Wondering why your dog howls back at you when you embrace your canine side and let out a howl of your own? There are several common reasons why our pups will happily howl in response, and we've explained these below.
From communication to bonding, your dog howls for a number of reasons. After all, it's one of the only ways that they can communicate. Here are 5 reasons why your dog howls when you howl.
Dogs don't have many sounds at their disposal; they can whine, bark, growl, and howl. Howling is a distinctively dog-like behavior, so if you're howling at your pup, it's only natural that they are likely to respond with the same sound. You may never hear your dog howl in their life until you decide to try it out for yourself.
Unlike cats, who can seem quite aloof at times, your dog loves bonding with you at every opportunity. When you howl and your dog responds with the same, it could be a form of bonding. In addition to being close to you, your dog may often want to mirror your behavior as a form of familiarity, and howling is something that they can do very, very well.
3. Positive feedback and rewards
When we howl and our dogs howl back at us, we usually find it super endearing and cute. As a result, we'll often smile, laugh, and lavish our pups with attention. Remember that dogs simply love attention; they thrive on your love. So, if you've been showering your dog with extra attention, or even treats, when they howl back at you, they'll likely keep on doing it.
4. Innate pack behavior
Dogs are descended from wolves, so howling is an innate behavior that lends itself back many thousands of years. Wolves often howl in the wild to communicate and signal important information to the pack. So, when you howl at your dog, they may be tapping into their inner wolf and responding in kind.
5. A simple response to an unfamiliar sound
Dogs will often act out and get vocal when they hear an unusual, high-pitched sound, especially if it's not one that they hear often. If we think about dog whistles as an example, this object can beard by dogs but not humans because the sound is so high in pitch; canines are super-sensitive to these sound frequencies.
It's the same reason why many of our beloved pups will howl whenever they hear a loud police or fire truck pass by the house. It can happen at other times too, such as when a vehicle is squealing or loud machinery is being used.
So, when you howl at a high pitch, your dog may be responding in the same way that they do when a siren goes screaming past the house.
Other Reasons Dogs May Howl
Some dogs don't tend to howl as much as others, and some may never be heard howling at all. But howling at your pup isn't the only time that you might hear them make this vocalization.
Here are some other common reasons that your dog might be howling:
- Letting other dogs know that they're nearby. If other dogs live nearby, no doubt you've heard a barking match begin between them and your pup. In addition to barking, dogs living in close proximity might howl when they hear another dog shouting out for attention. This is their way of communicating and signaling that they're nearby to other animals.
- Signaling their location. Going back to wolf ancestry, animals would howl to signal their location to other members of the pack. This behavior remains buried in their DNA, so your dog might howl when you're returning home after a period of time away.
- Showing that they're nervous. A common problem new dog owners often struggle with is the howling that can bother neighbors when a pup is left alone for the first time(s). Separation anxiety can make dogs feel extremely nervous, which could in turn lead to howling.
- Showing excitement about a discovery. If your dog's in the habit of howling while enjoying his or her regular walk, then it could be overexcitement. Dogs might howl when they come across a new discovery that gets them carried away.
- Telling you that something's wrong. Finally, a dog may howl when they're in pain due to illness or injury. Since they can't talk or help themselves, they might howl to get your attention and ask for your help in addressing the problem.
If your dog's begun howling regularly and there's nothing in the immediate environment to suggest why, consider speaking to your vet for advice if you're concerned. There are many reasons for dogs howling, but you should always get them checked out by a professional veterinarian if something seems amiss.