Is It Cruel to Make Your Dog Howl?

Howling is a type of communication, especially among canines. It is an intrinsic activity that can be observed in all of the canine species out there, too. Even though the wolf is the most well-known howling canine, it’s quite normal to hear other canines howling at times as well.  

Here’s what you should know when it comes to dogs howling.

is it cruel to make your dog howl
Is It Cruel to Make Your Dog Howl?

Is It Cruel to Make Your Dog Howl?

Making your pup howl can be a good bonding activity between the two of you; thus, making your dog howl is not always cruel. It all depends on how you do it, though. If you try to use aggressive techniques or you try to make your canine howl continuously, that would be considered cruelty towards your companion.

What Should You Be Aware of When It Comes to a Dog’s Howling?

Your dog may exhibit a pattern of howling when exposed to specific people, things, sounds, or odors. You likely have already seen this behavior in your dog before now. Many different situations can cause dogs to howl; however, when compared to barking, howling is typically accompanied by extremely long, tone-like sounds. However, howling does not indicate there is anything harmful in the dog’s life.

Howling is also breed-specific. For example, many Siberian Husky owners quickly realize that their dogs like howling at anything and everyone whenever possible. On the other hand, Golden Retriever owners may only become aware of any howling when it occurs in very particular circumstances.

Anyone who has howled in front of their dog has probably noticed that their dog usually begins to howl as soon as they do. Sometimes, these cries might sound strange, and this could cause you to question if you are irritating your dog or if you are doing anything incorrectly in such a situation.

Generally, there should be no problem with having a good howl and allowing your dog to join in on the fun! If accomplishing nothing else, it should serve as an excellent opportunity for your dog and you to bond over something that animals and humans have been doing for centuries.

Some individuals think that dogs, like humans, can release tension by howling, which many believe is true. Thankfully, regardless of the causes and the results following a good howling session, there aren’t any recognized risks associated with allowing your dog to howl.

If your dog begins howling uncontrollably though, it may not only bother the neighbors, but the behavior may also appear a bit strange to them. As long as your pet doesn’t entirely lose control and howl 24/7, you should be perfectly okay.

My Dog Is Howling: What Exactly Does It Mean?

As stated earlier, dogs can howl for several different reasons. These are a few of the prominent typical causes of a dog’s howling:

Your dog is attempting to get attention

The main and most common reason you’ll hear pups howling is that they’re trying to get your full attention. Howling is the easiest way for canines to get their parents’ attention in any situation.

Because people immediately react to loud voices and sounds, you might unknowingly promote this behavior without even realizing it. As a result, when your pup howls, you react or respond like it wanted you to, and your canine then notices that they’ve grabbed your focus. By realizing the pattern, they then begin to think their howling has had an impact on their decision and will continue the behavior whenever they feel is necessary to do so.

In addition, many pet owners find their pups’ howling amusing or entertaining; thus, a canine may see howling as a means to attract favorable attention from family and strangers alike.

When dogs are injured or ill, these are occasions in which they may howl for help. If your dog begins to howl more frequently than normal, especially if it seems like something is wrong, take him to the vet clinic to rule out any disease or injury before proceeding with any other measures to reduce the noise.

Your dog is suffering from separation anxiety

One other explanation for a dog’s howling is because he or she is anxious, notably because of separation issues and experiencing separation anxiety, a common condition in pets. Excessive howling can be a symptom of separation anxiety if your pup starts howling each time you leave the house or when he or she is unable to reach you.

Your furry buddy is reacting to certain voices

It is also possible for canines to howl more often when they detect certain noises around them. It is believed that this form of howling behavior is a consequence of the dog’s descent from wolves.

For wolves, howling serves as a method of locating their prey. They use howling to find other wolves in their area or warn them to keep away from their pack’s territory. These traits can still sometimes resurface in our own dogs, regardless of breed.

white dog howling
White Dog Howling


What causes your dog to howl when you leave the house?

If your pet is experiencing separation anxiety (as discussed above), it may begin howling when left alone for an extended period. This sort of howl can be hard to detect and manage, especially if your animal companion waits until you’ve already gotten into your car and are out of sight before starting to howl like crazy.

To find out for sure whether or not your pet is howling when you leave it alone, you can try speaking with your neighbors or setting up a camera to record your pet’s behavior while you are not around. You may find it rather difficult to help treat your pet’s concerns and fix their behavior if you feel that he or she is angry or terrified while alone because dogs are generally okay again once they are among humans. Addressing a canine’s behavior when it is alone can be a challenging task in and of itself.

Sometimes it is feasible to assist your pup, typically by employing particular training techniques or even crate training to offer a secure haven for your canine companion when you are away from home.

You should also consider consulting with an experienced dog trainer or a dog behavioral specialist to determine which approaches and training courses would be the most beneficial for your animal companion’s needs.

Do all dogs have the ability to howl?

All dogs have the potential to howl, but some canine breeds are more inclined to howl than others, such as the Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Bloodhound, and others. On the other hand, some canines may go nearly their entire lives without howling, such as Golden Retrievers.

Most of the time, working or athletic dog breeds are the ones that howl the loudest. Fishing dogs, shepherd dogs, and other working canines all like their jobs, and howling contributes to their enjoyment.

Dogs who do not howl are almost certainly the outcome of evolution rather than simply doing so by choice. Because people can supply everything imaginable to meet their dogs’ physical and mental needs, dogs are no longer reliant on one another, so there is no longer a need for them to howl very much.

What causes dogs to howl when you scream?

Howling is a natural method for dogs to connect with and bond with you, the person they consider a member of their pack, so this form of communication is instinctive. It’s possible that they’re simply reacting to the loudness of your having let out a scream or that they’re nervous; but most of the time, they’re just doing it for the sake of having fun with you.

If, on the polar opposite hand, your dog does not howl when you howl, don’t be concerned. They most likely still like you and have no problem with you howling and encouraging them to do so along with you, and there are several easy tactics you can try to convince your dog to howl along with you when you cry out.

Can a puppy howl?

Yes, puppies can certainly howl, especially when they want to be noticed by their owners. Puppy howling can be caused by various factors, including hunger, thirst, boredom, or simply seeking attention.

If your young pup begins to howl, you must respond to their needs with a quickness. Please be easygoing when it comes to the howling of a young puppy as they navigate how to communicate their needs and learn what to expect of you.

What causes dogs to howl at night?

Dogs who sleep alone at night and have a proclivity to howl frequently express their distress over being separated from the rest of their litter by verbally expressing their frustrations. In most cases, when a dog moves into a new house, this is quite normal and natural, especially if the dog previously shared a bed with people or other dogs. Nonetheless, if the behavior persists, incessant howling may indicate separation anxiety.

Related Reading: Can Pugs Howl? A Flashback To A Canine’s Ancestry

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.