The high-pitched sound of howling is usually associated with wolves. Yet at times, we hear our dogs let out a long howl too, despite being so different from their wild counterparts. Whether it’s in response to other high-pitched sounds, a cry for attention, or simply to announce their presence, there are plenty of reasons why your four-legged, furry friend is howling — let’s take a deeper look at them!
1. Medical issue
Just like how humans may cry out when they are injured, canines howl to vocalise pain. If your furkid is howling repeatedly, check if he or she has suffered any injuries. There may be an internal injury of some sort or an underlying condition, such as canine cognitive dysfunction, otherwise known as dog dementia.
In the event that you are unable to identify the cause, seek help immediately from one of the experienced vets in Singapore for a professional diagnosis!
2. Separation anxiety and depression
Perhaps you’ve never heard your dog howl, but you’ve heard stories of your dog’s pitiful wailing when you’re not home from your neighbours or from your pet boarding facility.
Typically, these dogs who howl when their owners aren’t home might be suffering from separation anxiety. If that’s truly the case, keep a lookout for other tell-tale signs of distress such as being destructive to things around the house or constantly pacing up and down.
3. Form of response
If your dog is only howling whenever it hears a loud siren, a loud, high-pitched noise, or other dogs howling, then he or she might be doing it as a form of communication. A natural-born instinct, some dogs might howl back and forth to notify other dogs of their location — much like a long-distance telephone call!
However, if howling is done too frequently, you could use treatments like counter-conditioning and desensitisation to train your doggo. It’s as simple as giving a treat to your furry friend if he or she stays silent whenever it hears a loud, high-pitched sound!
4. For attention
For some dogs, barking isn’t enough to get your attention, so they’ll start howling in a bid to get it. If you do react, consequently, they’ll realise that howling works, which reinforces this habit.
That said, some dogs are naturally more vocal than others, and since all dogs have different personalities, you may have a dog who simply likes to howl. Whether it’s to protect someone or something or to direct you to play a game of fetch, read the context of the situation to understand what your fur buddy is trying to say!
5. Defence mechanism
More often seen among packs of dogs, the leader will usually howl to demonstrate their authority and presence and notify their community to changing circumstances. This will keep off any potential enemies or predators, ensuring the safety of the rest of the dogs.
Similarly, a dog will howl when they notice a new or unknown presence — such as an invited guest of yours — in their territory. This is to defend its pack’s boundaries and inform its pack members of the potential danger.