Why Do Dogs Howl?

Why Do Dogs Howl?

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Dog Howling

Do you want to understand why your dog howls (or why they predominately howl at night)? The widely likely reason is that dogs are lineage of wolves and they retain a few wolf attributes, including howling. This vocalization is not limited to specific dog breeds; all dog howls with varying extents. It can be irritating at times; no dog owner wants to stay up all night because a dog is howling for reasons unknown. But, believe me, there are numerous reasons why dogs howl, let's take a look at some.


Aside from barking, howling is your dog's mode of communication. Dogs howl to gain attention, to alert you, and as a gesture of excitement. Howling is reflexive and could be stimulated by a variety of factors. Several dogs howl in response to high-pitched noise such as emergency sirens or musicals. Extreme howling may indicate that one’s dog is in pain.

Dog Howls



Smart, my German Shepherd dog, is a very intelligent, well-trained, and dutiful. Smart has been howling since he was a puppy. It was quite frustrating at first because Smart awakes the entire neighborhood in the middle of the night with his howling sound for unknown reasons. Later on, I realize that Smart does not howl for no apparent reason. Smart craves familiar faces and howls when they are not present or when he is all alone in his kennel for an extended period of time. Smart also howls when he is frightened due to power outage or cold nights.

Dogs howling at night


There are numerous possible causes for dogs howling. Though you may find it frustrating or disturbing, many of the reasons are straightforward;

  1. Detachment Anxiety
  2. Territorial Awareness
  3. Seeking Attention
  4. Excitement and Happiness
  5. Reaction to High-Pitch Sounds
  6. Medical Problems
  • Detachment Anxiety

Dogs are loving and sentimental companions. They form strong connections with their owners. Howling happens when dogs are left all by themselves at home/cage for an extensive duration or feels a perception of detachment. Regrettably, howling is frequently accompanied by other actions like clawing, raking, destroying items, footwears, rugs, etc in order to relieve loneliness, which can be very frustrating as a pet owner.

  • Territorial Awareness

If your dog was recently acquired, there is a strong likelihood that vocalization via howling is a method of communicating with other dogs in the neighborhood or setting boundaries/marking an uncharted territory, but this is more prevalent in males.

  • Seeking Attention

Dogs are constantly trying to have your attention. When they have little or no regular activity or you skip your routine training. Dogs might use clever techniques to get you to remember them. If their demands are not satisfied, they may grow problematic behaviors. A repetitive faint howl, which really is your dog's logical way of asking for attention, is one example of those behavior.

  • Excitement and Happiness

When your dog is enthusiastic or completes a task, such as fetching the ball, they may enjoy showing off and receiving praise not only by jumping around, but also by howling, particularly if you aren't commending them. Dogs enjoy celebrating their victories and communicating their accomplishments; what they want is a little recognition, which implies they'll initiate howling to summon their owner for an appraisal.

  • Reaction to High-Pitch Sounds

Howling is an instinctual reaction of dogs to unfamiliar or high-pitch sounds. Alarms, pitched instruments, digital buzzers, and sirens (paramedics, fire-trucks) are examples of high-pitched sounds that can cause howls.

  • Medical Problems

Your dog may howl due to medical reasons: maybe something is physiologically wrong, and he/she may be in anguish internally. So, if your dog is continually howling, you should confirm by checking for any visible wounds, you visit the vet.

Dog howling at night


  • Presence of Pain/Injury

If your dog is struggling to cope from either a physical injury/bites or an ailment. Your dog may be howling due to extreme discomfort or anguish. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

  • Unfamiliar Noises

This is quite a pertinent reason if your dog doesn't howl every night or only howls in a particular spot/direction of your home. A dog howls or barks in response toward any unidentified sound. It might be a rat/snake or a night-time burglar.

  • Sees or Smell Something Suspicious 

Howling at night might also be caused by the existence of a strange items or a strong odour. A howl, like a bark, is a means for dogs to attract attention, so they might use those approaches if necessary.


  • Make Them Feel Unnoticeable

If they are attempting to attract your attention by howling, ignore them and acting as though the howling tactic is ineffective, making them feel unnoticeable.

  • Reward Quiet Behavior

Train your dogs to make noises when you request them to. You could, for example, instruct your dog to bark or howl once they hear "Talk!" and to be silent once you say "Silent!" Reward your dog while they heed your instructions.

  • Spend Time with Your Dog

Give your dog lot of time and affection whenever you are home or less busy by taking them on strolls, trainings, and allowing them to spend further bonding time with you. This enhances the connection and reduces howling.

  • Get Help

If you couldn't subdue your dog howl, try contacting a Accredited Dog Trainer. If you believe your dog is behaving negatively to people, or relatives, consult a veterinarian.

Concluding Words

Dogs are recognized to be descended from wolves, so wolf howls can be heard in dogs of various breeds. To begin, recognize that dogs do not howl for no reason, which can range from interaction to reaction to loud noises, inattention, anxiousness, etc. Howling becomes very frustrating over time, especially after a long day at work, and you just couldn't get some good night's rest because your dog howled all night; thus, precise dog knowledge is required to successfully handle this issue. 

Dr Marvelous Ibiniyi, DVM

A pet enthusiast and young veterinarian in the making, who loves writing and giving educative information about pets especially dogs and cats. Dr Marvelous has a German Shepherd dog named Smart and likewise a Persian cat named Rolex.

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