Milo has always had a unique howl…but why do dogs really howl?
For dogs howling is mainly just another form of communication. They howl for long distance communication, territoriality, to make contact with other dogs, loneliness, injury, or just to announce their presence.
If you are leaving your dog alone for a good portion of the day and your neighbors are complaining about the howling, it is likely derived from separation anxiety. This is usually in combination with pacing, destruction, or depression. (Stay tuned; next weeks blog will be on how to combat separation anxiety!)
Dogs also tend to howl when they are hurting or sick. If your dog doesn’t usually howl, but starts to every once in a while at random moments, you should think about taking him/her to a vet to rule this out.
On a much lighter note, if you didn’t already guess; sirens are the number one stimulus for howling.
This is where Milo comes in. Since he was a puppy he would howl at every siren within ear-shot. He didn’t have a steady, normal howl, however. His howl was shaky and he liked to add in some grumbles to it. (He still does)
The real reason dogs howl at sirens is because they mistaken the sirens for other dogs howling. It’s part of their natural instinct.
Dogs ancesters ran in packs and they howled to warn off predators, call out to lost members, and call when the prey has been cornered.
If you have a hunting dog on your hands this can be very useful if they are trained properly to hone in on this already natural instinct.