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Why Do Dogs Howl?

howling-dog blogFrom 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.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Penny July 9, 2015, 5:48 am

    There are other reasons too. While it comes under letting you know where they are, baying when prey is found is common in hunting breeds, such as hounds that tree prey for hunters and keep it there until the hunter arrives.. Urban Bassets still bay, even when they don’t have prey treed. More precisely, they often “tree” most anything that’s in the tree and bay at it. Our dog had a very happy bay when she treed a squirrel now and then.

  • Gayle July 10, 2015, 5:12 pm

    Our siberian huskies howl when we come home. I think it’s because
    they are happy the pack is all back together again. It goes on for several minutes. Sometimes they do it when it is dinner time or time for a walk to
    let us know. It is very cute.

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