If your dog howls for no apparent reason, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you eight common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog howl for no reason? Possible reasons why your dog howls for no apparent reason are wanting attention, boredom, anxiety, hunger, hearing noises, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog howls for no reason
Below are eight possible causes and what would make each of them more likely.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it might be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it more attention when it does it and if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention.
In this case, it would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. But, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it howls for no reason and to try to recognize when it is likely to start doing it and to redirect its focus.
If your dog is a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily then the cause could be that it is understimulated. This would be more likely if it tends to howl more on days when it has not been able to get any exercise. It would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
The cause could also be that something has been causing it to become anxious. One reason why it might be anxious is that it might have some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more at around the same time that you normally leave it and if it shows other signs of being anxious by doing things such as pacing.
The reason why it does it might be that it is hungry. This would be more likely if it tends to do it at around the same time that you normally feed it or if it does it when it has not been able to eat for a long time.
It could also be the case that it has been doing it due to getting an injury or illness. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being injured or ill such as by vomiting or limping. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It might also be the case that it has been doing it due to something causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if shows signs of being afraid, when it does it, by doing things such as hiding or making itself appear smaller and if it tends to do it more at certain times such as when there are noises outside.
Rewarding the behavior
It might also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior. If you tend to give it things such as extra treats, attention or toys, when it howls for no apparent reason, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to avoid rewarding it when it is not and to deal with any other possible reasons why it might be howling.
It hears noises
The cause might also be that it hears high pitched noises. Dogs will often howl when they hear high-pitched noises, if your dog howls when there are high-pitched noises such as sirens or other dogs howling, it is likely that your dog is responding to the noise.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If it did not always howl for no reason, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. If it started doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as injury, getting fed or walked at different times or boredom.
What is different when your dog howls for no reason
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it at. For example, if it tends to do it at around the same time that you tend to leave home, it would be more likely that it does it due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog howling for no reason
Below are a number of options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it howls. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want, to avoid rewarding the howling and to deal with any other possible causes.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It might be the case that its diet has been contributing to the behavior which would be more likely if it has been doing it more since a change in its diet or if it does it more when it eats certain foods. It would help to make sure that it has been eating the right foods, the right amount of calories and that no one else has been feeding it without telling you.
If it has been doing it excessively and it is not due to an injury, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It would also help to try to reduce reasons why it might get anxious by doing things such as exercising it, feeding it and letting it pee before leaving it for a long time.
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