“I saw the best” pet parents driven to near raving madness by their dog’s incessant howling to paraphrase Allen Ginsberg.
Dogs howl as a way to communicate with their pet parents and other dogs. Police sirens, other dogs’ howling or humans walking close to your property can cause your pooch to howl like a baleful wolf during a full moon. In most cases, the howling is short-lived and is of little concern.
If your dog is constantly howling it might be due to an illness or injury. If you suspect this is the case, take your four-legged friend to a veterinarian at once. A thorough physical examination should be able to determine the underlying cause of the howling.
If a medical condition is ruled out, your dog’s howling may be caused by a behavioral problem.
Dogs howl because they miss you –typically known as separation anxiety, your dog might howl because you are not around. If separation is causing the howling, your dog will exhibit these other symptoms: pacing, destroying furniture, scrapping at the door, or urinating inside the home. Taking your dog for a walk before you leave the house, or spending some play time with your pooch can help reduce its anxiety. Feeding your dog a big meal before you go out can help too. A full belly will make your dog sleepy which can reduce the stress from being lonely. You might want to try dog calming chews which can be given as treats. Non-habit forming, these treats are known to calm dogs down.
Dogs howl to get attention – like small children, dogs will do anything to draw attention including howling. Even negative attention is better than no attention. Therefore, chastising your dog for howling may not be a good idea. Instead, try giving your dog the cold shoulder and silent treatment when it starts to howl. Once it realizes that you are not going to give in, your four-legged friend will stop howling as a way to get attention.
Reward your dog’s positive behavior – instead of punishing your dog for howling, trying rewarding it for being quiet. If your dog is howling, ignore it. If it stops, pet or hug it. Giving your dog a favorite toy because it stopped howling is another way to reinforce good behavior. You might also try some tasty treats. In addition, you might want to try rewarding your dog with supplements. Dog supplements are formulated to address health issues in dogs such as digestion, skin and shedding problems, support heart health, obesity, immune support, joint problems, kidney & bladder problems, and support liver functions.
If you are having difficulties changing your dog’s behavior, you might want to consider hiring a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB). Specially trained in animal behavior these professionals will be able to help teach your dog not to howl. Some veterinarians hold this certification. To find a CAAB in your area, use your Internet browser and search for “Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists in my area” or ask your veterinarian for a referral.
In summary, if your dog’s howling is driving you crazy, you need to get down to the causes and conditions. If the howling is caused by loud noises like police sirens, it is usually short-lived and nothing to worry about. If your dog is howling incessantly, take it to a veterinarian to make sure the howling is not caused by an injury or illness. Once you rule out a medical condition, then you need to address your pooch’s howling as a behavioral issue. When trying to change a dog’s behavior it is better to reward the positive behavior than the negative one. Ignore the howling, and reward your dog with treats or supplements when it’s not howling. In some cases, you might want to consider hiring a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist.