If you make a high-pitched noise loud enough my mom’s Chihuahua, Louie, will be howling right along with you. This is a typical reaction among many dogs. Have you ever seen a fire truck drive by a dog boarding facility? If not, you can expect every single dog to howl, whine, and bark along to the noise of the sirens. We have seen dogs behave this way, but what on earth does it mean? Why do our dogs howl? Why is it so cute? We love dogs and we love their howls but we want to know more.
Read also: “Howling Dog Imitates Siren Perfectly“
- Community Organization
When I think about community organization, I think about the scene in 101 Dalmatians when the entire neighborhood of dogs is alerted about the missing puppies. This is not quite it. In the wild, wolves howled to bring their packs back together after a hunt. Dogs howl to call their loved ones back home. It’s their way of saying, “Okay. We’ve been out of the house for a while. I don’t really know where I am but I think we should all be together.” It’s their wolf instincts kicking in and it’s pretty cool.
- Defense Mechanism
This can be used as a way to mark their territory. They’re saying, “Yo. I called this place about an hour ago and my friends and me will be here. So step off.” They’re claiming their space. For example, if a stranger comes into your home your dog might howl in order to alert the other people or the other dogs in the home. This can also happen in dog parks or dog grooming shops. Your dog is establishing ownership and protection for himself/herself and others. Good dog! Howls can be annoying but they’re important and pretty darn cute.
- Wanting attention or expressing anxiety
A howl gets your attention pretty much every time and your dog knows this. A howl can simply be a form of expression and your dog is expressing he/she wants attention from you! Your dog learns how to gain your attention in training, observation and with time. If your dog continues to howl for attention, it’s important to ignore it. Otherwise your dog is sort of controlling your life and that’s not cool. Would you come running if a friend screamed every single time they wanted something from you? Probably not. Don’t spoil your dog.
- Alerting you to injury or discovery
Remember the show Lassie? Is your dog as brave and bold as that beautiful boarder collie with the gorgeous fur? If your dog is anything like Lassie they probably howl to alert you. It’s possible your dog found an injured animal or human. They may be howling because they’ve seen something shocking or unusual. Your dog could also be injured or scared. People cry and scream to alert animals and dogs howl. If your dog is a hunting breed they might howl to indicate they’ve caught an animal. If so, beware. You could find a dead rabbit or rat in your dog’s mouth. No thanks.
- Responding to loud, howl like noises
Last but not lease, your dog could be howling in response to things like sounds similar to howls. It could be a siren, a high-pitched car break, a child’s squeal, and a note on the guitar or a song. Your dog is responding to perceived howl like sounds. Smart doggie.