From tiny Chihuahuas to big Siberian Huskies, all dogs are capable of letting out a howl. It may be adorable to watch your dog throw back his head and howl life a wolf, but why do canines display this behavior?
Howling is an instinctive behavior: Since domesticated dogs and wolves are distantly related, the tendency to howl is still ingrained in their genetic code. Your dog may not even be sure why he’s doing it, but howling is a natural behavior.
Howling is a communication tool: In the wild, a wolf may howl to warn another animal encroaching on his territory. Dogs may do this too if they feel threatened.
Howling is sometimes linked to anxiety: In the wild, wolves sometimes howl to let other pack members know where they are, so your dog might display this behavior while experiencing separation anxiety to let you know where he is. If the howling becomes disruptive or is combined with other behaviors associated with anxiety (pacing, destructive behavior, etc.), it may be time to speak to a veterinarian about a behavior modification plan or an anxiety medication.