Howling is not only going to disrupt your peace at home but also that of your neighbors. This can be problematic and could possibly lead to a legal case against you for the noise. Therefore, this habit will require your immediate attention. Unfortunately, most dogs develop the habit of howling especially at night. In this article, we are going to highlight some of the reasons why your dog is howling as well as how to stop him.
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Without further delay, let us look at the reasons why your dog is howling:
Communication with other dogs
Dog in heat
Pain or injury
Reasons why dogs howl
As we have mentioned above, your dog might engage in howling for various reasons that we have listed above. Now, let us look at these factors that contribute to howling in details;
Separation anxiety is not unheard of especially in dogs that have issues with being left alone. Well, when you leave your doggie alone, he might feel a little lonely and miss you when you are gone. Unfortunately, dogs do not deal with this very well. Instead, they develop other coping mechanisms such as howling and barking excessively.
Usually, the howling will be compulsive and he might not stop until you get back. Other dogs will continue with this behavior even when you are home. Not only is it disturbing but it could affect the wellbeing of your dog in the future.
Other dogs might develop separation anxiety when they are separated from their immediate families. For instance, when you adopt a new puppy that was recently separated from his siblings and mother, he will definitely feel the void. He is going to miss his family. This is the same case with dogs that have spent some time in the shelter.
We are going to look at how you can be able to treat separation anxiety in order to stop your dog from howling.
All dog owners should understand how prone dogs are to boredom. But we cannot blame them since domestication has limited dog’s natural habits. For instance, in the wild, your dog would be roaming all day, chasing and hunting the prey for food.
This is exciting to the dog since it is his natural way of life. However, through domestication, we leave out dogs at home all alone with limited activities to carry out when we are gone. Not only does this open a window for loneliness but also boredom. When dogs get bored, they look for things to do and howling is no exemption.
Unfortunately, this can also turn into a compulsive behavior that will have your dog howling even when you are with him at home. However, through years of study focusing on dog behavior, we have been able to learn how to keep out dogs busy and alleviate boredom. We shall come to that later in the next section of this article. You need to understand that in order to stop your dog from howling, you must get rid of boredom first.
Communication with other dogs
Once again, we cannot ignore the fact that howling is a natural dog behavior. In the wild, dogs communicate with each other by howling. One dog will howl and another one will respond. This can lead to the entire neighborhood howling all night.
To take you back a little bit, dogs inherited howling from wolves that use it to communicate. Therefore, do not be surprised when your dog starts howling in efforts to respond to another dog. This is because they have excellent hearing senses, and especially at night.
Emergency vehicle siren
If you live near a busy street with emergency and police vehicles passing every now and then, this might affect your dog. Upon hearing the sirens, your dog will most likely respond by howling. You will have issues with your dog howling all night if you live along a busy street.
Your dog will howl in efforts to protect his territory. This means that whenever there are strangers at your door, he is likely to howl as a defense mechanism. This is because dogs are simply territorial creatures. However, this could be problematic especially when you live in an apartment building or along a busy street.
Once your dog hears footsteps or even people talking on the outside, he will howl because he feels threatened. It feels like someone is trespassing his territory. This also means that he might howl at your visitors since he views them as strangers within his boundaries.
Dogs that were initially bred to provide security in homes and farms will also tend to howl in efforts to protect boundaries. For instance, if you own a german shepherd you might deal with howling at some point in life.
Pain or injury
You might actually have to rush to the vet care once your dog starts howling. It might be as a result of pain from an illness or even an injury. This is especially when your dog starts howling all of a sudden. You should consider checking him for any injuries and also take him for a check-up.
Some dogs will also engage in howling as a way to get your attention. This is especially because he knows you will come to check on him when he howls. However, you should be careful in order not to give him the satisfaction of getting what he wants.
Some ways to stop your dog from howling
Once you discover the reason why your dog is howling, it is now time to focus on remedies. Fortunately for you, it is possible to get rid of this behavior through the following means;
Treat Separation Anxiety
As indicated in the first section of this article, howling can be as a result of separation anxiety. Unfortunately, most dogs are attached to their owners, which means that once you leave, he will feel lonely somehow and develop a coping mechanism. However, do not be worried as you can be able to treat this type of anxiety.
Spending quality time with your dog is essential when you are looking to get rid of this vice. Engage in some stimulating exercises in the morning before you leave home. This way, you will develop an unending bind with your dog. In addition to this, you can also leave your recently worn clothing with him. This way he can feel your presence through your scent.
You should also leave him with a few toys for distraction when you are away from home. In addition, ensure that you have a consistent routine in terms of your schedule. This means that you develop a routine where you leave the house around the same time every day and also come back at the same time.
In addition to the above, you can use the desensitization method where you teach him how to be alone. For instance, get him in the other room and leave him for about five minutes. Ignore him even if he is howling and only come back when he stops. However, don’t be gone for too long as you may end up making it too extreme for him. Repeat this a few times in a day. This way, he is going to have to learn that it is okay when you leave as you will always come back.
Keep him from the outside world
As we have already mentioned earlier in this article, the noises from the outside will contribute greatly to your dog howling. Therefore, you will need to ensure that he does not get to see much of the outside of your house. This is especially for indoor dogs.
What can you do to make sure that your dog is not bothered by the outside world? The best way you can be able to do this is by making sure that he does have a view of the outside. In addition, provide toys for him to play with, especially during the day.
Ensure that you close all the doors as well as gaps in the house in order to keep the noise outside. In some severe cases, you might have to invest in a soundproofed door to block other howling dogs in the neighborhood.
Exercise your dog
Exercising your dog is essential when you are looking to eliminate the most undesirable behaviors in dogs. Howling can be as a result of pent up energy. When you fail to exercise your dog, this leaves him with so much energy and with less to do. Therefore, he will use howling as a way to release energy.
If you have been walking your dog, you might consider making the walks a little longer. Understand that your dog will have different energy levels as he grows up. Therefore you will need to monitor him so that you can tell when your dog needs more exercise.
We recommend that you walk your dog in the morning and evening. This will leave him depleted and with a need to rest. This means that your dog will eventually fall asleep rather than engage in howling. If you do not manage to walk him, ensure that you engage him in play that will stimulate him both physically and mentally. The goal is to make sure that your dog gets rid of all the extra energy from his body.
Provide plenty of toys
Some dogs howl out of boredom. I mean he had absolutely nothing else to do and so he will look for ways to entertain himself. Howling is one of the coping mechanisms for a bored dog. However, you can do something about it. The goal should be to provide entertaining activities for your dog to carry out when you are away from home. In order to stop your dog from howling, ensure that you keep him busy all day long
There are plenty of toys that you can choose from when you are looking to stop howling. The first thing you should consider is whether the toy is entertaining for your dog. Secondly, your dog should be able to play with the latter. This means that it should be exciting and at the same time easy to use. For instance, you can invest in a food puzzle. This will keep your dog busy as he will try to solve it in order to get a treat from the toy.
Take your dog for a checkup
If your dog has started howling all of a sudden, she might be in pain and thus howling comes as a way to alert you. It could be that he has been injured or that he is sick. Since you may not be able to examine the dog yourself, take him to the vet. Your vet is going to be able to examine him and recommend the best form of treatment should your dog be sick.
Spaying/Neutering your dog
Howling has also been observed in dogs that are in heat. When you have an intact dog, he will go in heat every other season. During this time, he is going to require an extra amount of attention from you and the best way he knows to get to you is through howling. Not only will this keep you up at night but also your neighbors.
Unless you are looking to have your breed your dog, then there is no need of leaving him intact. In fact, intact dogs tend to be more territorial than neutered ones. This means that they will tend to engage in howling, unnecessary barking, and other behaviors. Therefore, consult your vet on the best time to have your dog neutered in order to prevent howling and other unwanted behaviors in dogs.
We already stated earlier that some dogs engage in howling as a result of boredom. After all, he needs something to keep him occupied. In addition, howling might be your dog’s way to get the company, that’s why you might notice your dog is howling to see if another one responds.
In efforts to curb boredom in dogs, you should ensure that he had enough entertainment at home. By entertainment, I mean you get him a few toys that will be exciting to use. In addition to this, dogs pretty much enjoy watching TV, especially the nature channels that will stimulate him.
Therefore, in combination with keeping the outside happenings from him, leave the TV on when you are leaving the house. You can also leave the radio on too for music that will block the outside noise. The goal is to ensure that your dog is busy and entertained all through the day to stop him from engaging in howling. It also works well to stop boredom.
Consider a dog walker
Once again, there is a possibility that your dog still has so much pent up energy when you leave him at home. Even though we are supposed to walk our dogs every day, sometimes our schedules are just too tight. This means that it is not always that you will afford to walk him yourself as you have work or other errands to run.
If this is the case for you, consider getting a dog walker for when you are unable to. Not only do walks discourage howling but also exposes your dog to the outside environment which is quite exciting. Imagine spending days in the house on your own and then getting the opportunity to get out and experience nature. How exciting, right? It feels the same for your dog.
Getting a dog walker will ensure that he burns all the extra calories and probably gets to socialize with other people and dogs on the outside. In addition, this will also stop your dog from howling since he has no energy to do so all day.
Get a safe space for your dog
In the first section of this article, we mentioned that some dogs will howl out of territorial behavior. For instance, some dogs do not like visitors at all, which means that he will howl at them, and even their voices. In fact, you may not get to interact with your guests because your dog will not quit howling every time you are talking.
If this is the case, then you need to approach this issue carefully. Your dog needs to understand that it is perfectly fine to have guests over as they will not attack him. He needs to feel safe and not threatened. In order to do this, consider getting him his crate and teaching him to stay in it.
In fact, most puppies learn that their crates or bed is the safest place for them. And thus, they run to the latter every time they are feeling a little afraid or lonely. this should help you stop your dog from howling.
In addition, ask your friends to stop coming over for a while until your dog feels secure again.
Howling in dogs could indicate multiple behavioral or medical issues. Therefore, this is not something you can ignore at first, especially if you have a new dog, or your dog has started howling all of a sudden. Instead, spend some time with your dog to understand where all this is coming from. I mean, monitor his behavior and entire demeanor. You can also get him to the vet for a checkup to rule out any medical causes for your dog’s behavior.
Spend enough time, treat any anxiety issues and also keep your dog busy and entertained. This way he will not adopt the habit of howling in efforts cope with boredom and loneliness. Provide enough toys for him and also keep him from seeing the outside world. Soothing music will also help your dog relax and block other noises from the outside that will trigger your pup to start howling.
Always monitor your dog before you correct the behavior. You will be able to approach this problem from its roots which are more effective. The above-discussed tips should enable you to stop your dog from howling as well as other unwanted habits.