What does a dog howling mean? Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Howling?

What does a dog howling mean? Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Howling?

Why Do Dogs Howl? Should I Be Concerned?

The mysterious and haunting sound of a dog howling has captivated humans for centuries. Many dog parents have found themselves wondering about this behavior and in some cases asking if they should be worried about their dog howling. This intriguing behavior always leads to questions like: Why do dogs howl? Should I be worried about my dog howling? Is your dog trying to tell you something through their howl? Are there different kinds of howling? What can I do if my dog is howling too much?

Let’s unpack all these question one by one by starting from the first origins. 

Why Do Wolves Howl?

To understand why dogs howl, we need to go back to their roots, tracing their ancestry to wolves. Wolves, the ancestors of domestic dogs, rely on howling as a form of communication. This instinctual way of vocal communication serves various purposes in the wild, including marking territory, recalling the pack, and signaling danger or the location of prey. Wolves howl to maintain social bonds within the pack and convey crucial information across long distances.

Why Do Dogs Howl?

Some domestic dogs, having evolved from wolves, have inherit this howling behavior with some modifications. While domestic family dogs don’t need or depend on howling as wolves do in the  wilderness, dogs can howl for various reasons. It’s a form of communication manifested in different ways that can send different messages depending on the context. We’ll talk later in this article how dogs use howling as a form of social interaction and what different types of howls might mean.

Reasons Dogs Howl

Before we drive into potential concerns and solutions related to dog howling, let’s talk about the various reasons why dogs howl. This will lay the groundwork for understanding their vocal behavior and provide insights into their communication methods.

-Dogs Howl to Get Attention

One common reason for a dog’s howling is a desire for attention. Whether they’re seeking interaction, playtime, or simply want to be acknowledged, howling is simply a way to get your valued attention. 

-Dogs Howl to Communicate with People or Other Dogs

Dogs are social animals, and howling is one way they communicate with both humans and fellow dogs. We’ll talk later in this article how dogs use howling as a form of social interaction and what different types of howls might mean.

-Dogs Howl to Let Others Know They’re There

In the wild, wolves use howling to establish their presence and maintain contact with other pack members. Human family dogs, may howl to tell their location or their presence to other dogs in your neighborhood. This is why sometimes this behavior can become a block doggy howling concert!

-Dogs Howl to Express Emotions

Sometime dogs howl to express their emotions. This could be joy, loneliness, anxiety – each emotion can have its unique nuanced sound. 

-Dogs Howl to Convey Pain or Discomfort

Howling can also express physical distress. I’ll explain later how to differentiate between attention-seeking howls and those that signal pain or discomfort.

-Dogs Howl to Respond to Triggering Noises

Certain sounds can trigger a dog’s howling instinct. Whether it’s a siren, musical instruments, or other dogs howling, sometimes its just a conditional response to external stimuli.

-Do Dogs Howl as signaling Death?

The notion that dogs howl as an omen of death has persisted for centuries. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction, but it would be interesting to explore the cultural and historical context of this belief. Let me know on the comments if you’d like to know more about that! 

Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Howling?

While occasional howling is normal, persistent or sudden changes in behavior may be concerning. Excessive howling could 

indicate underlying issues, and understanding when to be worried is crucial for your dog’s well-being.

Excessive howling may be a sign of distress, boredom, loneliness, or even a medical problem. Dogs are highly expressive creatures, and changes in behavior are often their way of communicating that something is up.

If your dog has suddenly started howling more than usual, consider factors such as recent changes in their environment, routine, or any potential stressors. Environmental factors, like loud noises or the presence of unfamiliar people or animals, can trigger increased vocalization.

What’s the difference between attention-seeking howls and pain or discomfort howls?

Distinguishing between attention-seeking howls and those that indicate pain or discomfort in your dog requires careful observation and understanding of your dog’s behavior. Here are some tips to help you differentiate:

Context and Timing:

Pay attention to when the howling occurs. If your dog howls when you’re not giving attention or during specific situations, it may be attention-seeking. On the other hand, if it happens consistently during certain activities or when touched in a specific area, it could be a sign of pain.

Body Language:

Observe your dog’s overall body language. Signs of pain may include a tense body, hunched back, or avoidance of certain movements. Attention-seeking howls may be accompanied by playful behavior or a wagging tail. Don’t underestimate your intuition. Intuition tends to flow in when you are a good observer just by paying attention. 

Location of Howling:

Consider where your dog is howling. If it happens when you leave the room or when they want your attention, it’s likely attention-seeking. If the howling is associated with a specific area or while performing certain actions, it may indicate discomfort or pain.

Vocalization Nuances:

The tone and pitch of the howl can provide clues. Continuous and high-pitched howls may indicate distress or pain, while short, sporadic howls may be attention-seeking.

Physical Examination:

Gently examine your dog for any signs of injury or discomfort. Check for limping, swelling, or sensitivity in certain areas. If you suspect pain, consult with a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

Changes in Behavior:

Pay attention for any changes in your dog’s behavior. If you feel their not acting as themselves. If they suddenly become more aggressive, reluctant to engage in activities they usually enjoy, or  they seem less energetic it could be a sign of pain.

Consulting a Veterinarian:

If you’re uncertain about the cause of your dog’s howling, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a physical examination, conduct tests if necessary, and provide professional advice on your dog’s well-being.

What Do I Do If My Dog Is Howling Too Much?

As I already covered Identifying the root cause of your dog’s increased howling is the first step in addressing the issue. Here are some practical tips to help you manage and reduce excessive howling:

1. Environmental Calmness

Ensure your dog has a relaxed environment and that feels safe at your home. Providing a home where your dog is not stress can have a great impact on their demeanor and good mental heath.

2. Regular Structured Exercise

A tired dog is less likely to engage in excessive howling. Make sure your dog gets regular structured exercise through walks, playtime, behavior training and other physical activities that involves mental self control. 

3. Vet Check-Up

If your dog’s howling is sudden or seems unrelated to environmental factors, a visit to the veterinarian is essential. Physical discomfort, pain, or underlying health issues could be triggering the increased vocalization.

4. Calm Reinforcement

Use calm reinforcement techniques for quiet behavior. When your dog refrains from howling in situations where they usually would, praise with calmness or engage your dog in a structured game that involves mental control. Be very careful with treats or activities that can overstimulate your dog, since this can trigger excitement which will trigger howling. Sometimes less is more!! For more on that read this other blog: How to calm your dog down

5. Training and Desensitization

If your dog’s howling is triggered by specific noises, consider behavior training and desensitization techniques. Gradually expose them to the triggering sounds under threshold and at low intensity. Asking for professional help from an experienced behavior trainer like Pawmos Dog Training can help if you’re not sure how to do it yourself. You can also read this bog for more insight : How to deal with a traumatic experience: Lassie is terrified of stairs

6. Seek Professional Help

If the problem persists or if you’re unsure about the underlying cause, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist like Pawmos Dog Training. They can assess your dog’s behavior, provide tailored advice, and assist in developing a behavior modification plan.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when addressing excessive howling. Each dog is unique, and finding the right approach may take time.

The Musicality of Dog’s Howls

Now that we’ve addressed concerns related to excessive howling, let’s explore the musicality of doggy howls. As a former professional musician, as an artist and as behaviorist I just need to dive into this!! 

Each dog has a unique voice, and their howls can vary in pitch, tone, and duration. Now we are going to get into the different musical qualities of dog’s howls and what they might reveal about your dog’s personality.

The Art of Interpretation: Decoding Your Dog’s Howls

Have you ever wondered what your dog is trying to say through their howls? This is my favorite part! You’d be amazed of how much you can bond with your dog if you just listen. Because bonding is not just about doing things all the time, it’s also about being present and learning about your dog in silence. By listening with curiosity you can feed your own understanding and intuition directly from your dog. 

 I can’t wait to get into this. Ok, so whether it’s a mournful howl, an excited yodel, or a series of short barks, let’s decode the furry secrets within their melodic performances!

Dogs’ howls can vary in musical qualities, and while it’s not a precise science, that’s why I call it the Art of Dog Training, certain characteristics may provide insights into your dog’s personality. Keep in mind that like any art form, individual differences and contexts play a significant role, and these interpretations are simply guidelines:

Pitch:

  • High-Pitched: Excitement, playfulness, or seeking attention.
  • Low-Pitched: Confidence, assertiveness, or a response to a perceived threa

Duration:

  • Short and Sporadic: Attention-seeking, wanting to play, or expressing happiness.
  • Long and Continuous: Could indicate loneliness, anxiety, or a response to a perceived danger.

Volume:

  • Loud: Confidence, excitement, or an attempt to communicate over a distance.
  • Soft: Submission, fear, or a less urgent form of communication.

Consistency:

  • Consistent Howling: May indicate a more stable and content personality.
  • Inconsistent or Sudden Changes: Could suggest stress, discomfort, or a reaction to a change in environment.

Harmonics:

  • ls with Vibrato or Changes in Pitch: Could indicate a more expressive and emotionally responsive personality.

Rhythm:

  • Regular Rhythm: Potential confidence and comfort.
  • Irregular Rhythm: Nervousness, fear, or uncertainty.

Context:

  • Howling in Response to Certain Sounds: May suggest alertness or a more sensitive nature.
  • Howling during Play: Playful and social personality.
  • Howling at Strangers: Protective or territorial nature.

Solo or Group Howling:

  • Solo Howling: Independence or a desire for attention.
  • Group Howling: Social and pack-oriented nature.

Frequency:

  • Frequent Howling: Could indicate a more vocal and expressive personality.
  • Rare Howling: Reserved or less vocal personality.

Reactivity:

  • Quick Response to Environmental Stimuli: Alertness and awareness.
  • Delayed or Lack of Response: Could suggest a more laid-back or indifferent personality.

 

To sum up the howl remains one of the most enigmatic aspects of dog’s behavior. Rooted in their ancestral ties to wolves, dogs’ howling serves various functions in their communication repertoire. Understanding the reasons behind your dog’s howling can deepen the bond between you and your furry friend. So, the next time you hear that haunting melody, remember – it’s your dog’s unique way of expressing themselves in the language of howls.

         © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Jan 2024

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? You’d Be Surprised

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? You’d Be Surprised

Dogs never cease to amaze us with their fascinating behaviors. Among these actions, the act of burying bones has captivated dog parents for generations. Have you ever found yourself wondering why your pup diligently digs a hole in the backyard or carefully stashes their prized possessions in the garden? Let’s go over the secrets behind this instinctive dog behavior, tracing its roots back to the wild ancestors of our beloved pups.

1. Why They Do It: Instincts from the Wild

Understanding this behavior takes us into little evolutionary journey. Domestic dogs share a common ancestry with wolves, and the practice of burying bones can be traced back to their wild instincts. In the wild, wolves buried surplus food to shield it from scavengers and create reserves for leaner times. This survival instinct has been passed down through generations, with specific breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and Terriers, displaying a heightened inclination to bury toys and food due to their historical roles in digging for underground prey.

Moreover, dogs exhibit a hoarding mentality, a reflection of their pack instincts. Burying bones becomes a way for them to secure resources within their family “pack,” even if that pack comprises their human companions. Scent marking, another layer of this behavior, allows dogs to leave their mark on buried treasures, creating a connection through their acute sense of smell. In essence, your dog may be engaging in a complex dance of survival instincts and pack behavior when burying bones.

Additionally, dogs might resort to burying bones as a stress-relief mechanism during times of change, excitement, or anxiety. Just as humans save leftovers for later, dogs may bury bones for a future, more suitable time to enjoy their tasty treats.

2. When You Should Be Concerned

Now that we’ve uncover the mystery behind why dogs bury bones, let’s get into effective strategies to manage this behavior, especially when it seems like your garden is transforming into a doggy excavation site. The concept of resource abundance plays a crucial role here. Mimicking the natural ebb and flow of resources in the wild can help curb excessive burying tendencies.

Instead of giving more toys to keep them busy, limit the number of toys or bones available to your dog at any given time, providing just one or two and rotating them weekly. This not only prevents an overflow of resources but also stimulates your dog’s curiosity, preventing boredom. Timing is also crucial; avoid giving your dog a bone immediately after a meal when their stomach is full, as they are more likely to bury bones when resources are in surplus. Engaging in interactive play fosters a stronger bond and reinforces the idea that resources are shared, discouraging hoarding behavior.

Consider the breed-specific tendencies related to digging. Breeds originally bred for digging may display more confidence in burying behavior. Understanding these breed nuances can further aid in managing your dog’s natural instincts.

3. What to Do About It: Should You Worry?

While burying things is a natural and instinctive behavior, considering potential concerns and taking proactive measures is essential for a harmonious household.

Potential Concerns:

a. Paw and Nail Injuries: Digging in areas with a rigid substrate can lead to abrasions and discomfort for your furry friend.

b. Indoor Damages: Burying behavior may extend indoors, resulting in damage to items like pet beds and couch cushions.

c. Stress for Both: Constant worry about belongings and disapproval can create stress for both pet parents and their dogs.

What to Do:

a. Do NOT Create a Designated Digging Area: Do NOT redirect your dog’s instincts by providing a designated digging spot in your backyard filled with loose soil or sand if you don’t want to encourage that behavior or if your dog starts obsessing about it. 

b. Understanding Breed-Specific Behavior: Recognize that certain breeds are more inclined to bury items and tailor your approach accordingly. 

c. Work the breed out: If your dog’s breed encourages this behavior and you have a family dog, work on behavior training to start working the obsessive side of the breed out of your dog.. Certain breeds are prone to obsessions. Have in mind that breed was created by humans not by nature

d. Implement Behavior Training: Help your dog regulate compulsive behaviors by teaching self control and self management.

e. Supervision and Management: Keep an eye on your dog, intervening when needed and reinforcing boundaries. 

In conclusion the mystery behind why dogs bury bones lies in their deep-rooted instincts inherited from their wild ancestors.

While this behavior is natural and instinctive, it’s crucial for pet parents to be aware of potential concerns and take proactive measures for a harmonious household. Paw and nail injuries, indoor damages, and stress for both the pet and owner are important factors to take into considerations. Managing this behavior involves a thoughtful approach, considering breed-specific tendencies, resource abundance, interactive play and behavior training if needed.

Effective strategies, such as limiting the number of toys, understanding breed nuances, and engaging in behavior training, can help strike a good balance.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Dec 2023

Potty Training Mastery: No More Accidents!

Potty Training Mastery: No More Accidents!

Potty training your puppy is not just a task; it’s a commitment that can last several weeks or months depending on your puppy. While the process may seem straightforward, its success relies on your dedication to understand and follow follow these two  things: 1.The Two stages of Puppy training  2.The Three Pillars of Puppy Training . Let’s dive into the two stage process and the nuances of each fundamental pillar, ensuring that you and your pup build a strong foundation for a clean and happy home.

1.The Two Stages of Potty Training Mastery

Stage one: Puppies can’t hold the bladder too long

– Frequent Outdoor Trips

During the initial stage, when puppies are still learning to control their bladders, take them outside frequently, especially after meals, naps, extended confinements, trips, or play sessions. By staying observant, you can predict their elimination needs.

– Creating a Safe Space

Prevent mistakes by confining your pup to a specific area in the house using baby gates or a crate with engaging toys. Puppies are less likely to eliminate in spaces where they spend a significant amount of time. Most puppies don not eliminate where they sleep. Have in mind that puppies need to sleep 15 – 18 hours a day.

– Consistent Schedule

Follow a consistent feeding schedule (usually three times a day) and take your puppy outside regularly. If they don’t eliminate, bring them back to the crate and try again later, maintaining persistence until success.

– Positive Reinforcement

Refrain from reacting if your puppy makes a mistake initially. Instead, use positive reinforcement when they eliminate in the right spot, creating a positive association with the designated area.

– Avoid Punishment

Avoid punishment or yelling, as this may lead to negative associations and hiding behavior. Stay calm, patient, and focus on teaching rather than punishing.

– Establish a Cue

Use a cue like “go pee” or “go potty” consistently, associating it with the desired behavior. Reward with praise or treats to reinforce the cue.

Stage Two: Teaching your puppy to hold the bladder

– Crate Training

To teach your puppy to hold it, utilize a crate or a confined area where they won’t eliminate. Puppies generally avoid going to the bathroom where they sleep, eat, or spend a significant amount of time. You can start teaching your puppy to hold the bladder by extending crate time 

– Positive and Calm Crate Association

Associate the crate with relaxation, comfort, and security by using it as the designated sleeping area during the day. However, avoid crating for more than three hours at a time unless your puppy keeps sleeping. Do not wake him or her up if they are sleeping. 

– Alternative Confinement

If you don’t have a crate, a puppy-proofed kitchen with baby gates can serve as an alternative confined area. Establish a schedule for outdoor bathroom breaks during specific time windows.

In the second stage, focus on gradually extending the time between bathroom breaks, reinforcing the idea of holding it for longer periods.

2. The Three Pillars of Successful Potty Training 

1. Timing: A Crucial Element

The cornerstone of effective housetraining lies in your ability to anticipate when your puppy needs to eliminate. By understanding your pup’s schedule, you can guide them to an appropriate toilet area and reward them for their good behavior. This pivotal understanding forms the backbone of a successful training schedule.

2. Supervision: A Watchful Eye

When it comes to supervision is very simple. Your puppy puppy needs to be in one of these 3 places:

  1. In a crate or confined area, 
  2. Outdoors where they can release.
  3. Under supervision indoors   

In any case observation is key. If you start teaching your puppy that the bathroom is only outside or only in a designated area In just a matter of weeks, your little furry ball will grasp the art of bladder control and settle into a predictable routine. The vigilant eye you keep during this phase sets the stage for success.

3. Scheduling.

Set up a simple schedule following the above 3 places where you puppy should be: 1 crate, outdoors, free supervised time. Organizing your puppies time will reduce your stress and will also reduce accidents to ZERO! If you want to get a free sample schedule from a professional breeder click here: Sample Professional Potty Training Schedule 

By understanding and implementing these strategies, you’re not just potty training your puppy; you’re building a lifelong foundation of good behavior and a structured schedule. Stay patient, consistent, and positive, and you’ll find yourself celebrating your puppy’s successful transition to a well-trained family member.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved January 2024