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Howling is one of many forms of vocal communication used by dogs. Dogs howl to attract attention, to make contact with others and to announce their presence.

No matter where you live in Nigeria, you almost certainly have had the experience at day or nights, hearing the unmistakable sound of dogs howling in the distance. Dog howling is bound up in dog genetics. The ancient dog breeds are recognized for how closely their DNA matches that of the wolves from which they descended.

Howling is instinctual and can be natural or triggered by an underlying problem. Some dogs respond to high-pitched sounds like emergency sirens or musical instruments by howling. Excessive howling can be a sign that your dog is in trouble.

Nearly all canines have the ability to howl, and any breed of dog may choose to howl on occasion. Certain breeds of dog are much more likely to use this method of communication than others. Breeds that are prone to this behavior include hound breeds like beagles, basset hounds, and foxhounds, as well as sledding breeds like Huskies and Malamutes.

You may need to seek out professional help by consulting a certified vet if it becomes excessive.

Reasons Why Your Dog Is Howling

Separation Anxiety

Your dog’s excessive howling might be caused by separation anxiety. Separation anxiety howling only occurs when a dog is left alone or otherwise separated from his owner. This kind of behavior is usually accompanied by at least one other of separation anxiety, such as pacing, destruction, elimination, depression or other signs of distress.

Medical issues

In some cases, a dog sickness or injury may be expressed through howling. Dogs who are ill or injured likely will howl frequently or in a shrieking manner. Additionally, your dog may experience other symptoms such as loss of appetite, labored breathing, weight loss or constant licking at his wounds.

If you think your dog is howling due to medical causes, it is best to take him to a vet for a checkup.

Attention Seeking

Some dogs will pick up on the fact that they can get your attention by howling. They may be trying to alert you to perceived danger, or just get you to fill their food bowl. Either way, they are trying to communicate with you. It may seem cute at first, but when it persists you may need to train them to redirect their intentions.

Responding to Envromental Triggers

Dog howling can be a response to environmental triggers. Common provocations include ambulance, police or fire-engine sirens. The sound of these noises were the only times that my dog ever howled. The distant sound of approaching sirens always prompted her to sit up and join in the wailing. The reason remains uncertain, since she never howled at the sound of other dogs howling. Perhaps the pitch of sirens awoke some otherwise-dormant genetic memory.

How to Stop Your Dog From Excessive Howling

Consult a veterinarian if your dog is howling consistently. He might have an injury or medical condition that’s causing his noisy behavior. Your veterinarian also can prescribe medications for your dog if his excessive howling stems from separation anxiety.

Silence reward training is also very productive. Start by prompting your dog to speak. This is usually an easy task for your dog, and they will likely bark or howl on command. Once they get going, introduce a silence command like “be quiet”

If your dog has separation anxiety, you will have to help them overcome the problem. The most basic technique is counterconditioning. Counterconditioning involves getting your dog to associate good things with separation. For dogs with moderate separation anxiety, this may be enough to counter the behavior.

If these tips do not work and howling continues to be a challenge, then seek professional help.

Try looking for a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist near you.


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