Howling Dogs: The Explanation Behind This Behavior

Although some may like to think that this behavior is linked to something mysterious, it is in fact a way for dogs to express themselves. Dogs have inherited this behavior from wolves – their ancestors – who howl to warn the herd of potential threats or meals, or to make themselves known.
Howling dogs: the explanation behind this behavior

Beyond myths and popular beliefs, we will in this article explain several reasons for howling dogs. This way you will know what is going on with your animal and what you can do to help it.

This dog behavior has nothing to do with ghosts or full moons. There are several reasons why dogs howl, and most of them are linked to their wild ancestors. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and some of the Nordic breeds even bark differently compared to other breeds. The Siberian Husky breed is a perfect example.

Howling is a form of expression that is mainly popular with wolves, but dogs do too. In order to howl, the animal must stretch its neck and point its nose upwards.

This technology allows the sound to travel much further. This is especially important for wolves, who must regularly inform the herd about various things. Warnings about potential dangers, prey and hiding from predators  are some examples.

Husky howling

You may be wondering if these are the only reasons to howl,  but there are actually many more. Here are some of them:

1. To defend the territory

Alpha wolves howl more than other wolves because they are the leaders of the herd. If your dog howls a lot, it may be because he  wants to show that he decides.

Some wolves make this sound to warn others of potential intruders. This shows that  howling is an instinctive behavior that dogs can use for defense and survival.

2. To celebrate the unity of the flock

You and your family are your dog’s herd. So when everyone comes home, you should not be surprised if the dog howls and jumps for joy. This is especially true if the dog has spent a long time alone. In the wild  , wolves celebrate the unity of the herd by howling.

3. To express physical pain

As you may have guessed, the reason for howling dogs is not always joyful and positive. In some cases, they howl to communicate severe pain. This pain can be caused by a variety of things, such as an injury, a wound or even indigestion.

This form of expression in dogs can be likened to people moaning and moaning when they feel unwell.

4. To imitate other sounds

You may have noticed that it is common for dogs to howl to imitate certain other sounds. For example, if an ambulance, a police car or a fire truck passes by with the sirens on – then the risk is high that one or a couple of dogs nearby will hang on.

There are two possible explanations for this behavior. On the one hand  , a dog can do it because the loud, high-frequency sound from the sirens hurts in the ears. In that case, the dog howls as a form of complaint. The sounds can also  make the dog nervous and anxious.

Howling dogs

On the other hand, some dogs just want to imitate what they hear, as if answering a herd leader. Dogs are especially interested in these sounds because they do not know where they come from. So they howl to awaken their genetic memory. Therefore, a dog’s immediate reaction may be to imitate it to signal to others that she is nearby.

5. To reduce anxiety

Other times, dogs howl in an attempt to calm down, almost like a lullaby. This type of howling always comes with certain actions or body language. For example, biting its tail, turning in circles or walking from one side of the room to the other.

6. To calm his loneliness

In connection with the reason above, howling dogs can also be a sign that they feel lonely. As you no doubt already know, dogs are happiest when they live in a herd. Loneliness  can therefore be very depressing for them.

The separation anxiety and sadness of dogs that are alone can cause them to express themselves excessively. This reaction is similar to that of people who sing when they feel sad or depressed.

Last but not least, we must not forget some of the most popular myths about why dogs howl. Some believe that their highly developed canine senses allow them to see spirits, souls or ghosts. Others strongly believe that dogs can predict disasters and even deaths. But these theories have not been scientifically proven.

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