Dogs have their own ways and those who have one at home will certainly be able to highlight at least one characteristic that is unique, which can say ‘my dog does this’ and the other one doesn’t. However, there are things that every dog that intrigues us, why dogs howl is a great example of this.
Why the dogs howl? It is not new today, in fact, this is a very common behavior of our four-legged friends. Howling is a form of distance communication that dogs use.
It is quite common to think that the dog's howling is a kind of cry, so when it howls it is because it is suffering (there is an exception that we will talk about later). Another common-sense theory is that the dog howls when it sees the full moon, going back to its very distant ancestors, the wolves. None of this is true, the dog's howl has a function and here you will find out more about it.
Dogs and wolves
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You dogs howl less frequently than wolves. In the pack, the wolf uses the howl to communicate with another wolf, which is at a distance, sometimes to call an individual who is far away, or even hunting, back to the pack.
Because of the high and prolonged timbre of the howl, it propagates and ends up reaching a greater distance. The wolf responds by howling back or several wolves respond. The wolf is able to recognize the howl of its packmates, so if a different howl is heard, they will know if they are in the presence of possible enemies and are already preparing to defend themselves from any attack.
In the case of the dog, the howling also serves to draw attention. Why dogs howl? If there is a female in heat around the neighborhood, it may be that these howls are the way for the stallion to show off to the maiden and get her attention, moved by the urge to breed.
Howling is a canine behavior that can be considered normal, but it should not be frequent. If so, we are faced with that exception that was mentioned at the beginning of the text. This is the case of a separation anxiety syndrome. Dogs that spend a lot of time alone at home can suffer from this syndrome, a good option for this is to hire pet sitting services, if your pet stays alone at home for a long time or you only have to pay real attention to it for short periods during the week. It can also happen with newly adopted dogs that are not puppies.
Breeds that howl more
Some breeds tend to howl more, you dogs howl as a form of language of its own, not just for dogs that are far away. These breeds are:
- Siberian Husky
- Alaska Malamute
How to resolve the situation of frequent howling
You dogs howl, but if it is becoming frequent and, consequently, a problem, there are ways to inhibit this behavior. But first you need to identify the cause of the howling. If it is a situation in which the dog is howling on behalf of a female in heat around the neighborhood, the way is to wait for the heat period to end or to leave the dog in a more closed place - it is not to confine the dog! - because the ‘smell’ of the female in heat spreads through the wind.
If neighbors complain about the dog howling during the day or when you travel, it is clearly separation anxiety syndrome. This case requires more care. Some alternatives to help your dog not to suffer in your absence:
- The dog needs physical activity, combine the useful with the pleasant: walk with your dog. So you will keep him company daily and take care of your dog’s physical health,
- If your routine does not allow this daily time, a good alternative is to hire daycare services from pet sitters or dog walkers, who can take you for a walk in your absence, or even think about buying or adopting a new canine companion for fun with your dog,
- Teaching the ‘stay’ command, with training powered by snacks and your likes, can make the dog learn that you can even go out, but will come back to him,
- Toys. The dog, in order not to feel the absence of the owner so much, needs to keep busy. Having toys that amuse and entertain you is a great and recommended option.
Unsuspecting owners may be frightened because the dogs howl, but there is nothing to worry about, as it is a situation that can be easily repaired, it just needs a dedication from the owner with his dog.
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