By Nancy Cope
Have you ever wondered why some dogs howl when they hear a siren? Of course, you probably guessed that the howling itself comes straight from their ancestors the wolf, but some dogs are more apt to howl than others.
Understanding why your dog howls is the first step in trying to correct the howling problem. After all, you can’t just tell your dog to stop howling if you do not know what is causing the behavior.
The wolf uses howling as a way to communicate with other wolves that are farther away, to announce their presence. Often the female wolf howls when she is in heat, but domesticated dogs howl for different reasons.
Some dogs howl at specific noises, such as police sirens, which for some dogs is a sound that will set their vocals cords to howling. Sometimes when you sing a song, your dog might howl along with you, which could be because you are hitting a note that triggers the howl, or your dog just wants to be part of the song singing.
Dogs may also howl when you leave as a way of trying to make contact with you, since this is what their ancestors did in the wild. Other dogs simply howl because they are bored, lonely, or need more exercise. Therefore, you need to establish why your dog is howling in order to stop or lessen the howls.
If you do not exercise your dog at all, it could be your dog is just bored and therefore howling is a way to relieve the boredom. By increasing your dog’s exercise, he or she is getting all that pent up energy out, so that when they are home, they do not feel the need to howl since they are not bored.
On the other hand, if you have to leave your dog a long periods or for several hours each day, you might want to get someone to come in and sit with him or her or at least check on them during the day.
Another great way to eliminate a dog’s loneliness, especially when you are away at work is by introducing another dog, this way they have a playmate and do not feel isolated and thus, the howling ceases. Be sure to take your current dog with you to help you choose a second dog, because some dogs naturally click and others never get along. Your dog will let you know who they like and who they don’t.
Finally, make sure to take your dog to your veterinarian if there is excessive howling to make sure there is nothing medically causing the behavior, which typically is not the case, but it does not hurt to have excessive howling checked out.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.