The howling of dogs works similarly to barking, grunting or groaningIt is simply another form of verbal communication, except that they have adapted it and not only use it to communicate with dogs but also with humans. It should not be forgotten that in the old days howl was attributed to bad interpretations due to legends, for example, that a dog howled when something bad was going to happen. Just like when it was said that black cats gave bad luck. Obviously this has already been left behind in the past since it lacks a scientific basis and must be linked more to its instinctive and communicative nature.
What do they use howls for?
Howls are used by dogs to express themselves and communicate with their surroundings: shelter of its territory, express joys, sorrows, anxiety, fear, etc. As you can see, it is so varied that it cannot be simplified and it would be necessary to study every moment in which you hear howling your dog to determine why it is howling.
I will explain below some more common reasons for the howling dog.
The howl for anxiety It occurs in dogs that are too dependent on their owners and don't know how to be home alone. By staying home alone for a long time, they tend to express their nervousness in this way. The reason for this action also derives from their wolf ancestors and their need to live in packs. In a pack of wolves, when some wolves go out hunting there is always one that stays in the burrow to howl and tell others that they have to return. Therefore, if the dog howls alone at home it could translate into something like “Where are you? Come back, I miss you. ”
Do not forget that there are very smart dogs and know that howling can also manipulate their owners because obviously their owners (and I include myself as a dog owner) we consent. You can use it to get our attention, to help them or because they simply want food, games or love. If the dog realizes that howling he gets something from us, as usual he will not stop howling until we return to answer his call, so The best advice in these cases is to ignore your wakeup call so you don't become a howling dog forever. At first it will seem funny and fun but when it becomes custom in the end it will be very annoying for you and possibly for the whole neighborhood.
On the other hand, we find the dogs that howl to protect and delimit a given territory. They mark their territory to prevent other predators from approaching the area, or in some cases, also to indicate that a stranger is approaching their home, as a security. Other less cheerful reasons is when a dog howls in pain (when a wound is made, a strong blow) or even by someone else's pain asking for help for that person or animal that needs help. Here I take this opportunity to point out that many things have long since established us with negative connotations such as the terrifying howl of the wolf, when it is probably not so.
Other dogs bark when they hear loud sounds like firecrackers, rockets, ambulances, etc. Keep in mind that dogs have a much more developed sense of hearing than we do so they can perceive noises and sounds from a very wide distance. In the case of ambulances and other similar sounds they do it by imitation (they try to imitate the sound since in them the instinct of howling awakens them). It is as if the sound stimuli were transmitted in such a way to the dog that it is irresistible for him not to respond to the howl, somehow arouse in him a desire or an emotion that makes him have to howl. I personally know a dog, Lucas, who howls when his owner sings…. I encourage you to try to howl ... or sing in front of them and see if they respond, surely more than one is surprised by the answer.
They also use the howl to communicate with other dogs since they are very sociable animals and they need to have communication with each other or with us in their absence. Many will remember that moment of the movie "101 Dalmatians" when all the dogs began to howl to communicate and rescue the puppies, because in this case, the howl would be with a similar intention. In some cases, when a dog is abandoned and alone, try, howling for someone to help you by establishing communication with the world.
If your dog howls and you do not want him to continue doing so, the ideal is to try to determine the reason for his howling, to know if it is a disease or is restless with something or has anxiety for some reason and try to put a solution. If you do it out of boredom, get attention, loneliness or separation anxiety, you will have to start gradually with some kind of training, always trying not to punish unwanted behaviors, and rewarding only the desired ones. And as for many other behavioral and health problems, always a good daily exercise to help you burn energy and make it much easier to re-educate.
You know, the next time there is a full moon and you hear a howl, don't run away in terror ... Or maybe yes ...
The dogs and the routine
For dogs, routines are very important because provide stability and security. Establish reliable and firm routines for your dog's life. The hours of walking, the diet, your departure and arrival times, the night walks and the time to go to bed. If one day they do not do the morning or afternoon walk, at about the same time, nothing happens, however, try not to make this a constant.
Even your dog may start to howl suddenly if there is any change in his routine such as changes in diet, a new roommate, changes in your work schedule that modify your walking schedules, among others. When this happens give your dog time to adapt to the new dynamics, this could take a few weeks. Some adult dogs just arrived home can howl at first, when left alone, as they are getting used to their new home. It is important to highlight that the changes are difficult for dogs and these them generates anxiety and imbalance.
On the one hand it will be essential to maintain clear and marked routines, especially for walking, food and sleep, however, we will perform some small changes in your personal outings. While you are in the process of rehabilitation you must make many "false trips" before leaving permanently. Follow this process in stages:
- Do as if you were going out, open the door, but don't go out.
- Go out the door and return immediately.
- Go back out, wait 5 minutes and come back.
- Get back out, wait 10 minutes and come back.
- Get back out, wait 20 minutes and come back.
You must perform this routine on a daily basis, increasingly spacing your departure from home. At first it may not work, but if we are persistent, in the long run you will believe that you will never leave home or that you will always come back and this will cause you to suffer less.
Exercise, the key to silence
In Animal Expert we always repeat it, exercise is the basis of a dog's daily life. A contribution of daily exercise of twice daily, in the morning and in the afternoon, it will make your dog feel less bored, more attended and less stressed.
If your dog howls too much, try to take a long and active walk every day before leaving home to calm his anxiety and be tired at the time of your departure. He would rather sleep before howling at the door desperately. Remember that exercising releases serotonin in your dog's brain, it will produce a relaxing sensation in him / her.
Your dog is going to have to be left alone, that is a fact. However, to feel something accompanied And don't break into tears when you go out the door, leave radio or television on before leaving home. This will give you some feeling that you are not alone. Preferably choose a channel where people are talking, do not go to leave heavy music like rock metal, because this may rather alter your nerves and achieve the opposite effect. You can also try relaxing music for dogs, one more way to help you be calm.
Toys of all kinds
A good way to ensure that your dog is not waiting to bark and howl will be by providing toys of all kinds including teethers or jingle bells. However, the most recommended is the kong, which helps treat separation anxiety.
Ideally, leave a good number of toys at your fingertips, especially those that, like the kong, are relaxing and food vendors. That will distract you every time you move around the home, making you forget to howl.
Let's not make a drama
Don't do a drama every day. If you say goodbye to your dog as if it were the last time you will see him in life, he will understand it that way. Dogs are sensitive and intelligent animals and capture all those messages. When it's time to leave, pick up your stuff and leave without long hugs or eternal kisses. Nothing happens, just as you do with your family, say goodbye normally and go out the door.
The same when you get home. Do not make a welcome party. Continue with the low profile and your dog will take it as something normal that should not make a big fuss. Create these dynamics and your anxiety will go down because he will see that the fact that you leave and come back is something every day.
Although it is very difficult for you, try to ignore any search for desperate attention, such as jumping and running everywhere like crazy. Wait for him to calm down (5 minutes) and reward him with love and affection but from a calm and assertive energy. Take the opportunity to divert the state of anxiety with a short walk to make all the necessary needs.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my dog howl when he is alone?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.
What does your dog feel when you leave home?
Do you wonder what your dog feels when you leave him alone at home? As they are very sociable animals When their family members enjoy their company immensely, dogs inevitably feel sad when they perceive that their tutors are about to leave and leave them alone. And if you look closely, your furry already knows that you will have to leave a long time before you open the door or say goodbye.
Thanks to its privileged intelligence and memory, your dog can remember your habits and associate them with the events of the routine that share your day after day. Then, in the morning, when you are going to bathe or start dressing, do not doubt that your dog already understands that you are preparing to leave. And he also understands very well that it means passing several hours without seeing you ... Therefore, it is natural for dogs to feel somewhat sad when their loved ones leave and become very happy when they return home.
But that does not mean that all dogs cry or howl when their guardians leave. Many hairy learn to manage their loneliness and manage to exercise, entertain themselves alone, provided they have toys and accessories that enrich their environment and keep their body and mind well stimulated. When this does not happen, some hairy people can "entertain themselves" and relieve their boredom by making mischief around the house.
On the other hand, many dogs also take advantage that the home is quieter and quieter, to rest and sleep a rich nap. Thus, they prepare to receive their tutors happily and replenish energies for their next walk.
Why do some dogs cry when they are alone?
Some dogs are so attached and dependent on their tutors that, when left alone, they experience a very deep sadness and feel insecure about whether or not their relatives will return to look for them. These dogs can express these negative feelings and relieve tension that have accumulated in your body through crying and howling.
On many occasions, this "hyperapist"The dog is related to the overprotection provided by its own guardians, which facilitates the development of certain types of behavioral problems through learning. The dog groans since in the past this behavior has been reinforced coming every time he cried, therefore, the dog hopes that through this behavior his tutors will return home.
However, dogs that show a history of abuse, abandonment or physical abuse and mentally, they can be very insecure and will need to regain their self-esteem to learn to overcome their fears and manage their loneliness. In these cases, there is a total or excessive lack of bond with the owners that causes this situation and that may also worsen if not treated.
In more severe cases, hairy ones may also suffer from separation-related disorders. When left alone, they often carry out certain destructive behaviors at home to relieve stress, such as scratching, biting or breaking furniture, clothing and shoes. In more advanced states, these dogs also usually execute repetitive movements (stereotyps) in an obsessive way, which can lead to self mutilation.
On the other hand, dogs that carry a sedentary routine and do not have an enriched environment to stimulate their mind, may cry, howl and show destructive behaviors such as symptoms of stress or boredom.
It is important to understand that a healthy dog, mentally and physically balanced, must feel safe about the bond with his guardian and be able to manage his loneliness during these periods of absence of his relatives. While this dog experiences the sadness of seeing his loved ones march, he is able to positively channel his emotions and await the arrival of his tutor, while taking advantage of playing, sleeping or simply observing the movements of the street through a window or from the balcony
How to prevent my dog from crying when I leave?
Your dog must learn to manage his loneliness not only to stop crying, but also to positively channel his emotions, feel more secure and develop better self-esteem. Here are some tips to prevent your dog from crying when he is home alone:
- Enrich your environment: There is much talk about environmental enrichment for cats, but dogs also need an environment that stimulates their body and mind. If you leave home for many hours and your dog does not find the means to entertain you, you will feel bored and may also show obvious symptoms of stress. In pet stores, you can find a variety of interactive toys, intelligence games, teethers, bones, and many other accessories specially designed for your dog to exercise and work his intelligence even when he is alone.
- The Kong: Don't you know the Kong toy? It is a safe toy that has a hole designed to put sweets, croquettes of dry feed or wet food inside. The "proposal" of the toy is to make the dog "discover" how to get food from inside the Kong. But since you can't put your whole mouth in the hole, you should use your tongue and your intelligence To reach food. And the candy is used as a positive reinforcement to recognize their achievement and continue to stimulate their cognitive ability. It may seem something simple said this way, but Kong is very effective in preventing and treating separation anxiety. In addition, it can help create better eating habits and prevent gastrointestinal diseases, especially in gluttonous dogs that eat quickly and ingest large amounts of air in their meals.
- Provide a positive environment: your dog needs to feel comfortable and safe in your environment to learn to stay home alone without feeling fear or anxiety. If a furry is created in an environment of high stress, you may feel insecure when your guardian is absent and present certain unwanted behaviors, such as crying, howling or destroying household objects. Therefore, if you recently adopted a furry, it is important that it favors its adaptation to the new home and transmits security in its day to day.
- Exercise it before crushing yourself: If you take a good walk with your dog and reserve a few minutes to play before leaving, your best friend will spend energy and can sleep while alone. In addition, regular physical activity practice helps your dog maintain a healthy weight and balanced behavior. A sedentary hairy can easily develop symptoms of stress and boredom, in addition to becoming more vulnerable to various diseases, such as obesity in dogs, canine diabetes and hypertension in dogs.
- Offer a "shelter" to your dog: Our dogs feel safer when they can take refuge in a quiet place when they feel fear or uncertainty. There are some cave-shaped beds that provide a safe and warm environment for your furry. But you can also create a "shelter" using a cardboard box and placing a clean blanket and favorite toys inside.
- Some music can help: so that your dog does not feel the "lonely effect" generated by absolute silence, you can leave some soft music in the environment.
- Think about adopting a "little brother / sister": Adopting a new dog can be an excellent option to not leave your best friend only when you have to leave. However, it is recommended to always consult with a specialist since depending on the diagnosis it could be counterproductive and further increase the problems at home. You should also consider if you have enough time and space to care for and give affection to the two hairy. And if you decide to adopt, do not forget to present your dog correctly to your new partner.
Also, in Animal Expert, we show you the step by step to accustom an adult dog to being alone. Do not miss our tips to help your dog manage his loneliness and feel safe in his home.
Is your dog very insecure or fearful?
If you have adopted a very fearful, insecure or nervous dog, it will be essential to pay attention to your routine to identify what may be causing these feelings. Consult with a trusted veterinarian, it is essential since some pathologies could be altering their behavior. You can also advise us regarding age, vaccination or deworming, factors that could be directly influencing and causing serious anxiety and stress.
If, on the contrary, their behavior is not due to a health problem, we must evaluate the option of going to a dog trainer or educator to evaluate the case and work with it. It may be necessary to socialize and educate the dog to be able to learn to relate to other individuals and their own environment.
In more complex cases It may also be a good option to contact an expert in canine ethology (veterinarian specialized in ethology, animal behavior) to establish a treatment based on specific guidelines that will teach your dog to manage loneliness and positively channel his emotions.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my dog cry when I leave?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.
Myths, legends or reality?
It is rumored from past times, that dogs have some extraordinary senses and unknown to humans. It is not known if it is a myth or a reality, but there are those who claim that they are capable of predicting disasters, deaths, etc ... If your dog howls for no reason, it is possible that he is presaging something bad for the future (but beware ... this does not it is not far, scientifically proven).