What Does It Mean When My Dog Howls?

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Personally I love hearing FattyBoy and Sheba howl on the rare occasion that they do howl. Some dogs howl more than others and some don’t howl at all.

All dogs are descendants of one of nature’s most beautiful creatures the wolf who is well known for his howling. Wolves howl to communicate with pack members who are a long way from the pack to guide them back at night.

The instinct your dog has to howl has been down to him through his genetic memory.

If you have asked what does it mean when my dog howls I’m sure well I hope you have been given several different reasons for the answer.

There are a number of different meanings for your dogs howling they all have one thing in common and that is your dog is trying to communicate something to you for one reason or another and if you pay attention you will be able to figure out what it means when your dog is howling.


If you leave and come home to hear your dog howling away then your dog howling likely means your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.

I had a springer and cocker spaniel mix, his name was Wiser, and although I never heard him howl we had neighbors tell us that he would howl while we were gone.

Wiser’s howl meant he really didn’t like being home alone, that was over 20 years ago and I have learned a lot since then, Like taking the time to train your puppy how to be alone makes all the difference in the world.

20 years ago there weren’t as many options as we have today to handle separation anxiety so Wiser is the first dog I started paying for someone to dogsit for.

If your dog howling means he is dealing with separation anxiety the howling in most cases will be accompanied by other destructive behavior.

If you find that your dogs howling means he has anxiety one of the more popular ways pet owners are helping their dogs is with pet CBD oil.[

A visit to the vet if you are dealing with a severe case of separation anxiety is definitely something you should plan for your dog to get help.


In the wild a dog or wolf howls to alert a trespasser that he is entering an area of territory that is already claimed by another pack. It’s a warning to trespassers to enter at their own risk meaning you will be attacked if you enter his territory.

It is believed that when your dog sees a new person or hears a noise at home or in the yard and howls he could be instinctively howling to let you know that someone is approaching your territory.

Sometimes instead of barking to alert you dogs may howl to let you know. Your pooch may also be trying to let the visitor know they are on his territory.

When Fatboy howls mean that we have a visitor he digs deep for a tough guy howl and everyone is aware that he is serious.


Your dog’s howls may mean he is trying to get your attention. I know Fatboy howls at my husband when he is wanting to play and my husband isn’t paying attention to him, usually because he is sleeping.

Fatty also howls at me when he wants to come back in the house and I’m busy so I don’t let him in right away when he feels he has waited long enough he will start a mild version of a howl.

If you have a hunting breed your dog may howl to tell you he is hot on a trail or to alert you that they have found something that they want you to see.

When your dog howls for your attention and you don’t like it and prefer he doesn’t howl then when he does don’t give him attention wait until he is done howling and being quiet then reward him with attention.


When I met my husband 15 years ago he had a tiny brindle Chihuahua Chico was his name and when I would pick him up from the sitter he would be so happy in the car that we would howl together.

Chico and I got pretty close after all the howling sessions together in the car helping us bond.

When wild packs of dogs and wolf packs howl together it is believed they do it to bond with one another. They will also howl to guide hunting pack members back to the pack when they have been gone for a long period of time.

If you have been gone for a long day and your dog is howling when you get home it could mean he is trying to call you home to the Family pack..

There are also environmental triggers like the well known fire-truck sirens the police and ambulance sirens. Again this howl could mean your pooch is excited to join in the fun.


If you have a dog that doesn’t normally howl or howl a lot and it seems like they have suddenly for no reason started howling then your dogs howling likely means he is in pain.

We cry when we are in pain so why shouldn’t a dog do the same when in pain right.

The best thing to do if your pooch has suddenly started howling in excess is to take him to your family vet to find and remedy your pooches pain.


Your dog’s howls have different tones and pitches that they use when howling for different reasons if you listen and pay attention when your dog howls soon you will know what his howling means right when you hear the tone and pitch.

Mankind or us humans have been living with dogs at our sides for around some 40,000 years and yet we have very little scientific knowledge about dogs.

We can speculate or guess what the meaning of our dog’s actions is but there hasn’t been a lot of documented studies on dog behavior so we cant be 100% sure about everything.

What we do know for sure is that when they howl they are trying to tell us something, so get to know your dog listen and watch what he is saying to you and your bond will naturally strengthen.

Those of you who have spent a lot of time with your dogs know that your dogs communicate with you all the time you just have to pay attention to what they are trying to tell you.

Does your dog howl?  Does he use a different method to communicate with you? Tell me and Fatty how you and your dog communicate with each other.

If your dog howls do you know the meaning of his howls? We would love to hear your howling report so please tell us yours in the comment section below.

8 thoughts on “What Does It Mean When My Dog Howls?

  1. Hello there, thank you so much for this info! My dog Penny barks every time anyone walks by our yard it is so frustrating but now I am kind of glad to know she is warning people to stay away from our yard! This really helped me to put into perspective thank you!

    P.S I loved the historical information about wolves and mankinds 40K year long friendship with dogs!

    1. Hello Randi,
      It can get frustrating when your dog barks at every passerby especially if you have a lot of walking neighbors. I’m glad you liked this article and you learned a little from it too. I hope to see your comments on some of our other posts as well.

      Best Wishes
      Lisa Waa-Adame

  2. In my culture, a howling dog usually signifies that there is a death in the family. It may not be necessarily a member of the immediate family, but it can be someone near and dear to the family. So, growing up with many, many dogs around, my mother wasn’t fond of hearing our dogs howl.

    Also, where I am from, dogs usually howl right before an earthquake. So, especially at night, and if the night is unusually still and the dogs start to howl and bark, we expect a little jolt to follow soon after.

    I always thought this was interesting. I guess it’s our dogs way of taking care and protecting us.

    1. Hi Geri,
      I have heard that a dog howling can signify a death before too and although some may say thats just an old wives tale, I am not so sure it is. Dogs are definitely more in tune with nature and seem to have an unexplainable connection to our souls.
      Our dog sitter always says she knows when we are on our way home from the way our dogs act like somehow they can sense it. I was skeptical so I asked her to call me when they started to indicate we were on our way and believe it or not they are right. when we have our sitter come there is never a set amount of time we will be gone so it has nothing to do with them thinking its the right amount of time or anything.
      Dogs are just amazing creatures.

      Best Wishes
      Lisa Waa-Adame

  3. My recently passed away Rottweiler never howled a day in his life, and in fact, he never once growled as far as I knew.

    My one-year plus Minature Aussie Shepherd only howls when the fire alarms go off near my home. I live only a few blocks from the fire station, so I am thinking he is sensitive to the noise. He does seem to have extra sensitivity to noise, he hears everything even when I can’t see or hear anything that is causing him to bark and run around the house like a crazy dog.


    1. Hello Jeff,
      first Im sorry for the loss of your Rottie, we just lost our Chihuahua a couple of months back and his death hit us hard, I’m still devastated, our fur babies are definitely at the very least like family and it’s hard losing them.

      As for your min Aussie Shepherd, all dogs have much better than we could ever hope to have, we can hear things maybe at most 100 feet away and dogs can hear things as far away as a quarter of a mile some even further away than that. Dogs can also hear things more clearly than we do. Dogs can also hear higher frequencies sometimes causing them irritation.

      It could be that your pup is extra sensitive to noise but it could also be that he hasn’t figured which noises to acknowledge and which aren’t important usually by the time dogs reach 2 years give or take they will mellow out considerably and a lot of the crazy dog behavior stops happening.

      If you want answers specific to your pup like weather its a sensitive hearing issue or a behavior issue the best advice I can give is to ask your vet the next time you go for a visit.

      Best Wishes to you and your pal

      Lisa Waa-Adame

  4. Hi Lisa,

    There is a dog in my house that howls every time I come home, even with people inside the house. She is a 106 pound Great Dane. I’m not sure why she does this as she doesn’t howl at anybody else who comes in,

    How do I break her of howling at me every time I come through the door?

    Good post on howling.



    1. Hi Bob,
      That’s a very good question, our chihuahua used to do the same thing but it was because he was happy we were back. What I would suggest is try not giving your girl any attention until she stops howling, new-age trainers will tell you to ignore the behavior I really don’t agree with that method so I would calmly tell her no and a few minutes after she has stopped and is quiet give her loves.

      If that doesn’t work since it is probably something that she has been doing for a while you might consider getting a professional dog trainer to help you out a lot of them will do individual sessions with you.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my article and telling us about your howler and I hope my advice helps you out. If not though at least you know there is someone who is always happy about your return home.

      Best Wishes
      Lisa Waa-Adame

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