Dogs are distant relatives of wolves. The similarity of these animals is noticeable both in appearance and inhabits. We humans often forget about this, until our four-legged friends remind us of their “pedigree” with plaintive and shrill howl throughout the neighborhood. It is unlikely that you will find at least one dog on Earth that has never howled, and this not the most disagreeable resemblance of pets to wild wolves at all times has caused a lot of questions.
Not finding answers to them, people were afraid of this phenomenon, attributing mystical properties to it. The most ominous omens and predictions began to be associated with the howling of a dog. It is believed, for example, that if a dog howled, then it will certainly go to the deceased in the house. Let’s try to understand all this objectively and impartially. So why does the dog howl?
If your pet suddenly howled for no reason, do not expect imminent grief, and do not run to the computer to look on the Internet what kind of trouble is about to happen. Even in the most terrible howling of a dog, one should not look for an “otherworldly” meaning. In the vast majority of cases, your pet’s “singing” is associated with understandable reasons that have nothing to do with mysticism. But what are these reasons? Here is a shortlist of the main ones.
- The dog begins to howl if it is tormented by natural needs. For example, the owner left the dog alone for a long time, and she wants to eat or go to the toilet. Or the dog whines and howls, smelling the flock, thereby showing that he wants to join his relatives. Driven by the instinct of love, the male dog reacts in the same way to the female.
- The pet is strongly attached to its owner, bored in his absence, which provokes unwanted behavior. Some dogs in such cases begin to scratch the door or gnaw at furniture. There are those who express melancholy with a drawn-out, mournful howl.
- Many dogs howl, even if the owners of the house, but do not pay enough attention to their pets. First of all, this applies to sociable animals.
- A dog is not a person, and if it feels bad, it cannot tell about it. In addition, even the most loving owner does not always and does not immediately notice that his pet is not feeling well. The four-legged friend has no choice but to attract attention with his howl.
- Yard dogs often sit on a chain, but they also want to frolic and play. Howl is a way to convey what you want to a slow-witted owner.
- Howling often becomes a means of communication. Through his dogs communicate with other dogs in their or neighboring farmsteads.
- Sometimes the “singing instinct” awakens in our smaller brothers as an expression of joy. Meeting the owner, the dog greets him with a howl and some other sounds.
- Often the full moon becomes a source of “inspiration” because our satellite affects not only people but also pets. Howling at her, the dog thereby reacts to insomnia provoked by a bright heavenly body. Lack of adequate rest can also make your dog aggressive.
- A howling dog can express dissatisfaction with a particular situation. Let’s say he doesn’t like being washed, brushing his teeth, or bandaging his wounds. Failure to accept these procedures often causes such “screams” that it is easier for the owner or veterinarian to postpone them than to listen and endure.
- Many dogs howl at the music. They have a naturally sensitive hearing, in its range close to that of a human. They can even distinguish between notes (the difference can be 1/8 of a tone). It is believed that in the cortex of the dog’s brain there is a center for the perception of music, similar to a human, thanks to which it not only listens to it but also evaluates it in accordance with its own “tastes”. Most often, the choice of dogs falls on the classics, but if you don’t like some kind of music, then the four-legged music lover moves away from the source of the sound.
Separately, it should be noted that dogs can howl, anticipating trouble. At the same time, there is no mysticism here. Our smaller brothers have naturally heightened perception and instinct (for example, the same sense of smell), which allows them to notice danger before the owners pay attention to the threat. With its howling, the dog seeks to warn loved ones, for it, this is a kind of SOS signal.
Note: if your pet has a calm character and a strong nervous system, then if he howls, then it is extremely rare.
Can You Wean a Dog to Howl?
Regardless of the reason why your pet begins to howl, such a “hobby” does not cause delight in anyone, so the desire to stop mournful “chants” is understandable. But how to do that? Here many owners find themselves in a dead-end, shrugging their shoulders and not knowing what to do. Most importantly, do not yell at the dog, do not threaten him, and even more so do not use physical punishment. If the problem is solved, then only for a very short period of time, then to return again. The most effective way to combat this phenomenon can only be the elimination of the reasons that caused it – there is simply no other way.
It is not uncommon for dogs to howl at certain sounds, such as music coming from speakers, alarm sirens, or the howling of other dogs. In such cases, you do not need to worry too much. As soon as the external source that provoked the howl ceases to sound, the dog will also calm down.
It is quite another matter when the dog begins to howl in the absence of the owners. If the household is busy people, working from dawn to dawn, then it would be useful to think about entertainment for your pet. You can, for example, leave the radio on so that the dog thinks that he is not alone at home. Or supply it with some kind of squeaker, rubber toys. After returning from work, be sure to surround your pet with attention, caress him, play with him.
If the dog howls, you can think of a training-style punishment for it. You must make it clear to the dog that if it continues to howl, then you will leave and will not appear for a long time. How to do it? Very simple. As soon as the dog starts to “sing”, immediately go out the door and do not return until it is silent. This should be continued until she establishes in her consciousness a connection between her howl and your absence. So that you don’t leave her again, the dog will stop howling.
Sometimes howling becomes a way to attract attention to yourself. If there are no compelling reasons for this, try to ignore the behavior of the dog. She should not be accustomed to getting what she wants with these methods. In such cases, the same training can help. The dog, which has begun to howl, must be clearly commanded: “Speak!”, Accompanying the command with praise. Then the command should sound: “Quiet!” – it is given in a similar tone. During training, try to increase the time by saying the last phrase later and later.
Some dog owners have neither the time nor the desire to personally wean their pet from the howling habit. To solve the problem, they use a special collar that reacts to howling or barking with an electric shock. The discharge, although weak, is palpable. Other collars are also produced: remotely controlled, from the very first notes of the dog’s “aria” they splash a stream of water on the dog’s face. Electric shock and water discourage him, and for a while, he forgets his intentions. After a pause, he again draws on the “old song”, and again receives an electric shock or is cooled by water. These methods are tough but powerful. Their only drawback is the undermined psycho-emotional state of your pet.
The process of re-education of the animal must be controlled by the owner. The latter should be nearby, and when the dog stops howling for more than half an hour, he should approach her, praise them, give a new toy and leave again. This technique continues until a stable result is achieved, which sometimes takes more than one day.
Important: if the cause of the dog’s howling is any disease (for example, hip dysplasia or a tumor), do not waste time on re-education, which in this case is not necessary, but visit a veterinary clinic with a four-legged friend. Once the health problem is resolved, the dog will stop howling.
It is especially unpleasant when the dog begins to howl at night, disturbing the sleep of not only household members, but also neighbors in the house or on the street. Re-education methods can wean her from nightly “concerts”, but, as practice shows, only partially, therefore, with a dog howling after sunset, you need to contact a professional dog handler. This specialist is well aware of the psychology of the dog and using special techniques, it will not be difficult for him to identify the cause of the howling and eliminate it. But there are practically no ways to deal with stray dogs that howl in the courtyards of apartment buildings.
A dog never howls for no reason, and in order to establish it, you need to be patient and find a way out of this situation. Sometimes it is enough just to change your attitude towards a four-legged friend and start walking with him more often so that the dog stops bothering you so much.