Do dogs howl when they are in pain?

Pain. Many times, dogs who are in pain will howl. This type of howling is usually audibly distinct from the howling related to other causes on this list, and your dog will likely sound like they are in obvious distress.

No matter where you live, you’ve probably experienced the sensation of hearing dogs howling in the distance while out on your porch or stoop late at night. So, why do dogs howl?.

Dog howling, according to researchers, is related to canine genetics. Given how closely their DNA resembles that of the wolves from which they descended, ancient dog breeds can be identified. Is dog howling an atavistic expression of a shared wild ancestry? A lingering remnant of wolf times and pack activity? Communication seems to be at the core of things, so let’s seek to answer the question, “Why do dogs howl?” and find out what they might be saying.

6 Common Reasons for Dog Howling

You’re in the right place if you’re dealing with a howling dog. This article will outline some of the most prevalent causes of excessive howling in dogs and inform you of any steps you can take to reduce this behavior. Read on to find out more.

6 potential reasons that explain why your dog’s howling include:

When a dog is in pain or is seriously ill, they may howl. You can probably tell by looking at your dog that he is in pain if he is howling so loudly. He might have a severe injury or be gravely ill.

You need to immediately take your dog to the vet in this circumstance. If it is after hours, don’t wait; instead, go to the emergency veterinarian. When a dog is howling out of pain or illness, they are in bad shape and require immediate medical attention.

Many dogs howl in response to sounds. This is not particularly concerning if your dog only howls in response to sirens or the sound of the piano. If the dog stops when the sound stops, this is just typical dog behavior, and little can be done to change it.

By rewarding him with positive reinforcement, you may be able to teach your dog to stop howling in response to noises. Give him a treat each time he remains still for a brief period of time. He will quickly discover which actions earn him treats and which ones do not.

Dogs may develop separation anxiety easily. They develop strong bonds with their families and may become distressed if they are left alone for an extended period of time. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, your neighbors may complain about how loudly he howls when no one is home.

You might require the assistance of a trainer to assist your dog in working through separation anxiety. Even though some dogs respond well to training alone, you might need to give your dog anxiety medication to help him deal with the stress of being left alone. However, before giving your dog any type of medication, you should always consult your veterinarian.

Lonely dogs may begin howling in order to get your attention. Even though you probably tell your dog “No” when he starts to howl, this is still attention. He’s going to do it again because, in his eyes, the howling was effective in getting you to look at and converse with him for a short period of time.

If you know your dog is howling to get your attention, it’s best to ignore him, even though it can be very challenging to do so. Turn away from him and avoid eye contact, and avoid engaging in conversation with him. This will show him that howling will not result in his desired outcome.

Similarly to attention seeking and anxiety causes, your dog’s howling behavior may be related to his boredom. Are you spending enough time with your dog every day? Do you need to do more to help provide mental stimulation and physical exercise for your pet?

The likelihood of your dog howling because he has nothing better to do increases if he doesn’t get enough playtime and exercise with the family. Play with him a lot and go for walks with him to get him used to being quieter during the day’s downtime.

Puppies generally howl more frequently than older dogs. Many times, dogs will simply grow out of this behavior. However, if you have a puppy who enjoys howling, it’s a good idea to start working on reducing this behavior as soon as possible to ensure that it doesn’t persist for the rest of his life.

The same methods you would use to train an older dog can be used to train a puppy to stop howling. Just keep in mind that working with a young puppy does require more patience.

Why do dogs howl?

Like many canine behaviors, howling has ancestral roots. Wolves in the wild would bellow to let other members of their pack family know where they were in the woods out of concern for their safety. Wolves howled bravely to warn other animals to avoid entering their territory. Unlike earlier generations, your dog may not use its howl to signal their location or scare away intruders, but it still serves as a means of communication today. Knowing what dogs are trying to say when they howl will help you respond appropriately because dogs are a part of their human families.

What to Do About Excessive Howling

If your dog howls in response to a sound, such as another dog howling or a nearby siren, he will likely stop when the sound is no longer present. The majority of the time, this type of howling isn’t excessive—unless, of course, the triggers happen frequently. If they do, you can teach your dog to be quiet by using desensitization and counterconditioning (DSCC).

Systematic Desensitization and Counterconditioning Sometimes teaching a dog a different behavior, like fetching a toy instead of howling, isn’t enough when the issue stems from how the dog feels about a particular thing. Instead, it is most effective to alter his motivation and feelings, as these are what originally caused the behavior issue.

Two popular therapies for fears, anxiety, phobias, and aggression—basically, any behavioral issue that involves arousal or emotions—are systematic desensitization and counterconditioning. When attempting to solve issues with animal behavior, it is frequently most effective to combine these two techniques. Please refer to our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information on how to find a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) in your area if you believe that a systematic desensitization and counterconditioning plan might benefit your dog. A Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) is an alternative you can choose to hire if you are unable to locate a behaviorist nearby. Find out if they have professional training and a lot of experience using desensitization and counterconditioning, but make sure to do so. Since CPDT certification doesn’t require this level of expertise, it’s crucial to ensure that the CPDT you hire is qualified to assist you.

If Your Dog Whines, Howls, or Barks to Get Your Attention Some dogs discover that howling can help them get people’s attention. If this is the case, your dog will typically howl in your presence when he needs your attention, food, or desired objects. You need to teach your dog two things if he howls to get your attention or to “ask” you for things he wants, like food or toys, in order to successfully stop his behavior. He must first realize that howling does not work (even though it once did). He also needs to learn that being quiet will work. Your dog will quickly learn to control his vocal behavior if he understands that howling always makes him invisible to you and that remaining quiet earns him your attention as well as all the wonderful things he desires.

Ignore your dog’s attention-seeking howling

  • To avoid accidentally rewarding your dog when he howls, totally ignore him as soon as he starts making noise. Don’t look at him, touch him or speak to him. Don’t try to scold him either. Dogs, like kids, often find any attention rewarding—even if it’s negative attention. So scolding your dog might make his howling behavior worse! Just pretend your dog is invisible. If you find it difficult to do this, try folding your arms across your chest and turning away from him completely.
  • Reward your dog for being quiet

  • It’s easy to forget to pay attention to your dog when he’s being quiet. Often, we only pay attention to our dogs when they’re doing something wrong! If you want your dog to learn to stop howling for attention, you’ll need to reward quiet behavior. Randomly give your dog treats and attention when he isn’t making noise. You should also make and stick to a new rule: Your dog doesn’t get anything he wants (food, toys, access to the outdoors, treats, petting, etc.) until he’s been quiet for at least five seconds. If your dog howls in an attempt to get your attention, ignore him until he’s quiet, as described above. Then, after five seconds of silence, you can pay attention to him again.
  • You could also try training your dog to remain quiet when requested. First, shout “Speak!” and make an effort to get your dog to howl or bark. (Knocking on a wall or door usually works well. When your dog begins to make noise, praise him but refrain from giving him a treat or toy. Then say “Hush” or “Quiet. When your dog stops barking or howling for a brief period of time, immediately congratulate him and give him a tasty treat. Continue doing this to gradually extend the amount of time your dog must be quiet before receiving a treat. At first, he can get a reward for keeping quiet for one second. Increase the time to three seconds once he has mastered that move. If he succeeds once more, extend the time to five seconds, then ten, then twenty, and so on.

    Getting Help Because howling problems can be difficult to handle, don’t be afraid to ask a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) for assistance. Many CPDTs offer group or one-on-one lessons that can greatly assist you and your dog with howling for attention. To find a CPDT in your area, please refer to our article Finding Professional Behavior Help.

    Spend Time With Your Dog Some dogs howl out of loneliness, especially if they are left outside for long periods of time or are kept alone. Like people, dogs are highly social creatures that require regular interaction with their human families. You may need to spend more quality time with your dog if he howls frequently when left alone. More frequently, bring him inside, engage him in games, and go for walks. Bring him to a enjoyable training session that emphasizes rewarding good behavior. Give your dog plenty of toys and appealing chew items to enjoy on his own whenever you must leave him at home alone for a period of time longer than a few minutes.

    Do dogs howl when they are in pain?


    How can you tell when a dog is in pain?

    The following general behaviors are indicative of pain in dogs: shaking, flattened ears, low posture, aggression, grumpiness, panting or crying excessively, unwillingness to play, interact, or exercise, lameness (limping), stiffness after resting, loss of appetite.

    Does howling mean a dog is in pain?

    If your dog is normally quiet but starts to howl, he could get hurt. People cry when they are hurt, and dogs do too. Dogs will howl to vocalize pain. Bring your dog to the vet to rule out any illnesses or injuries.

    Are dogs in distress when they howl?

    Another cause of a dog’s howling is anxiety, particularly separation anxiety. If your dog starts to howl every time you leave the house or when they can’t get to you, that may be a sign of separation anxiety.

    Why is my dog all of a sudden howling?

    Dogs howl to get people’s attention, communicate with people, and let people know they’re there. Some canines will also howl in response to loud noises, such as those made by musical instruments or emergency vehicle sirens.