Why do dogs howl? We’ve got insight for you on why dogs still feel the need to howl as a domesticated pet. Their doggy ancestor the wolf used howling as a very important means of communication in the untamed forests and fields around them. The howl was largely used to hunt prey or protect their families from lurking predators.
- GPS: Wild dogs and wolves tend to live in packs, while some are off hunting others stay behind to look after the young and guard the pack. Howling is used so scouting parties can find their way back, it is a means of communication. Now a days if your canine companion starts to howl after you have been away for extended periods of time they are hoping you will hear their cries and head back home to them!
- Home Security: Why pay for an expensive security system when a fearsome vocal warning is free! A chorus of howling can tell other dogs nearby that the territory is claimed, and to proceed with caution. Fancy security systems don’t mean much to your pup, howling is simply another way they are trying to protect their favorite humans.
- Discoveries: Often hunting breeds will howl upon a new discovery. The volume and length of the vocalization can be increased at this time to alert surrounding pack members that they have located food or something that peaks their interest. Since we don’t rely on our dogs to retrieve our dinners this excessive howling can be bothersome. When your pet makes a new discovery often congratulating them can help calm the situation back down.
- Separation Anxiety: Our canine companions are very social creatures, and for a single dog household this could be troublesome. If you do not return at your regular time your dog may howl to express his loneliness or separation anxiety. Making sure your pet has plenty of toys and distractions can help ease those feelings of anxiety when we leave the home.
- Attention: These smart pups catch on quickly and they know that howling can make their beloved human check on them when the howling begins! Most of us know too well that when our baby starts crying or howling we come running, they’ll have us trained in no time even if it’s for a simple belly rub!
- Maybe they just miss it: The closest our pets have ever been to a pack is huddling with their littermates as puppies so maybe when they hear similar sounds where they live like a siren passing can remind them of the song of their people and simply inspires them to start “singing,” or howling.