Why Dogs Howl

Why Dogs Howl

Much like their wolf cousins, domestic dogs love to have a good howl. This sort of vocalisation often comes when you least expect it, and there will often be little meaning to the howls you hear. Of course, though, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore this part of your dog’s behaviour, and howling can often be something that owners want to solve. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the most common reasons for a dog howling, along with some tips and tricks to help you to solve this problem.

The Common Causes of Dog Howling

While most of your dog’s howls are completely normal, it’s always worth keeping an eye on this side of their life. Dogs can often go from being extremely quiet when they are on their own, to howling unrelentingly, and this is something that you can’t ignore.


Dogs are natural protectors, and a big part of the reason they bark and howl is to let their pack know about threats, while also acting as an intimidation tactic. Hearing something outside your home can be enough to make your dog bark and howl, and there are loads of other disturbances like this that can have a similar outcome. While a little frustrating, this sort of response to disturbances can often prove invaluable when a crime is taking place.

Separation Anxiety

Adult dogs don’t often experience separation anxiety, though puppies will be a different story. It’s common to find young dogs scared when they are on their own, as they would usually stay with their mother at this point in their life. Letting puppies share your bedroom is a treat and something you can enjoy, while also giving them the chance to feel comfortable and build trust in you.

Medical Problems

While dogs are very good at hiding pain, injuries and sickness can often cause them to howl. This will usually occur when they are on their own and is something that you have to take very seriously. This could be something more than an external injury; your dog could be suffering and may need medical attention. This makes it crucial that you take fast action when you find your dog howling for no apparent reason.


Much like people, dogs are creatures of habit, and this can lead to some frustrating behaviour. Some dogs will howl before dinner time, letting their humans know that they are ready to eat. Other dogs will choose worse times for this, like sunrise or the middle of the night, making it hard to live with this sort of routine. Changing their location for a few weeks can be a good way to iron out routines like this, letting them develop fresh ones.

Reducing Howling

Reducing the amount your dog howls can be a challenging task. Not only do you have to identify the cause, but you also have to figure out how to change it, and this can be a lot trickier than you might expect. There are some common answers to this issue that we’ve outline below, but you should also do some research specific to your breed to make sure that you’re not missing any ideas that could help you.

Providing Distractions

Howling that is caused by external disturbances or things like routine can often be solved by giving your dog a distraction. Counterconditioning can be used to solve this problem, giving you the chance to provide your dog with something else to set their attention on. If your dog always howls at knocks at your door, for example, you could train them to fetch a toy whenever they hear a knock at the door. This will distract them from howling, all without forcing you to be hard on them.

Professional Help

As explored above, not all dog howling comes as the result of a disturbance or routine. Instead, this sort of behaviour can be caused by health issues, and this makes it worth seeing a professional if you are struggling to solve this issue. Vets will be able to assess your dog’s mental and physical health, giving you ideas and pointers that will help you to reduce their howling, while also finding any medical problems they might have.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to tackle the issue of your dog’s howling. A lot of people live with problems like this, finding it hard to know what to do when their pooch won’t stop howling. Of course, though, this is something that you should be able to overcome given enough time.

Click here to view our other articles

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.