ancient dog breed it is recognized for how closely their DNA matches that of the wolves they are born with. When answering the question, “Why are dogs howling”, we must also consider the following questions – Is a dog howling is a serious manifestation of a common wild ancestors? Remnants of the wolf era and packing activity? Communication seems to be at the heart of everything, so let’s find a way to answer the question, “Why dogs howl” – and find out what they might be saying.
1. The howling of a dog is a signal of community organization and signaling
In the wild, wolves and dogs howl to bring scouts back to the pack after a hunt. The dogs stay behind howling to provide the location of their base. Howling dogs act as a voice signal or a kind of auditory beacon to guide other members of the flock to turn around.
Your dog’s howl can be a similar symptom, especially if you’ve been out of the house all day. The dogs howled to beckon their loved ones to return home.
2. Howling dogs are a mechanism of demarcation and defense
The howls signal to other dogs that the area they are entering has been compromised and occupied. It is a warning to outsiders that trespassing risks violence. Howling dogs announce their presence and warn their community of changing circumstances. In this context, dog howls function as a defense mechanism, chasing away potential predators and ensuring the safety of dogs in the herd.
In the indoor setting, some dogs bark, others howl when a stranger approaches the door or a new car is on the driveway.
3. The dog howls to attract attention or show anxiety
A howling dog may simply want attention. Some dog owners know that dogs can be emotionally manipulated like any human. The howling of a dog attracted the owner’s attention. Maybe you run across the house to see what’s up, only to find yourself being greeted by a dog that wants to play with. Follow this routine enough times and your dog will learn that howling is an effective way to get you running.
There are of course two sides of this coin. If your dog knows that you left for a long time, it may howl as an expression of worry. Dogs with no toys or enough entertainment to be absent will feel sad, lonely and depressed. So the sad answer for, “Why dogs howl?” Maybe your dog is howling to protest being left alone. Imagine if someone would put you in a bucket all day or leave you in another dimension for an extended period of time. You will also howl!
4. The dog howls in response to stimulation and bonding exercises
Dog howls can be a reaction to environmental aggressors. Common provocations include the siren of an ambulance, police or fire engine. The sounds of these noises were the only times my dog ever howled. The distant sound of approaching whistles always urged her to sit up and immerse herself in the cry. The reason remains unclear, as she never howls when she hears other dogs howling. Perhaps the sirens woke up some other inactive genetic memories.
Much of our research confirms that dog howling occurs when certain sounds are perceived. Reminders and triggers can be anything: stereo music at a party, popular TV theme songs, or the sound of musical instruments. People who like dog howling even encourage their dogs by howling! It seems one reason dogs howl is community experience or bonding. Why do dogs siren siren? Why do dogs howl when you howl? Perhaps it is participation and part of the action.
5. Howling dogs to warn you of injury or detection
Another answer was, “Why dogs howl?” maybe the dog howls to show injury. People cry when they are injured; howling dogs in similar situations. Dogs howl to cry out pain. Some dogs are also trained to howl when they are found out. Terrier howl to signal chase or capture prey. If a dog has walked, entered a dead end or caught something, it may howl to let its owner know the location of the prize.
Does your dog like to howl or “sing”?
Some dog breeds certainly tend to howl more than others. The varieties known for howling include Alaskan Malamutes, American Eskimo Dog, Beagles, Coonhounds (Black and dark, Bluetick, Redtick, English, Red bones and People walking on trees), Dachshunds, Foxhounds (American and English), Hound (Hound blood, Basset), Huskies (Alaska and Siberia), Nature American Indian dog and Tamaskan dog, among others.
Some final thoughts on the question, “Why do dogs howl?”
One thing to keep in mind is that dog howling, like any other form of speech expression, has no fixed meaning. The answer to, “Why dogs howl?” is a shifting symbol whose interpretation depends on the situation. I like to go to karaoke; It’s hard to imagine that a dog might not howl with need, but out of joy?
Tell us: Is your dog a howl? When and how does your dog feel like singing? Why do you think your dog howled? Share your experiences with howling dogs in the comments! Please tell us the varieties or blends, if you can.
Thumbnail: Photography © srugina | Think.
This work was originally published in 2015.
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