Why do dogs howl when you howl? A Comprehensive Guide

Your Dog Is Responding to Certain Noises

Dogs can also howl when they hear noises outside—we’ve all seen the videos of dogs howling along with sirens.

This type of howling is a result of the dog’s evolution from wolves. Howling was a form of location-detection for wolves. They would use howling to locate their pack members or tell other wolves to stay out of their territory.

If you wish to discourage dogs from howling due to certain noises, the most effective method is through a behavior-conditioning technique known as desensitization and counterconditioning.

To try desensitization, you will have to apply a lesser form of the noise. If the noise at a low level doesn’t trigger howling, then slowly increase the volume in subsequent sessions.

Eventually, a dog will lose interest in the noise, and the howling response should stop. You can also use counterconditioning by providing a reward when your dog is calm.

Do not punish or pay attention to your dog during a howling episode, as it will only amplify the behavior.

Why do dogs howl?

Like many canine behaviors, howling has ancestral roots. In the wild, safety-conscious wolves in the woods bellowed to announce their location to other members of their pack family. Brave wolves howled to warn other wild animals to stay away from their territory. Your dog may not howl to pinpoint their whereabouts or keep intruders at bay, but now, as in generations past, dogs howl as a form of communication. Since dogs are part of their human families, it is important to understand what dogs are trying to communicate when they howl, so you can respond appropriately.

Your dog is reacting to something they hear

Many dogs howl when they become stimulated by high-pitched sounds, like sirens or alarms. Your dog may also howl at music, says Rebecca Greenstein, DVM, chief veterinarian and practice owner at Kleinburg Veterinary Hospital.

These responses to loud noises are an ancestral instinct. Wolves use howling to communicate with each other in the wild. By howling, your dog is trying to acknowledge that they hear the sound and are ready to respond.

This type of howling usually starts when the dog hears the trigger sound and stops when the sound does. While it may be annoying, it usually isnt a cause for concern.

Why Do Dogs Howl When You Howl? | DogVela

Dogs use many different types of vocalization, body stances, and movements, like tail wagging, to send messages to other dogs and humans. Much like barking or growling, howling is a signature vocalization dogs use to communicate.

Dogs howl for a number of different reasons, including to seek attention or to acknowledge other dogs, says Elizabeth Dimit, a dog trainer with Dogtopia, a dog daycare and boarding service.

All dogs are capable of howling, but it is more prominent in certain breeds, like beagles or huskies, Dimit says. Here are five reasons why dogs howl and when you are most likely to hear it.