Ever been enjoying a nice moment of silence when suddenly, your dog started to do a funny noise, and you wondered, 'why do dogs howl?'
Howling is one of the funniest, wildest, more intriguing, and somehow upsetting characteristics of dogs. When we hear our dogs howling, we get the feeling that we are living with a wolf, right? Well, this has a logical explanation.
Dogs descend from wolves, and even though our pups are domesticated and they have never lived in the wild, they still have it in their genes.
Wolves and dogs are pack animals, and hence, have a pack mentality. Besides, they have a great sense of hearing, so they have always used howling as a way of communicating with other peers, to announce their location, and warn other animals off.
Why do dogs howl?
Sirens of ambulances, firefighters, fireworks, or thunderstorms. Any loud noise can trigger our dogs and make them howl. However, high-pitch sounds like sirens seem to alarm them more than anything. Why is that? Simple, dogs can hear higher pitch noises than humans, so imagine hearing the striking sound of a siren, only higher. I think we would howl too.
Dogs use howling as a way of alerting their peers. A sudden striking sound can make them feel vigilant, watchful, and defensive, and they want to let their pack (in this case, your family) that something is happening.
As sirens may represent a sign of danger to dogs, they can sometimes howl to fight them back. It’s also a way of telling the potential dogs in danger ‘I’m here, don’t you worry’. Dogs are pack animals, so it’s not unusual to see them trying to help each other.
Dogs can also howl at sirens in order to express their fear. Just like whimpers, moaning, and growling, howling can be a sign of emotion.
Can sirens damage dogs’ ears?
When we hear our dogs’ howl to sirens consistently, it is very common to wonder if they might be feeling ear pain. But there is nothing to worry about: Pat Miller, a professional dog trainer, affirms that it is highly unlikely for dogs to react to sirens due to ear pain. However, they can feel real pain whenever they hear a frequency above 25,000 Hz.
Last but not least, some dogs howl out of the blue. Yes, even if there are no sirens or loud noises triggering this behavior. Some dogs howl out of anxiety or as a form to seek the attention of their owners. Naturally, if your dog starts howling with no apparent reason, you will probably pay him exclusive attention, and your dog knows it!
So, all in all, why do dogs howl? when our dogs do this sound, whether it’s out of fear, anxiety, or attention-seeking, they are trying to communicate with us, and it’s our responsibility as dog parents to try to understand them and respond properly.