If your dog keeps howling when left alone, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you six common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog howl when it’s alone? Possible reasons why your dog howls when it is alone are separation anxiety, boredom, hearing noises, or having learned that the behavior gets rewarded.

It is 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 when it is alone

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely. 

Separation anxiety

The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious when you are leaving by doing things such as pacing or crying.

Rewarding the behavior

It might also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it starts howling when it is alone, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

It hears noises

The reason why it does it might be that it hears noises. This would be especially likely if it only howls when it hears certain high-pitched noises such as sirens. It would also be more likely if it also howls at these noises when it is around you as well.

It needs to pee

The reason why it does it might also be that it wants to pee. This would be more likely if it does it more when it has not been able to pee for a while.

An issue with the room it stays in

Another possible cause is that there is an issue with the room that it stays in. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it stays in a certain room. The room might be too hot, bright or noisy. 

Boredom

Another possible reason is that it is bored and looking for ways to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it has not been able to get any exercise and if it stops doing it after getting exercise. It would help to make sure that it is able to get the recommended amount of daily recommended exercise for its age and breed. 

Things to consider

Below are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why it has been doing it. 

What else happened when it first started doing it

If it did not always howl when you used to leave it alone, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards for doing it, suddenly getting walked or fed at different times, a sudden change in its daily routine or injury or illness. 

What else is different when your dog howls when left alone

If it does not always howl, when you leave it alone, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it only does it when it has not been able to get exercise, it might be trying to remind you to give it exercise.

Whereas, if it always howls when you leave it alone, it would be more likely that it gets rewarded for doing it, but it could also be due to one of the other reasons mentioned above.

What to do about your dog howling when being left alone

Below are some options you have when preventing the behavior.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it learned that it gets rewards for howling when you are leaving it alone. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not howl and to wait for it to stop howling before rewarding it.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to try to limit possible reasons why it might become anxious. Ways to do so would be to give it food, exercise and to let it pee before leaving it for long time periods.

Give it a comfortable area to sleep

It could also help to give it a comfortable spot where it can lay down so that it can rest more easily when you are not around.

Ensure the room it stays in is appropriate

It would also help to ensure that the room it stays in is not too hot, noisy and there there is an area where it can lie down.

Give it distractions

Another option would be to give it things to be distracted with when you are away. Things to give it could include a bone or toys.

Give it exercise

It would also help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of exercise recommended for its age and breed so that it is calmer for the rest of the day.

Get help

If your dog has been howling excessively or you cannot get it to stop, consider getting help from a vet or dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.